Lufthansa “AIRail” pockets European Intermodal Award 2001
The Lufthansa “AIRail” pilot project has landed the European Intermodal Award at the “Intermodal 2001” in Hamburg.
Lufthansa, which initiated the project in cooperation with German Rail, and the Fraport airport company in Frankfurt, won the prize in the “International Intermodal Transport Services” category. Among others on the jury were members of the European Commission and European Parliament.
At the presentation ceremony, Wolfgang Weinert, Lufthansa Networking Systems Project Manager, underlined that AIRail is an essential element in Lufthansa`s sustainability strategy. “With AIRail, we are the first in the world to realise the dream of seamless travel between rail and air. We are confident that the project will be successful,” he said, highlighting the good cooperation between the project partners. “None of the three could have realised this project on its own.”
Since March 2001, Lufthansa passengers on the Stuttgart to Frankfurt route and back have been able to pick up their boarding cards at Lufthansa check-in counters at Stuttgart main railway station for all connecting flights at Frankfurt airport. Their baggage is through-checked to journey`s end and all customs formalities are settled. “After handing in their baggage, passengers do not see it again until arrival at their final destination, be it in Europe, Asia or America. The train-to-plane service eliminates driving by road to the airport and raises travel quality by taking baggage off a passenger`s hand,” said Weinert, explaning the benefits. On the train, the passengers travel First Class in specially reserved seats and enjoy the complete Lufthansa service. With AIRail, travelling at “zero altitude” is convenient, reliable and fast.
“An efficient transport infrastructure is essential for economic prosperity. The seamless networking of road, rail and air traffic and utilising their individual strengths can generate decisive customer and competitive advantages, ” said Lufthansa manager Wolfgang Weinert. Utilisation of the system`s capacity was already touching 30 per cent in early September. But Lufthansa`s sights are set higher. Project manager Weinert: “We`re aiming for at least 60 per cent utilisation.”
The AIRail project can acquire a model character, if the system gains lasting acceptance among passengers. “We are demonstrating that maximum mobility and the principles of sustainability are not contradictory. “Because better networking of rail and air transport also eases the strain on the environment,” Weinert noted. “Given positive customer acceptance, and to save on fuel and emissions, our long-term aim is to switch other short-haul flights to rail . The Frankfurt - Cologne / Bonn and Frankfurt - Dusseldorf routes are just two examples.”