Out of all Lufthansa services to India, only Pune airport is served by a narrowbody aircraft. This selection of aircraft is not due to poor demand, but due to the fact that Pune airport has a short 2.5 km length runway, which is not enough for widebody operations.
Over the past months, there have been quite a few changes on Lufthansa’s Pune to Frankfurt service. It was operated by a PrivatAir Boeing 737-700BBJ for the longest time. The contract with PrivatAir was cancelled and the flight was dropped. Lufthansa is now relaunching the flight with a Lufthansa Airbus A319 from November 1, 2018.
But, it looks like that is just a temporary arrangement to hold the slot. PrivatAir is all set to operate this route on behalf of Lufthansa. PrivatAir Boeing 737-700BBJ will operate the route from February 1, 2019, to March 31, 2019, instead of Lufthansa’s mainline Airbus A319. The route will be 6x weekly, up from the current 3x weekly with the following schedule
LH769 PNQ02:10–06:35OTP x3
LH769 OTP07:05–08:45 FRA x3
LH768 FRA11:50–00:40PNQ x2
The aircraft will operate nonstop from Frankfurt to Pune. It will have a refuelling stop at Bucharest on the return leg. This is due to the fact that weight restriction applies to the aircraft as Pune airport has a short runway. PrivatAir Boeing 737-700BBJ has 20 Business class seats and 66 Economy seats. With this, Lufthansa will once again be able to provide an angled-flat business class on Pune to Frankfurt sector, which should anyway be much better than having three seats in Economy double up as Business Class.
Good news for Pune to Frankfurt passengers. Lufthansa has renegotiated their contract with PrivatAir and sensibly added the premium configured 737-700BBJ back to the route. I guess the service will be extended further after March 31, 2019 as well when new schedules are announced.
Are you excited to have this small pleasure of having a 737 serve this long-haul flight again?