With the transfer of the Düsseldorf–Zurich route this week, Lufthansa Group has completed transferring all of Lufthansa’s short-haul, non-hub routes within Germany and Europe from the mainline Lufthansa operation to Germanwings, the group’s lower-cost subsidiary.
This means that one the biggest structural projects ever undertaken by Lufthansa Group has been successfully completed on time, according to the group.
The new Germanwings concept was presented to Lufthansa Group’s Supervisory Board in December 2012 and the new Germanwings operation was launched on July 1, 2013.
In all, Germanwings has taken over 115 routes from Lufthansa in recent months, with the biggest route transfer ‒ of 52 routes ‒ taking place at Düsseldorf Airport.
“The first Germanwings flight from Düsseldorf to Zurich today marks the successful completion of what is to date the biggest project to make the Lufthansa Group more competitive,” said Carsten Spohr, chairman of the executive board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG (otherwise known as Lufthansa Group).
“As a result of low costs in the Wings business model, we combine favorable prices with the punctuality, quality and safety of the Lufthansa Group,” added Spohr. “This combination has been met with a positive response among our passengers and also finds favor in many European markets.”
Spohr continued: “At the same time, the success of the project will bolster our confidence for the creation of our new Eurowings, which will be launched before the year is over.”
Eurowings will see the creation of a new carrier in autumn 2015 which will operate 23, already ordered, Airbus A320s and a fleet of leased Airbus A330-200 widebodies.
The A320s will operate services throughout Europe from airport bases outside Germany. The A330-200s will operate flights from Cologne Bonn Airport and other German airports to leisure-market destinations throughout the world.
In order to keep costs down, Eurowings will use the operating certificate of and crews from Sun Express Deutschland, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkey-based leisure carrier Sun Express. Sun Express itself is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.
However, senior executives within Lufthansa Group say it is possible that in the future Eurowings could grow to embrace the Germanwings operation, which now has nearly 80 aircraft in operation.
The new Germanwings service between Düsseldorf and Zurich will offer 24 round-trips a week, making it one of the highest-volume routes from the North Rhine-Westphalia capital.
An early morning flight departs from Düsseldorf Airport (IATA code DUS) at 7.00 a.m. An early-afternoon flight leaves at 1.30 p.m., an afternoon flight at 5.05 p.m. and an evening service at 6.55 p.m.
All flights in Germanwings’ current winter flight schedule and its 2015 summer flight schedule, which will run until the end of October, are available for booking at www.germanwings.com.