Cape Town - We now have a choice between two non-stop flights to Germany with two different airlines from our own airport (CT International) without having to go via Joburg.
Lufthansa has returned with a seasonal service to Munich, and newcomer Condor, which belongs to tour company Thomas Cook, is offering two flights a week to Frankfurt, with connecting flights to more than 50 destinations in Europe and the UK.
Lufthansa is offering five flights a week and the good news is that it will continue to do so until Easter, and may even remain for the rest of next year, although probably with only three flights a week, if there is sufficient support.
Axel Simon, its director for southern Africa, said bookings so far were good in spite of uncertainty about economic growth in Europe, and competition for passengers from Middle Eastern airlines, and Africa was one of Lufthansa’s strongest markets.
The airline switched the destination for its flights from here to Munich instead of Frankfurt, to the disappointment of some business travellers – because of a strictly enforced ban on take-offs from Frankfurt after 11pm. It had found in the past that daylight flights were unpopular.
But Simon said Munich is a business as well as a leisure destination. Although 52 percent of the passengers passing through it are on holiday, the other 48 percent are on business.
Its catchment area includes southern Germany and Austria, with nearly 26 million residents, many of them potential visitors to this country during our summer.
And Munich is also a convenient destination for South African winter sports enthusiasts.
The airline has 168 new aircraft on order, including more Airbus A380s and Boeing’s Dreamliner and a new, larger version of the Boeing 747, and is upgrading all three classes offering more comfortable seats and more space in economy class.
Although Condor belongs to a tourism conglomerate it also carries business passengers. It uses a Boeing 767-300 on the route and offers business and premium economy classes as well as economy. Bookings can be made online at www.condor.com.
As well as being Germany’s main business destination, Frankfurt, which still has some interesting historical buildings in spite of the bombing that destroyed much of it during World War II, is not far from tourist destinations including the university town of Heidelberg and its famous castle.
So even if you fly with Condor intending to catch one of its wide variety of connecting flights, it’s well worth a stopover.
Lufthansa also offers connecting flights, of course. But one of the advantages offered by Condor is that its destinations are not limited to the main hub airports.
Although it flies to Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the UK it also offers direct flights to Glasgow, Exeter and Manchester in the UK and many cities in eastern as well as western Europe. - Weekend Argus