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This article is about the low-cost carrier of the Lufthansa Group. For the 1980s airline, see German Wings. For wings of the German Air Force, see Category:Luftwaffe Wings.
Germanwings logo.png
Founded 1997
as a division of Eurowings
as a separate company
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program
Fleet size 80
Destinations 86
Parent company Lufthansa
Headquarters Cologne, Germany
Key people Thomas Winkelmann (CEO)
Dr. Axel Schmidt
Oliver Wagner

Germanwings GmbH is a German low-cost airline based in Cologne, which is wholly owned by Lufthansa.[1] Its main hubs are Cologne Bonn Airport, Stuttgart Airport, Hamburg Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport and Düsseldorf Airport; further bases are Hannover Airport and Dortmund Airport.[2]


Early years[edit]

Germanwings Airbus A319-100 wearing the former livery

In 1997, Eurowings set up a low-cost department, which became a separate company under the name Germanwings on 27 October 2002. On 7 December 2005, the airline signed an agreement to purchase 18 Airbus A319 aircraft (with a further 12 options), with deliveries scheduled from July 2006 until 2008.[3]

During winter 2004–2005 Germanwings leased two Boeing 717s from Aerolíneas de Baleares to test the aircraft type, but no order was made afterwards.

In 2008 initial plans were made to merge Germanwings, Eurowings and TUIfly into one airline to compete with Air Berlin/LTU in the German market and with EasyJet and Ryanair on international routes, but these plans were never realized. Instead, Germanwings became a wholly owned Lufthansa subsidiary on 1 January 2009.[4]

Development since 2012[edit]

In 2012 Lufthansa announced that it plans to transfer point-to-point shorthaul flights operating from cities other than Frankfurt and Munich from Lufthansa to Germanwings.[5][6] Therefore the company received a revised corporate design. The transfer of Lufthansa's shorthaul routes takes place between spring 2013 and autumn 2014 with Düsseldorf Airport being the last base to be transferred from March 2014.

As part of the 2013 restructuring and relaunch of Germanwings, alongside the 33 aircraft currently operated, around 30 Lufthansa aircraft will be transferred to Germanwings.[7] Additionally, the 23 aircraft currently operated by Eurowings covering Lufthansa flights not flying out of the Frankfurt and Munich hubs will also be incorporated into Germanwings. Overall, ‘new Germanwings’ will eventually operate around 90 aircraft.

The airline has had a long-standing dispute with the Vereinigung Cockpit union which has demanded a scheme in which pilots can retire at the age of 55 and retain 60% of their pay, which parent Lufthansa insists is no longer affordable. Germanwings pilots staged a nationwide strike in support of their demands in April 2014 which lasted 3 days. The pilots staged another 6 hours strike at the end of the Summer holidays in September 2014. Simultaneous strikes were staged by Lufthansa pilots.[8]

By the end of 2014 all of Lufthansa's national routes and international traffic to and from Germany - except all flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich and both Lufthansa long-haul routes from Düsseldorf (to Newark and Chicago)[9] - has been taken over by Germanwings.[10] The last route that was handed over from Lufthansa to Germanwings was Düsseldorf-Zurich on 8 January 2015.[9][11]

However, the Lufthansa Group announced in January 2015 that the Germanwings brand will be removed from public appearance and integrated into the rebranded Eurowings by autumn 2015. Germanwings will remain as an airline operating on behalf of Eurowings from then on.[12]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Business figures[edit]

Germanwings head office in Cologne

Germanwings has been wholly owned by Lufthansa since 1 January 2009, so formal reporting since then has been within the Group Accounts. In the 2012 accounts, Germanwings figures were reported only within the 'Lufthansa Passenger Airline Group', and are not generally available separately. The key known trends for Germanwings are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Turnover (€m) 628 580 630 687 n/a n/a
Profits (EBITDA) (€m) 39 63 −9 −15 n/a n/a
Number of employees (at year end) 1,046 1,111 1,272 1,274 1,352 2,073
Number of passengers (m) 7.6 7.2 7.7 7.5 7.8 16
Passenger load factor (%) n/a n/a 77.2 78.2 n/a n/a
Number of aircraft (at year end) 25 26 30 30 32 67
Notes/sources [13][14] [14] [15] [16][17] [18][19][20] [21]

Service concept[edit]

Since 2013 Germanwings offers three fare types called Basic, Smart and Best which include different services. While Basic is a classic no-frills offer that features hand-luggage only and no free catering, Best includes hold baggage, free snacks and drinks as well as access to some lounges for tier members of Miles&More.[22] Therefore Smart and Best are more or less comparable to the product that Lufthansa offered on the routes taken over by Germanwings. The fleet is equipped with economy class only.

