New setup for Eurowings Group: Brussels Airlines competence centre for long-haul, Eurowings responsible for short-haul

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  • Brussels Airlines set to become long-haul competence centre of Eurowings Group
  • Eurowings airline will be responsible for the short-haul business of the Eurowings Group
  • Eurowings Group CEO Thorsten Dirks: “New strategic setup puts us at the helm of European airline consolidation

After first successes of joint projects, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines will take the next decisive steps in the integration process, defining each other’s roles within the Eurowings Group.

Taking the expertise and strengths of both entities into consideration, Brussels Airlines will become the long-haul competence centre of the Eurowings Group, steering all long-haul activities of the entire group out of Brussels. Next to that, the airline will actively participate in the Eurowings Group pan-European growth strategy by becoming the operator for the expansion to other airport bases in the French- and Dutch-speaking part of Europe.

“The successful launch of Eurowings long-haul flights operated by Brussels Airlines out of Düsseldorf to New York, Fort Meyers and Miami last April, reconfirms the long-haul expertise of the Brussels based airline,” said Eurowings Group CEO Thorsten Dirks. “In only five months Eurowings and Brussels Airlines have managed to set up a long-haul base at Düsseldorf, strengthening the group in one of its key German airports,” he added.

In parallel, Eurowings – focusing on European point-to-point traffic – will steer the entire short-haul portfolio of the Eurowings Group from Cologne. Dirks: “Joining forces with Brussels Airlines will not only strengthen our position as the #3 low-cost carrier in Europe but also spur further Eurowings Group growth in the future”, specifies Thorsten Dirks.

Both airlines will continue to operate long-haul and short-haul flights out of their respective bases Brussels, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Vienna. This also means that even though two competence centres are being created at Brussels and Cologne, there will remain functions for both long-haul and short-haul operations at both locations. Implementation of the new setup is planned for 2019. Eurowings Group already operates from more than 20 European bases today.

“Brussels Airlines is recognised for its expertise and for the value it adds to the Eurowings Group. We will continue building on our assets to become an even more important player within the group, while remaining Belgium’s strong home carrier and continuing to focus on our guests,” adds Christina Foerster, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

Eurowings Group CEO Thorsten Dirks is confident that this new teamwork structure under the umbrella of Eurowings Group is the right strategic step to meet future challenges. “The scattered European aviation landscape is beginning to consolidate – the new structure of Eurowings Group will make it possible for us to be at the helm of this development.”

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Our chief editor André Orban comments:

Alea jacta est! Brussels Airlines is definitively downgraded to the status of a low-cost airline. The honours for SWISS and Austrian Airlines (the “network airlines”, together with Lufthansa), the decline for Brussels Airlines, as if Brussels Airport might not be considered as a hub, as if Brussels Airlines has not an important hub in Brussels. Belgians are truly considered second-class citizens in the view of Lufthansa bosses. Because they don’t speak German?

In my view, this is the next step to the complete integration of Brussels Airlines into Eurowings, including the name. Not one word about a possible name change in the press release. The issue is too sensitive now, especially at a time when the Belgian Red Devils are scoring such nice results in the FIFA World Cup, contrarily to the German “Mannschaft” too filled with arrogance (perhaps like Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr who should understand that arrogance leads nowhere), the Austrians and the Swiss. But when the moment will be more favourable, just one diktat from Cologne and the name will be changed to Eurowings.

I notice the difference in wording: Brussels Airlines is a “centre of excellence” for the long-haul business, another word for “example”. But Eurowings is “responsible” for short-haul and keeps its “umbrella” over Brussels Airlines. That means Eurowings and only Eurowings will have the authority. Brussels Airlines might be considered as a model to follow for the intercontinental flights, but the orders will always come from Cologne.

The only positive point is that the unions seem to be satisfied: no operational job losses, and for the other jobs there will be a discussion with the unions, and anyway not before 2019.

Poor Brussels Airlines, poor Belgium…!

 

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