- Growth in 2018: +30 aircraft, +70,000 flights, +8 million passengers
- New BIZclass for long-haul routes premieres at the ITB travel fair
- Record-breaking expansion at Düsseldorf airport: 40 planes at one airport
- Consistent digitalisation: further development of eurowings.com, high-speed onboard internet access and a social media hit
- Thorsten Dirks: “We are currently handling the largest growth that German air traffic has ever experienced.”
Thirty additional planes, 70,000 more flights and eight million additional passengers: in 2018, Eurowings is still Europe’s fastest-growing airline. “At Eurowings, we are currently handling the largest growth that German air traffic has ever experienced,” says Thorsten Dirks, Member of the Lufthansa Group Executive Board and CEO of Eurowings. No other German airline has put so many planes into operation in such a short period of time.
Dirks emphasises how important it is that this growth also be profitable: “Last year, we didn’t just grow by 77 percent. We also reached profitability one year earlier than projected.”
Eurowings is also growing at record rates when it comes to staff. Including the successful integration of Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW), Eurowings has hired 2,000 new crew members in just a few months. And staffing levels in other areas are also being increased to manage the leap in growth to becoming the third-largest low-cost airline in Europe. “In a very short period of time, we hired almost 90 percent of the crew members that we need for our fleet expansion in the current year. Growing at this speed is very stressful, but also inspiring,” says Dirks.
After opening a series of stations in Vienna, Munich, Salzburg and Palma, Eurowings is facing its next big growth spurt in the upcoming 2018 summer flight schedule. The low-cost airline of Lufthansa Group will be offering its customers more than 11,500 additional flights compared to the beginning of the 2017/18 winter flight schedule – an increase of 60 percent. Eurowings is expanding services at all its stations (see table below), in some cases with growth rates of 100 percent or more. The airline has already become the leading carrier at four German airports: in Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart and Hamburg.
The biggest Eurowings station in Düsseldorf will become an important cornerstone of the growth strategy in 2018, not just for short and medium haul routes, but increasingly also for affordable direct connections on long-haul routes. Soon, the Eurowings fleet will be expanding to 40 aircraft at the airport of the North Rhine-Westphalian capital alone, with an accompanying massive increase in the range of flights offered to customers. Roughly 7,500 monthly flights in Düsseldorf, along with a large number of new destinations, including Copenhagen, Stuttgart and Sylt. The long-haul routes offered from the Düsseldorf airport are also being expanded significantly. To begin with, three long-haul jets will be deployed on attractive routes as of April 2018, predominantly to the US: to Fort Myers and Miami, and to the global metropolis of New York City.
Eurowings will be offering its newly developed BIZclass for the first time on these flights. The first full Business Class of a low-cost airline will premiere this week at the ITB in Berlin, the world’s largest travel fair. Highlights include a comfortable seat that becomes a 2-meter bed at the touch of a button. By the end of the year, Eurowings Group will focus its intercontinental operations in Düsseldorf, with seven long-haul jets and 140 monthly long-haul flights taking off for attractive long-distance destinations in North America and the Caribbean. Eurowings long-haul jets will also be taking off from Munich as of Summer 2018. Three Airbus A330 aircraft will be serving predominantly Caribbean destinations such as Cuba (Varadero), Jamaica (Montego Bay) and the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana). “The strong growth in the long-haul sector emphasizes our goal of maintaining and expanding our pioneering role in low-cost long-haul,” says Dirks. The significantly expanded long-haul fleet will help make this a reality. Factoring in the Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines, which has been part of Eurowings Group since 2017, some 20 long-haul jets will be operational by the end of the year.
Millions invested in digitalisation
In addition to the expansion of flight operations, Eurowings is currently making massive investments in the digitalisation of its product portfolio. The company is already placing the first visible accents of a consistent digitalisation strategy this year. For instance, the website eurowings.com – already one of Germany’s largest online portals with a sales volume of over a billion euros – is currently undergoing further development with investments totalling millions of euros. Unlike other low-cost airlines, Eurowings also offers high-speed onboard internet access on its jets. The technology that makes browsing above the clouds possible is already installed in 30 aeroplanes and is scheduled to roll out to the entire Eurowings fleet by the end of the year. During the introductory phase, every passenger will receive ten minutes of free internet access.
Another highlight in terms of customer focus and digitalisation: “Vote & Fly”, a digital poll on Facebook that customers used to determine a new flight destination in the Eurowings network for the first time in late 2017. The social media hit with the winning destination Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) attracted 7.5 million users from all over Europe in just one week. The second round of the successful “Vote & Fly” concept will start this week at the ITB in Berlin.
The digitalisation campaign will not only shape what Eurowings offers its customers, but also the company itself. Eurowings CEO Thorsten Dirks: “In five years, Eurowings will not be an airline in the traditional sense anymore. It will be a digital enterprise with affiliated flight operations”.
Growth of Eurowings Group in Summer 2018
|Location||Additional monthly flights compared to the 2017 winter flight schedule|
|Düsseldorf||+2,500 flights /+50%|
|Salzburg||+300 flights /+110%|
|Palma (Majorca)||+2,100 flights/+400%|