Eurowings gears up for its post-lockout future


An Airbus A319. Photo: © Phillip Rohmberger / IFN

German low-cost airline Eurowings has explained how it will step up operations in the coming months.

The airline belonging to the Lufthansa group currently flies only around 20 of its aircraft. That number is expected to rise rapidly as Germany is expected to end its lockdown and reduce travel restrictions thanks to the drop in the number of Covid-19 infections.

Coming out of what was probably the most difficult part of the global pandemic, Eurowings gave up 25% of its total employees, and even 30% of managerial positions. Two offices were abolished. At present, the company has nearly 3,000 employees.

At a midday press conference on Wednesday, Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof made optimistic remarks about the airline’s return to “the new normal”. He says advances in vaccination and testing are crucial to overturning travel restrictions and returning travelers. Although the airline is not introducing a vaccination requirement for its staff or passengers, it notes that some destination countries may soon require passengers and crew to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Fleet changes

The CEO explained that his company plans to return to 70% of its 2019 operations in the summer of 2021. Eurowings will more than double its active fleet from 20 to 45 aircraft by Easter (early April) and plans to operate 75 to 80 planes. during the summer vacation season. Although the carrier appears to be focusing more on leisure flights, it will continue to offer various domestic routes, as well as international business destinations.

At the start of the coronavirus crisis, Eurowings abandoned all of its wet lease agreements with other companies, including TUI fly, Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter and Germanwings, owned by Lufthansa. Long-haul flights operated by SunExpress Germany and Brussels Airlines have also been suspended. As a result, Eurowings has become an operator of the fully Airbus A320 family.

Shifting to a more uniform fleet is a long-term benefit for the airline, Bischof said. He told International Flight Network that the company currently has no plans to add smaller types of aircraft outside of the A320 Family to its fleet. In 2022, Eurowings is expected to receive its first five Airbus A320neo aircraft.

LGW operated the Bombardier Dash 8 on behalf of Eurowings. Photo: © Leonard Leinroth / IFN

New base at BER

On Monday, Eurowings announced it would return to park planes in Berlin. It will mainly offer domestic and leisure flights using three planes from April 1.

The airline had a base with four planes at Berlin Tegel Airport, now closed. When the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport opened in October last year, there was initially no aircraft base, leaving most of the market during the pandemic to Easyjet, its biggest competitor in the German capital.

The Lufthansa Group claims to become Berlin’s biggest airline again. However, data from the German aeronautical information site aeroTelegraph shows that Easyjet remains number one with a market share of almost 27%, based on the total number of seats offered for the next summer season 2021.

Eurowings Discover

Instead of Eurowings reverting to its old program of offering low-cost flights to long-haul destinations, the Lufthansa Group has instead chosen to form a new separate company to operate jumbo jets. The new leisure-oriented airline will be called Eurowings Discover and will be based out of the Lufthansa hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. While building on the low-cost brand, Eurowings Discover will be its own long-haul airline, with operations unrelated to short and medium-haul carrier Eurowings.

Eurowings Discover will kick off in summer 2021 with four Airbus A330s and around 350 employees to a number of intercontinental leisure destinations, primarily in North America, the Caribbean and Africa. The airline will offer Business and Premium Economy classes in addition to regular Economy class.

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