Eurowings Drops Uneconomical London To Berlin Route

German low-cost airline Eurowings will drop its London Heathrow to Berlin Tegel route on 27 October. The airline currently offers twice-daily flights between Heathrow and Berlin Tegel, but they have been deemed uneconomical as the airline looks to cut its losses.

A Eurowings Airbus A320
Eurowings faces stiff competition in the world of European low-cost airlines. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

German aviation news site reported on Friday that Eurowings will be dropping its London Heathrow to Berlin Tegel flights due to a lack of cost-effectiveness. Effective 27 October, the 1 hour 55 minute, twice-daily flights will cease operation.

Eurowings will still offer flights to and from Berlin Tegel, but they will be indirect from other German destinations. The move comes as Eurowings’ parent company Lufthansa looks to cut back on loss-making routes.

Eurowings, in particular, is a source of concern among Lufthansa’s subsidiary brands. Across the first half of 2019, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines earned €565 million. In the same period, Eurowings lost €273 million, dragging down group profits considerably. A Eurowings spokesman told Simple Flying that,

Passengers affected will be informed in advance about possible alternatives and rebooked to Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart airport free of charge.”

Why is Eurowings performing badly?

As a low-cost carrier operating in Europe, Eurowings has some tough competition. Ireland- and UK-based Ryanair and easyJet are the premier concern when it comes to Eurowings’ low-cost competition.

Ryanair jets at Stansted
Ryanair offers fares from as little as €10. Photo: Paolo Margari via Flickr

Earlier in the year, Lufthansa CFO, Ulrik Svensson made particular reference to the competition Eurowings faces from Ryanair and easyJet in an interview with Reuters, saying,

“We are expecting that we will indeed have a very tough price-competitive situation with these carriers for the rest of the year and maybe also into 2020.”

When it comes to low European fares, they don’t get much lower than Ryanair. This means that if Eurowings wants to compete on the same level, there’s not much they can do to differentiate themselves from a price perspective.

Additionally, Ryanair operates its flights with a much higher average passenger load factor. In January, Ryanair was operating at 91%, whilst Lufthansa Group was at 76.4%. High passenger loads are one of the ways the ultra-low-cost model becomes profitable, and if Eurowings aren’t filling their seats, losses are inevitable.

Bad news for frequent London-Berlin travellers?

London-Berlin is a popular European route, so Eurowings’ decision to axe it from their line up may seem odd, even if you take the airline’s cash flow issues into account. Eurowings’ low-cost rivals, Ryanair and easyJet, also offer cheap flights to Berlin, but they’re not from Heathrow.

Eurowings A330s
Eurowings is looking to cut losses. Photo: Eurowings

Instead, London-Berlin travellers have to venture far outside the M25 to Gatwick, Stansted or even Luton to catch a low-cost flight.

But the Heathrow-Berlin route is still extensively covered by British Airways. BA will be operating up to eight flights per day from London Heathrow to Berlin in November. For inner-London travellers, BA will also be flying four times per day from London City Airport.

While the cancellation of Eurowings’ London Heathrow to Berlin Tegel flights represent a loss of choice for travellers, there are still a number of other alternatives to get you from L to B.