Germanwings

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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
Germanwings logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
4U GWI GERMAN WINGS
Founded 1997
as a division of Eurowings
2002
as a separate company
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program
Fleet size 61
Destinations 86
Parent company Lufthansa Group
Headquarters Cologne, Germany
Key people Thomas Winkelmann, CEO
Dr. Axel Schmidt
Oliver Wagner
Website eurowings.com

Germanwings GmbH is a German low-cost airline based in Cologne and a wholly owned subsidiary of 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]

Germanwings operated independently until October 2015, when a merger with its sister company Eurowings was started. The merger was completed in early 2016. The Germanwings brand has not been used since then, although the actual airline continues to operate under the Eurowings brand using Germanwings flight numbers.

History[edit]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5][6] 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.[7] 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 has a long-standing dispute with the Vereinigung Cockpit union, which demands 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 a six-hour strike 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 flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich and the routes from Düsseldorf to Newark and Chicago[9] - were transferred to Germanwings.[10] The last route to be transferred was Düsseldorf-Zurich on 8 January 2015.[9][11]

Integration into Eurowings from 2015[edit]

However, the Lufthansa Group announced in January 2015 that the Germanwings brand will be discontinued and replaced by Eurowings starting in autumn 2015. Germanwings will continue to fly on behalf of Eurowings from then on.[12]

On 25 October 2015, Eurowings took over 55 routes previously operated under the Germanwings brand.[13] By April 2016, Eurowings will have taken over several more routes.[14] The first Germanwings bases to be mostly taken over by Eurowings will be Düsseldorf Airport, Hamburg Airport - at both of which Eurowings already operates on behalf of Germanwings - and Cologne Bonn Airport.

Lufthansa announced in October 2015, that Germanwings' own website will be dissolved and redirected to Eurowings by January 2016 as part of their merger. However, Germanwings will continue to operate until further notice[15] without being advertised under its own name anymore. Also since October 2015, Eurowings is solely responsible for all sales under the Germanwings brand.[16] In January 2016, Germanwings' social media profiles, e.g. on Facebook and YouTube, have been renamed to Eurowings while the URL germanwings.com now redirects to eurowings.com. However, Germanwings continues to operate under its own flight numbers but only using the Eurowings brand.

Corporate affairs[edit]

Germanwings' head office in Cologne

Business trends[edit]

Germanwings has been wholly owned by Lufthansa since 1 January 2009; formal reporting since then has been within the Group Accounts. From 2012, Germanwings figures have 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
longer
available
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 [17][18] [18] [19] [20][21] [22][23][24] [25] [26][27]

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.[28] (The increase in 2013 and 2014 figures was due to this intervening transfer of aircraft and routes from Lufthansa.)

Germanwings is expected to have transferred all its activities to Eurowings by 2017.

Service concept[edit]

Germanwings has offered three fare types since 2013. Basic is no-frills and offers no free catering and only hand luggage. Best includes hold baggage, free snacks and drinks as well as access to some lounges for tier members of Miles&More.[29] Smart and Best more or less correspond to the Lufthansa service offered on the routes taken over by Germanwings. The fleet is only equipped with economy class.

Germanwings offers Sky Bistro (Bord Shop in German), a buy on board food and drinks programme.[30] The airline 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.[31]

As for its booking services, Germanwings provides Blind Booking, a unique option 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 with details of their destination shortly after the purchase.[32]

Destinations[edit]

Fleet[edit]

Germanwings Airbus A319-100 wearing the new 2013 livery

As of December 2015, the Germanwings fleet consists of the following aircraft:[33]

Germanwings fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A319-100 43 144 / 150
Airbus A320-200 18 174
Total 61

Special liveries[edit]

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).[34] Those were abandoned during the 2013 rebranding.

Germanwings' former Park Inn Hotels special livery
Germanwings' former Berlin special livery
Germanwings' former Hamburg special livery
Germanwings' former T-Com special livery
Germanwings' former T-Mobile special livery

Incidents and accidents[edit]

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

As of the merger, Germanwings has been involved in one major accident resulting in fatalities, for a total of 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.[35] The French prosecutor, the French and German aviation authorities, and a spokesperson for Germanwings have all said that the crash was intentionally caused by the co-pilot, 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz. Phil Giles, a former investigator with the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch, told The Independent on March 29, 2015 that Germanwings (and hence Lufthansa) would have serious questions to answer over the mental state and medical history of this employee.[36][37][38] 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".[39] He later completed the training. Prior to his training as a commercial pilot, he was also treated for suicidal tendencies.[40][41]

Following the accident, EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) made a recommendation to airlines that two authorized persons must be present in the cockpit at all times.[42] In coordination with the German aviation authority, other German airlines and the German aviation industry association, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group adopted a flightdeck-occupancy procedure requiring the presence of two authorised persons on the flightdeck at all times during flight.[43]

References[edit]

  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. Tui-group.com. 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. 11 October 2012. Retrieved on 11 October 2012.
  7. ^ The "New Germanwings". Germanwings.com. 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". airliners.de. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Lufthansa-Direktverkehre: Umstellung auf Germanwings auf der Zielgeraden". airliners.de. 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. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/03/23/4uew-w15update1/
  14. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2015/04/07/4uew-apr16/
  15. ^ airliners.de - "Eurowings gets ready for long-haul" 15 October 2015
  16. ^ germanwings.com - Impressum retrieved 30 December 2015
  17. ^ "Annual Report 2008" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Annual Report 2009". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Annual Report 2010". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Investor Info 2011" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "Facts and Figures June 2013" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Die neue Germanwings" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Facts and Figures March 2014" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "Fleet & Crew - About Germanwings". Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  27. ^ "Lufthansa Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "Lufthansa Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Lufthansa. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  29. ^ "What fares are available?". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "[1]." Germanwings. Retrieved on 19 July 2012.
  31. ^ Germanwings – Magazine :: Apr 2012 — Ink eMagazines. Ink-live.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-01.
  32. ^ "Blind Booking". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  33. ^ ch-aviation.com - germanwings retrieved 19 December 2015
  34. ^ Germanwings advertisement brochure, Advertisement through aircraft painting. Retrieved 2012-01-20
  35. ^ BFMTV. "Un Airbus A320 transportant 148 personnes s'écrase près de Digne-les-Bains". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  36. ^ Hepher, Tim; Rosnoblet, Jean-Francois (26 March 2015). "Co-pilot appears to have crashed Germanwings plane deliberately: French prosecutor". Reuters. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ "Germanwings Plane Crash Investigation". The Guardian. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  39. ^ COMKOM° GmbH, Germany. "Lufthansa helps investigation progress". lufthansagroup.com. 
  40. ^ "Germanwings-Absturz: Co-Pilot war vor Jahren wegen Suizidgefahr in Behandlung". Spiegel.de (in German). 
  41. ^ "Germanwings Flight 4U9525: Flight school knew of depressive episode". CBC News. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  42. ^ "Authorised persons in the flight crew compartment". 
  43. ^ "Lufthansa Group further refines its safety structures". Retrieved 2 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Germanwings at Wikimedia Commons