The yet-to-be-named subsidiary, which is part of the Wings concept, would operate up to seven Airbus A330-300s. It will begin operations in fall 2015 with three aircraft in Munich, Düsseldorf or Cologne to take advantage of above-average growth in the leisure travel segment and round out the Lufthansa Group of airlines’ current route networks.
..Lufthansa is building on a new strategy to expand its LCC platform, Wings, which could include Germanwings, Eurowings and the new long-haul LCC returning to A320 operations to focus on direct point-to-point flights within Europe.
I’ve never seen a wholly owned low cost carrier subsidiary that has actually worked, outside of Asia Pacific. (Think TED, MetroJet, Continental Lite.)
In fairness, Jetstar (Qantas), FlyDubai (Government of Dubai launched, not technically part of Emirates Group), and Scoot (Singapore) do reasonably well enough.
But i’m not sure the Middle East or Asia Pacific experience is generalizable to Europe (or the U.S.) considering the speed at which Asian markets have been growing.
I don’t view this play as a long-term plan to grow out a low cost carrier within the larger airline. It’s just as likely a way to reduce labor costs for the entire organization.
Air France has been enduring strikes because they’re directly trying to negotiate givebacks from labor. That doesn’t play well in France, or in many of the countries in which Lufthansa operates. But if you essentially build out an operation where the existing employees get to keep their wages and perks, while new employees (initially at the separate low cost carrier) get paid less, the theory goes that over time you can reduce your labor cost. Once your lower paid workers outnumber your older more expensive ones though you probably get friction, but they’re starting off from a lower base.
My read is that this is a long-term labor play for the whole enterprise, even if the operations they build out get swallowed up by one of their larger operations eventually. In that way it’s a different beast from Jetstar and FlyDubai.
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