UK boss has "total confidence" in services to war-torn country
Lufthansa's general manager in the UK has reassured the trade that a decision to reintroduce services to Iraq would not have been taken unless bosses were positive they could ensure the safety of passengers, crew and aircraft.
Speaking to ABTN.co.uk at the airline's Heathrow base, Marianne Sammann said she had "total confidence" in the move.
"Lufthansa is very careful is assessing these situations," she said. "There will have been an extensive and concise review. The company's priority is always the safety and security of customers, staff and machinery."
The German carrier operated services between Frankfurt and the Middle Eastern country from 1956 until the eve of the first Gulf War in 1990.
The services to Baghdad and Erbil from Frankfurt and Munich are due to start this summer; though exact dates have yet to be announced.
Eyebrows were raised when the announcement was made earlier this week, as many believed Iraq was still too volatile to merit a service from one of the world's most high-profile carriers.
One travel manager, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I think it is a peculiar decision to reintroduce flights into what is essentially a country going through a civil war."
"Car bombs are killing people on a daily basis in Baghdad. It's true that some corporations are converging on Iraq to profit from the rebuilding process, but it is extremely high risk. The Foreign Office is still advising against all travel to the country and the corporate social responsibility and insurance implications for companies will be huge."
Erbil is already served by Austrian Airlines, which is part of the Lufthansa Group, from its Vienna hub.
Earlier this week Lufthansa revealed that its year-on-year passenger numbers fell 2.6% for 2009. It also reduced capacity by 1.3%.