as a division of Eurowings
as a separate company
|Parent company||Lufthansa Group|
|Key people||Thomas Winkelmann (CEO)
Dr. Axel Schmidt
Germanwings is a German low-cost airline based in Cologne, which is wholly owned by Lufthansa. 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.
In January 2013, Lufthansa started to move its entire short-haul operations outside of its main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich to Germanwings.
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.
Change of ownership
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.
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. 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. 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 be retained, 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.
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) - will have been taken over by Germanwings. The last route to be handed over from Lufthansa to Germanwings will be Düsseldorf-Zurich on 8 January 2015.
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):
|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|
|Airbus A319-100||41||2||144 / 150||Orders are planes transferred from Lufthansa|
|Airbus A320-200||13||4||174||Orders are planes transferred from Lufthansa. Some planes in Lufthansa Livery|
|Bombardier CRJ900||23||0||90||operated by Eurowings|
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). Those have been abandoned during the 2013 rebranding.
Germanwings Airbus A319-100 in T-Mobile livery
Germanwings Airbus A319-100 featuring a special livery promoting Berlin in 2009
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. 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. 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.
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.
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- Announcement of TUI AG. Tui-group.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-01.
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Media related to Germanwings at Wikimedia Commons