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Germanwings logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
as a division of Eurowings
as a separate company
Ceased operations7 April 2020[1]
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program
Fleet size33
Parent companyLufthansa Group
HeadquartersCologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Key peopleExecutive Board: Michael Knitter, Francesco Sciortino

Germanwings GmbH was[1] a German low-cost airline wholly owned by Lufthansa[2] which operated under the Eurowings brand. It was based in Cologne with hubs at Cologne Bonn Airport, Stuttgart Airport, Hamburg Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport, Munich Airport and further bases at Hannover Airport and Dortmund Airport.[3]

Germanwings operated independently as Lufthansa's low-cost carrier until October 2015, when Lufthansa decided to fully transfer the brand identity of its low cost short haul-product to Eurowings. After 2016, Germanwings operated as a wet lease operator for its sister company Eurowings, with the Germanwings branding being phased out at this time. The IATA code "4U" continued to operate under the Eurowings brand until March 2018, when it was abandoned and replaced with the Eurowings designator EW.[4] Germanwings was closed in April 2020 as part of a broad restructuring.[1]


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 A319-100 aircraft with a further 12 options, with deliveries scheduled from July 2006 until 2008.[5]

During winter 2004–2005, Germanwings leased two Boeing 717-200s 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 and its subsidiary LTU in the German market and with easyJet and Ryanair on international routes. However, these plans never realized. Instead, Germanwings became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lufthansa on 1 January 2009.[6]

Takeover of Lufthansa routes from 2012[edit]

In 2012, Lufthansa announced its plans to transfer point-to-point shorthaul flights operating from cities other than Frankfurt and Munich from Lufthansa to Germanwings.[7][8] Therefore, the company received a revised corporate design. The transfer of Lufthansa's shorthaul routes occurred between spring 2013 and autumn 2014; Düsseldorf Airport was the last base transferred from March 2014.

As part of the 2013 restructuring and relaunch of Germanwings, around 30 Lufthansa aircraft were to be added to Germanwings' fleet of 33 aircraft.[9] Additionally, the 23 aircraft currently operated by Eurowings for Lufthansa flights not flying out of Frankfurt and Munich were to join Germanwings. The new Germanwings was to operate around 90 aircraft.

The airline had a long-standing dispute with the Vereinigung Cockpit union, which demanded a plan in which pilots can retire at the age of 55 and retain 60% of their pay, which parent Lufthansa insists was not affordable. Germanwings pilots staged a nationwide strike in support of their demands in April 2014 which lasted 3 days. The pilots staged a six-hour strike in September 2014. Simultaneous strikes were staged by Lufthansa pilots.[10]

By the end of 2014, all of Lufthansa's national routes and international traffic to and from Germany - except flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich and the routes from Düsseldorf to Newark and Chicago[11] - were transferred to Germanwings.[12] The last route to be transferred was Düsseldorf-Zurich on 8 January 2015.[11][13]

Integration into Eurowings from 2015[edit]

Germanwings Airbus A319-100 wearing the new 2013 livery which is gradually replaced by the Eurowings design

In January 2015, Lufthansa Group announced that it would discontinue the Germanwings brand and replace it with Eurowings starting in late 2015.[14]

On 25 October 2015, Eurowings took over 55 routes previously operated under the Germanwings brand.[15][16] The first Germanwings bases to be mostly taken over by Eurowings were Düsseldorf Airport, Hamburg Airport - at both of which Eurowings already operated on behalf of Germanwings - and Cologne Bonn Airport.

Lufthansa announced in October 2015 that Germanwings' own website would be dissolved and redirected to Eurowings by January 2016 as part of their merger. However, Germanwings continued to operate as a company.[17] From that date, Eurowings became solely responsible for all sales under the Germanwings brand.[18] In January 2016, Germanwings' social media profiles, such as those on Facebook and YouTube, were renamed Eurowings, while was redirected to However, Germanwings continued to operate under its own flight numbers, but used the Eurowings brand.

