Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof yesterday revealed confidence in the carrier’s planned expansion into Europe. The traditionally German-focused airline is in the process of becoming pan-European, with the announcement of bases in Salzburg, Vienna, Pristina, and Mallorca.
Transforming from Germanwings, Eurowings has become the Lufthansa Group’s predominately leisure carrier. However, the airline is now moving to focus even more on leisure flights. This will include holidaymakers and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travelers. However, the airline also wants to maintain a “nice chunk of business routes”, in which it sees value going forwards.
A pan-European airline
Traditionally, Eurowings has been seen as a predominately German airline. However, it wants to spread its wings, capitalizing on the “Euro” part of its name. Speaking at a CAPA Live keynote earlier today, Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof commented,
“I think we were quite successful defending our home turf against our beloved competitors. On the other side, we already have a presence in the rest of Europe, and we will grow that.
“We opened up more bases, like in Salzburg and Vienna, in Pristina, and also in Palma de Mallorca. And now we’re going more and more Pan-European, and adding more bases to these.”
Eurowings first revealed that it would be entering the UK leisure market in early March. The airline will operate flights to Manchester and Birmingham from its new Palma de Mallorca hub, targeting UK leisure travelers. The airline saw a considerable surge in Germans booking Mallorca flights after being removed from the German travel risk area list.
Better than Ryanair?
Bischof mentioned some of the extreme measures that had been taken to rightsize the airline with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures included halving the fleet from 150 and reducing the size of its staff. As such, He now believes that Eurowings is on par with competitors such as easyJet.
However, touching on Ryanair, he said,
“We cannot do it cheaper than Ryanair, there’s no doubt. But we can do it better.”
Bischof went on to clarify what his comments referred to. He said that Eurowings is better positioned to adapt to its customers’ needs, such as “more air to breathe in an aircraft” with health remaining the top priority. During the pandemic, Eurowings launched a product that saw passengers able to purchase an empty middle seat for just $12.
However, while Eurowings can’t go as cheap as Ryanair, its CEO did suggest that things aren’t bad for the leisure-focused carrier. He revealed that his airline is currently on par with competitors such as easyJet, but went on to add,
“We might be a little bit more expensive, but our revenue position is also quite a bit better than a Ryanair, and that reflects in our profitability once we come out of this situation of Corona.”
What do you make of Eurowings’ pan-European ambitions? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!