Lufthansa develops “Ocean” concept – Brussels Airlines to operate long-haul tourist route Frankfurt-Windhoek (Namibia)


Brussels Airlines A330 OO-SFB in Eurowings livery © DUS spotter

Lufthansa continues to position itself in order to regain competitivity once its financial future has been secured. It will increasingly focus on tourist routes and, therefore, Lufthansa has now founded a new company under the name “Ocean” that is to be used for precisely those holiday flights, by merging subsidiaries in order to save costs.

Lufthansa recently registered a new company based in Frankfurt under the name “Ocean“, as it confirmed after newspaper “Die Welt” had initially reported about it. However, Ocean is not a new subsidiary airline, but only a flight operation with an “Air Operator Certificate” (AOC) licence. You will never see any aircraft in a new “Ocean” livery in the future.

Lufthansa will focus more heavily on tourist destinations in the future, after business travel plummeted in the wake of the pandemic and its recovery is likely to be significantly less than for holiday flights.

Neda Jaafari, a spokesperson for Lufthansa, explained to Aviation24.be that since last year, Eurowings long-haul flights to tourist destinations have been successfully operated under the commercial responsibility of Lufthansa from Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf. The current fragmented operational units now comprise four AOCs (Eurowings, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings and SunExpress Germany) that will be combined to save further costs in the current critical situation.

Lufthansa will continue to pursue its strategic goal of expanding a long-haul tourist destination, which was started in 2019. It is currently preparing the application for the AOC, which will be the basis for the future long-haul tourism business.

This concept was already presented in 2019 with the screenshot hereunder retrieved from of a presentation that the Lufthansa Board held during Q3 of 2019, where they first mentioned this project:

With the implementation of a new AOC, it will significantly reduce the complexity of the development of the long-haul tourism business and thus create the basis for a new product line. The idea is to develop a new product line in the Quality Leisure segment. The product line will be based on the business model of Edelweiss, which has already been operating successfully with SWISS in Switzerland for many years.

Neda Jaafari continues: “We are currently marketing a long-haul product under the Eurowings brand, for which Lufthansa is commercially responsible for.  We have already started this in 2019 and the product will continue to be sold by Lufthansa and Eurowings. Ocean will not be a new brand, but an AOC operating licence.”

So far, within this construct, Lufthansa originally planned to resume the route Frankfurt- Windhoek this summer, which was already introduced last year. However, since the government of Namibia has not yet lifted the ban for international flights to/from Namibia, Lufthansa currently plans to resume the flight starting at the end of September. The flights will be operated by Brussels Airlines on behalf of Eurowings with an Airbus A330-300 based in Düsseldorf.

This means that just like last year, the passenger will experience a Eurowings product on board and Lufthansa products on the ground: For example dropping their bags off at the Lufthansa counter and using the Lufthansa app. Further destinations, including the aircraft which will operate these routes, etc. will be announced with the 2020/21 Winter schedule.

About the involvement of Brussels Airlines in the Ocean concept, Wencke Lemmes-Pireaux, spokesperson for Brussels Airlines, told Aviation24.be that “There is no link with our network or leisure offer from Brussels and this project, therefore, has no impact on our operations. The only link with Brussels Airlines is the fact that we act as a wet-lease operator for tourist flights of Lufthansa from Germany“.

André Orban: M. Sc. Engineering
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