In December 2016, it was announced that Germanwings would retire 20 aircraft during 2017 without replacement due to Lufthansa's new wet-lease deal with Air Berlin which also provided services for Eurowings. It was reported that the Air Berlin aircraft were newer and cheaper to operate than those of Germanwings.[19]

In August 2017, it was announced that Germanwings would abandon its own IATA code 4U by 25 March 2018. Since then, it has used Eurowings' EW code on for all operations, which are already carried out under the Eurowings brand.[4]

In October 2019, the Pristina base, which had been operated by Germanwings since June 2019, was transferred to Eurowings Europe.[20] In return, Germanwings took over the German base in Munich which had been operated by its sister airline.[21]

On 7 April 2020, Lufthansa announced that it would be shutting down Germanwings, partly due to the large travel ban during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1][22]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Germanwings' head office in Cologne

Business trends[edit]

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

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Turnover (€m) 628 580 630 687 n/a n/a Separate
data no
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 84 62
Notes/sources [23][24] [24] [25] [26][27] [28][29][30] [31] [32][33]

In line with Lufthansa's declared business strategy, the transfer of European non-hub traffic from Lufthansa Passenger Airlines to Germanwings continued in 2014 and was completed successfully on 7 January 2015.[34] (The increase in 2013 and 2014 figures was due to this intervening transfer of aircraft and routes from Lufthansa.)

Service concept[edit]

Germanwings had offered three fare types since 2013. Basic was no-frills and offered no inclusive catering and only hand luggage. Best included hold baggage, inclusive snacks and drinks as well as access to some lounges for tier members of Miles&More.[35] Smart and Best more or less corresponded to the Lufthansa service offered on the routes taken over by Germanwings. The fleet was only equipped with economy class.

Germanwings offered Sky Bistro (Bord Shop in German), a buy on board food and drinks programme.[36] The airline provided an inflight magazine, a bi-monthly German and English magazine called GW. While the primary editorial focus was rooted in Germanwings destinations, the content was not exclusively about travel.[37]

Germanwings booking service provided Blind Booking, a unique option that allowed 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 were often priced lower than the corresponding ticket to the same destination, and Germanwings e-mails its customers with details of their destination shortly after the purchase.[38]


Codeshare agreements[edit]

Germanwings had codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[39]


Germanwings' former Park Inn Hotels special livery

Germanwings operated the following aircraft:[40]

Germanwings retired fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A319-100 50 2002 2020 Operated for Eurowings between 2015-2020
Airbus A320-200 26 2003 2019
Boeing 717-200 2 2004 2005 Leased from Aerolíneas de Baleares
McDonnell Douglas MD-81 1 2007 2007 Leased from Nordic Airways
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 1 2007 2007 Leased from FlyNordic
McDonnell Douglas MD-83 1 2007 2007 Leased from Nordic Airways

Special liveries[edit]

Germanwings used several different special liveries. Some aircraft had special liveries promoting German cities (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).[41] Those were abandoned during the 2013 rebranding.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Germanwings Flight 9525 in May 2014
D-AIPX, the plane that crashed as Flight 9525 in March 2015

As of the merger, Germanwings had been involved in one major incident, which resulted in 150 fatalities. On 24 March 2015, an 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, with no survivors. The flight was carrying 144 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew.[42] German prosecutors decided that nobody other than the 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz could be held accountable for the crash.[43][44][45][46] Lubitz took time off from his flight training for several months and informed the Flight Training Pilot School in 2009 of a "previous episode of severe depression".[47] He later completed the training. Prior to his training as a commercial pilot, he was also treated for suicidal tendencies.[48][49]