Germanwings operates the additional Sky Bistro (Bord Shop in German), a buy on board programme offering food and drinks for purchase.[23] The airline also provides an inflight magazine, a bi-monthly German and English magazine called GW. While the primary editorial focus is rooted in Germanwings destinations, the content is not exclusively about travel.[24]

As for its booking services, Germanwings provides a unique option called Blind Booking that allows passengers to choose one of Germanwings' base airports, select a category of destination (e.g. Party, Gay-friendly or Culture), and then purchase a round-trip ticket via a random lottery process from among the cities in the category. Such tickets are often priced lower than the corresponding ticket to the same destination, and Germanwings e-mails its customers their destination shortly after the purchase.[25]



Germanwings Airbus A319-100 wearing the new 2013 livery

As of March 2015, the Germanwings fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average age of 9.2 years.[26][27]

Germanwings fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A319-100 41 - 144 / 150
Airbus A320-200 14 174 Four aircraft to be transferred from Lufthansa, some aircraft still retain the Lufthansa livery.
2 162 operated by Eurowings[28]
Bombardier CRJ900 21 - 90 operated by Eurowings, to be transferred to Lufthansa CityLine
Total 79 4

Special liveries[edit]

Some aircraft have had special liveries applied in order to promote German cites (e.g. the Bearbus paint scheme inspired by the coat of arms of Berlin), or as advertisements (e.g. a pink livery for T-Mobile).[29] Those have been entirely abandoned during the 2013 rebranding.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On 24 March 2015, Airbus A320-211 with registration D-AIPX was operating Flight 9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf when it crashed in the south of France near Digne-les-Bains, killing all on board. The flight was carrying a total of 144 passengers, two pilots, and four cabin crew.[30] The French prosecutor, the French and German aviation authorities, and a spokesperson for Germanwings have said the crash was intentionally caused by the co-pilot, 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz.[31][32][33].


  1. ^ "Imprint." Germanwings. Retrieved on April 29, 2010. "Head Office: Germanwings-Str. 2 51147 Cologne"
  2. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 86. 
  3. ^ Aero International, June 2006
  4. ^ Announcement of TUI AG. Retrieved on 2012-05-01.
  5. ^ "Lufthansa to Combine European Flights Into Low-Cost Unit". Bloomberg. September 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ Flottau, Jens. "Lufthansa Transfers Most Short-Haul Flights To Germanwings." Aviation Week. October 11, 2012. Retrieved on October 11, 2012.
  7. ^ The "New Germanwings". Retrieved on 2012-12-30.
  8. ^ "Lufthansa pilots' strike causes cancellation of more than 200 flights". Travel Trade.Org. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Germania, Ryanair und mehr - Aktuelle Streckenmeldungen". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Lufthansa-Direktverkehre: Umstellung auf Germanwings auf der Zielgeraden". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Online Flugplan - Lufthansa ® Deutschland". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Volker Mester. "Lufthansa - Neue Billiglinie Eurowings soll Germanwings ersetzen - Wirtschaft - Hamburger Abendblatt". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Annual Report 2008". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Annual Report 2009". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Annual Report 2010". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Investor Info 2011". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Annual Report 2012". Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Facts and Figures June 2013". Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Die neue Germanwings". Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Facts and Figures March 2014". Lufthansa. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "What fares are available?". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "[1]." Germanwings. Retrieved on 19 July 2012.
  24. ^ Germanwings – Magazine :: Apr 2012 — Ink eMagazines. Retrieved on 2012-05-01.
  25. ^ "Blind Booking". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  26. ^ germanwings Fleet.
  27. ^ "Engineering & fleet". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  28. ^ COMKOM° GmbH, Germany. "First Eurowings Airbus A320 to take off on Sunday". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  29. ^ Germanwings advertisement brochure, Advertisement through aircraft painting. Retrieved 2012-01-20
  30. ^ BFMTV. "Un Airbus A320 transportant 148 personnes s'écrase près de Digne-les-Bains". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  31. ^ Hepher, Tim; Rosnoblet, Jean-Francois (26 March 2015). "Co-pilot appears to have crashed Germanwings plane deliberately: French prosecutor". Reuters. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  32. ^ Clark, Nicola; Bilefsky, Dan (26 March 2015). "Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Airbus Jet, French Prosecutor Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  33. ^ "Germanwings Plane Crash Investigation". The Guardian. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 

External links[edit]