The low-cost airline of the Lufthansa Group for long-haul flights should no longer be Eurowings from next year, but a completely new brand. This should mean the end of the most expensive adventure for the group.
When Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr launched low-cost Eurowings in 2014, he wanted it to also fly long-haul, although many people were sceptical. The adventure will be short-lived: Lufthansa is planning a new group brand for its low-cost intercontinental routes.
The new name for flights to destinations in the Caribbean or the US, which are still operated under the low-cost Eurowings brand, is due to be introduced in 2020. The name has not yet been decided, but it will not be an exotic name like the defunct Joon of the Air France-KLM Group.
The operational responsibility for the long-haul flights is since October gradually handed over from Eurowings to the parent company. Responsibility is thus transferred from Thorsten Dirks, Group Chief Executive Officer responsible for Eurowings, to Harry Hohmeister, who already manages the business for the premium brands Lufthansa or Swiss.
At the same time, the majority of long-haul flights will no longer be operated from Düsseldorf, but rather from the two main airports of the Group, Frankfurt and Munich. The model is the Swiss holiday brand Edelweiss, which cooperates in a similar way with SWISS in Zurich. The conversion runs under the project name Purple Moon, but is also internally called “Edelwings” – in allusion to the Swiss sister and the higher standards compared to Eurowings.
The reason for the change is the continuing losses made on intercontinental leisure routes. Eurowings never earned money on these routes, unlike short-haul flights. Instead, it lost up to two million euros per plane per year. That would mean a loss of up to 20 million a year.
The earnings problem on the cheap long-haul flights has apparently improved since the Lufthansa started to sell the flights worldwide. According to insiders, the tickets were sold on average much higher prices than before under Eurowings.
Since some of the current Eurowings long-haul flights are operated by Brussels Airlines (in addition to the flights operated by SunExpress), it is not yet clear how the proposed launch will affect the Belgian airline.