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Lufthansa-Manager Christine Svatos: Kurdistan is a "Strong Market in Cradle of Mankind" Saturday, June 5th 2010 10:31 AM Erbil, June 5 (AKnews) – The General Manager of German Lufthansa and the Representative of the Austrian Airlines in Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Christine Svatos, said today that both airline companies had “set an example to send a woman as representative of the biggest European airlines to Kurdistan Region, describing the step as “an encouragement for companies and investors. The stability in Kurdistan Region is good, I work as a women here, then others can do that too." Christine Svatos worked in Southern Russia before, in the same branch and was responsible for Sotchi, Pakistan, Abkhasia and Chechenia. “At the beginning of December, I got an offer to take over responsibility of the flight lines in Iraq and Kurdistan Region. I signed my contract at 11th of January. I first went to Kurdistan on 22nd of January to visit the city of Erbil and take part in a Lufthansa meeting, where preparations were made for the flights. On 1st of February I began my work here,” she said. “As I got the proposal to go to Iraq, I made an internet research on Erbil first. I read that Erbil has a very old history and is one of the cradles of mankind. I am very interested in history. That was the decisive point to make an agreement to go to North Iraq,” she added. “The population in Erbil has doubled in the past two years. The economy attracts more and more People from abroad to Kurdistan Region”, explains the General Manager of Lutfhansa. Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt to Erbil on Tuesdays, Thursday, Saturdays and Sundays. Austrian Airlines flies from Erbil to Vienna on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. “At the moment we offer flights to Europe exclusively in our office in Erbil starting from 744 dollars, in addition to airport and security fees”, says Svatos. “We will check until end of June how the customers react on these prizes, then we will take further measures.” Austrian Airlines was more popular in Kurdish market, as the flieghts were offered for longer times. “Austrian is the first Western company that flied to Kurdistan.” Lufthans was momentarily not as occupied as Austrian, “but I think that this will change within the next months.” Unfortunately many people did not know yet that Lufthansa fled to Erbil. “Austrian Airlines is recognized for its tactics to conquer a market as first and leave the same market as last company”, the General Manager tells. “This is our mentality and our strength.” It was a commercial decision of Lufthansa to get active in Kurdistan as well; that had been set in the right moment. Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are momentarily in negotiations with the Iraqi capital Baghdad. “We have other security regulations there and other flight plans. Both airlines want to start from Baghdad as well.” Lufthansa wants to start flights between Munich and Baghdad starting from September 2010. The Turkish Company THY will also get active in Erbil, being an important rival for Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines. “I met with the representative OF THY in Erbil”, says Savros. “There is no problem that we have competition here. The representative said that he would adapt the prizes of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines.” Since 2006 Austrian Airlines offers flights in Kurdistan Region. After some breaks the flights are regularly offered since April 2008. At the moment Austrian Airlines offers five flights per week from Erbil to Vienna. Since 25th of April Lufthansa connects the Kurdish capital with Frankfurt with four flights per week. In competition to Lufthansa Air Berlin connects the Kurdish cities Erbil and Sulaimaniya with Munich since February. The frequency shall grow from summer on. There are also flights of Jordanian Airlines and Gulf Air from both German cities to Erbil. Ms/SH (AKnews)
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