By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By BERNAMA
Travellers can now travel from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Frankfurt, following the operation of Germany’s Condor Airlines.
The airline, Germany’s second-largest carrier after Deutsche Lufthansa AG, operates the FRA-KUL route three times a week — on Monday, Thursday and Saturday — while the return KUL-FRA flight is on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
It is the only direct flight between Germany and KL after Malaysia Airlines Bhd and Lufthansa stopped their services a few years ago.
Condor’s maiden flight from Frankfurt landed at the KL International Airport (KLIA) at 6.35am last Friday. The airline used a B767-300 aircraft for its inaugural flight.
“With this new development, we can enhance our promotion of Malaysia in Germany and encourage the tour operators there to create Malaysian holiday packages for this market,” Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said when receiving the maiden flight.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaafar was also present at the ceremony to welcome Condor to Malaysia and KLIA.
The 12 hours and 20 minutes non-stop flight from Frankfurt carried 233 people on board including the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Federal Republic of Germany Sarah Nava Rani Al Bakri Devadason and Condor MD Christian Schmitt.
On another note, a direct flight from KL to Frankfurt would take 13 hours and 45 minutes.
Schmitt said the demographics of passengers for the newly-introduced route are diverse among business travellers, youths, backpackers and multi-city flyers.
Malaysia has received 88,307 German tourists up to August this year, from a target of 133,000 arrivals, said Muhammad Bakhtiar.
The number of German tourists dropped 15.7% year-on-year to 109,000 in 2017 compared to a year ago, largely due to Lufthansa’s exit of the same FRA-KUL route.
At present, national carrier Malaysia Airlines only has direct flights to London, after it suspended flights to several key cities including Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich and Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd chief strategy officer Azli Mohamed said KLIA has grown by 3.2% in passenger growth as at September 2019 and is the 12th-busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger movements.
Condor is the 58th passenger airline to arrive at KLIA and the new addition is expected to boost the volume for the country’s main gateway.
The airline is part of the Thomas Cook Group Airlines, a leading European group of leisure airlines that operate in Germany, the UK and Nordic countries.