Lufthansa’s long-haul low-cost flights won’t be operated by Eurowings (EW) from 2020 onwards. Instead they will be operated under a different brand name. According to WirtschaftsWoche, Lufthansa has decided to cut a large part of Eurowings' network as the budget airline continues to be loss-making.
Eurowings began operating long-haul flights in 2014. Since the beginning there were problems; a third of the flights were constantly delayed. The reason for the change is the constant loss on oversea routes. According to industry experts, Eurowings never earned money on the long range sector, unlike on short-haul flights. Instead, EW lost up to two million euros per plane per year. That would mean a loss of up to 20 million a year.
The idea with the cheap long-haul flights was thought differently. Traditionally, long-haul leisure destinations are growing faster in demand than for business travel destinations. At the same time, more and more customers are prepared to forego comfort for low prices.
"We can’t do without the low-cost long-haul market," says Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr.
However, the less experienced management had many issues. Eurowings didn’t have many spare aircraft, which led to low reliability. The long-haul operation was outsourced to Sunexpress, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. However they did not have any experience with long-haul flights and Airbus aircraft.
The new name is expected to be unveiled in 2020. We are curious as to whether the onboard product will be different, because the current product is very disappointing. For example personally, I have experienced better legroom on many of Europe's LCCs than on EW’s A330s.
This is exciting news but is of course expected to be a costly venture for the Lufthansa Group. Eurowings has been struggling for a while now and the Lufthansa Group is scrambling for a solution. Could this be the one they were looking for all along?
We have reached out to the Lufthansa Group to confirm the information originally published by WirtschaftsWoche.