Eurowings to drop long-haul flights, adjust operations

A Eurowings Airbus A340-300 long-haul aircraft, operated by Brussels Airlines. Photo: © Marvin Mutz

Lufthansa Group has announced changes to its future airline strategy. The German flag-carrier plans to adjust the operations of Brussels Airlines and low-cost carrier Eurowings.

The unprofitable budget carrier Eurowings will drop long haul flights and transfer the “commercial responsibility” connected to these intercontinental capacities to the network airlines of Lufthansa Group, which will continue to use the Eurowings brand for low-cost long-haul services. Furthermore, Eurowings, which currently operates several aircraft types under two Air Operator Certificates (AOC), one German and one Austrian, plans to move its entire fleet to the German registration. It will reduce its variety of operated airplanes from five different type families (some operated by other airlines in wet-lease agreements with Eurowings) to an all Airbus A320 family fleet.

Earlier this year, Eurowings had announced plans to start long-haul flights from Lufthansa base Frankfurt in October 2019, adding to the low-cost carrier’s existing intercontinental hubs Dusseldorf and Munich. Lufthansa Group now mentioned that Eurowings will move away from a “hub” concept (which includes its long-haul network) and focus on more short-haul, point-to-point connections; a business model most other low-cost carriers are using as well.

Eurowings, together with its partners (including Brussels Airlines), made losses of 231 million Euros (US $263 million) in 2018, according to the data released by Lufthansa Group.

It was also announced that Belgian flag-carrier Brussels Airlines, which is 100% owned by Lufthansa Group as well, will not be integrated into the low-cost carrier, but instead become more closely aligned with the group’s network airlines (Lufthansa, Swiss & Austrian Airlines). Lufthansa Group says further details on what it calls a “turnaround plan” for Brussels Airlines and Eurowings will be disclosed in the third quarter of 2019.

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