Following the incident, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) made a recommendation to airlines that two authorized people must be present in the cockpit at all times.[50] In coordination with the German aviation authority, other German airlines and the German aviation industry association, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group implemented a policy requiring this.[51] However, by 2016, the EASA stopped recommending the two-person rule, instead advising airlines to perform a risk assessment and decide for themselves whether to use the rule.[52] Germanwings and other German airlines dropped the rule in 2017.[53]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Reuters
  2. ^ "Imprint Archived 2014-10-09 at the Wayback Machine." Germanwings. Retrieved on April 29, 2010. "Head Office: Germanwings-Str. 2 51147 Cologne"
  3. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. p. 86.
  4. ^ a b - "Germanwings gives up IATA-Code 4U" (German) 23 August 2017
  5. ^ Aero International, June 2006
  6. ^ Announcement of TUI AG. Retrieved on 2012-05-01.
  7. ^ "Lufthansa to Combine European Flights Into Low-Cost Unit". Bloomberg. September 20, 2012.
  8. ^ Flottau, Jens. "Lufthansa Transfers Most Short-Haul Flights To Germanwings Archived 2013-05-09 at the Wayback Machine." Aviation Week. 11 October 2012. Retrieved on 11 October 2012.
  9. ^ The "New Germanwings" Archived 2013-07-30 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2012-12-30.
  10. ^ "Lufthansa pilots' strike causes cancellation of more than 200 flights". Travel Trade.Org. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Germania, Ryanair und mehr - Aktuelle Streckenmeldungen". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Lufthansa-Direktverkehre: Umstellung auf Germanwings auf der Zielgeraden". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Online Flugplan - Lufthansa ® Deutschland". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  14. ^ Volker Mester (4 December 2014). "Lufthansa - Neue Billiglinie Eurowings soll Germanwings ersetzen - Wirtschaft - Hamburger Abendblatt". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  15. ^ "germanwings Moves 55 Routes to Eurowings from late-Oct 2015 | Routes".
  16. ^ "germanwings / Eurowings Route Transfers in April 2016 | Routes".
  17. ^ - "Eurowings gets ready for long-haul" 15 October 2015
  18. ^ - Impressum retrieved 30 December 2015
  19. ^ - "Eurowings: Air Berlin deal at the expense of Germanwings" 16 December 2016
  20. ^ "Eurowings eröffnet Basis und stationiert A319 in Pristina". (in German). Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  21. ^ "Eurowings wechselt durch: Germanwings löst Eurowings Europe in München ab". aeroTELEGRAPH (in Swiss High German). 2018-12-13. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  22. ^ "Coronavirus latest: Wuhan lockdown lifted". Deutsche Welle.
  23. ^ "Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Lufthansa. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Annual Report 2009". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  25. ^ "Annual Report 2010". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  26. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  27. ^ "Investor Info 2011" (PDF). Lufthansa. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 August 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  28. ^ "Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Facts and Figures June 2013" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Die neue Germanwings" (PDF). Lufthansa. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Facts and Figures March 2014" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  32. ^ "Fleet & Crew - About Germanwings". Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  33. ^ "Lufthansa Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Lufthansa Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  35. ^ "What fares are available?". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  36. ^ "[1]." Germanwings. Retrieved on 19 July 2012.
  37. ^ Germanwings – Magazine :: Apr 2012 — Ink eMagazines. Retrieved on 2012-05-01.
  38. ^ "Blind Booking". Archived from the original on 30 April 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  39. ^ "Profile on Germanwings". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-11-03. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  40. ^ - Germanwings retrieved 1 September 2019
  41. ^ Germanwings advertisement brochure, Advertisement through aircraft painting Archived 2012-05-08 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2012-01-20
  42. ^ BFMTV. "Un Airbus A320 transportant 148 personnes s'écrase près de Digne-les-Bains". Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  43. ^ "German investigators find only pilot Lubitz at fault in Germanwings crash". Reuters. 2017-01-09. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  44. ^ Hepher, Tim; Rosnoblet, Jean-Francois (26 March 2015). "Co-pilot appears to have crashed Germanwings plane deliberately: French prosecutor". Reuters. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  45. ^ 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.
  46. ^ "Germanwings Plane Crash Investigation". The Guardian. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  47. ^ COMKOM° GmbH, Germany. "Lufthansa helps investigation progress". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  48. ^ "Germanwings-Absturz: Co-Pilot war vor Jahren wegen Suizidgefahr in Behandlung". Der Spiegel (in German). 30 March 2015.
  49. ^ "Germanwings Flight 4U9525: Flight school knew of depressive episode". CBC News. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  50. ^ "Authorised persons in the flight crew compartment".
  51. ^ "Lufthansa Group further refines its safety structures". Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  52. ^ "Minimum Cockpit Occupancy: EASA issues revised Safety Information Bulletin" (Press release). EASA. 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  53. ^ "German airlines drop safety rule prompted by Germanwings crash". BBC News. 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2020-10-07.

External links[edit]

Media related to Germanwings at Wikimedia Commons