Eurowings announced it would start cooperating with Smartwings in Prague Airport despite the fact that Eurowings is owned by Lufthansa of Star Alliance and Smartwings owns Czech Airlines of SkyTeam. However, their deal does not come as much of a surprise.
Eurowings will codeshare with Smartwings
Last week, on Sunday 31st October, Eurowings launched its newest base in Prague Airport, the capital of the Czech Republic.
Germany’s low-cost airline, a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, traditionally cooperates with Star Alliance airlines on its flights across Europe. For example, it has codeshare agreements in place with Lufthansa on some of its routes to Dusseldorf, Munich, and Frankfurt. It also codeshares with Austrian Airlines on selected flights to Vienna.
Notably, Eurowings’ Prague base will see the Lufthansa Group airline cooperate with a competitor, Smartwings. Eurowings and Smartwings announced earlier this week that they would soon launch a wide-ranging codeshare agreement to bolster each other’s networks out of Prague.
Smartwings is a Czech airline with a base in Prague. It is also the parent airline for CSA Czech Airlines, the flag carrier of the Czech Republic, which is a member of SkyTeam.
A deal celebrated by both sides
Celebrating the signing of the cooperation agreement, Eurowings’ CEO, Jens Bischof, said:
“We are delighted about the codeshare agreement with our partner Smartwings that will strengthen our position at our new Prague base. By operating from a highly attractive European city, we want to offer even more business and leisure travelers attractive non-stop connections throughout Europe.”
Meanwhile, Roman Vik, Board member and CEO of Smartwings, said:
“Our long-term priority is to expand the range of destinations, and, thanks to a new partnership with Eurowings, we will be able to offer convenient connections to a wide portfolio of destinations to our customers.”
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Should this cooperation come as a surprise?
Eurowings’ cooperation with Smartwings is somewhat unusual because Eurowings does not even have codeshare agreements with Star Alliance airlines that are otherwise partnered with the Lufthansa Group.
For example, almost the entire network of international destinations served by Croatia’s flag carrier, Croatia Airlines, consists of airports that are Lufthansa Group’s European hubs. Croatia Airlines flies to Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels, Vienna, and Zurich from several Croatian airports, and Eurowings flies from Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Berlin, and Hanover to several airports in Croatia.
Despite a large overlap between the route networks of Croatia Airlines and Eurowings between Croatia and Germany, the two do not cooperate or codeshare at all. In fact, they even compete on some routes like Dusseldorf-Split and Berlin-Split.
This makes Eurowings’ decision to enter a cooperation agreement with Smartwings in Prague interesting. However, it is not entirely surprising.
Eurowings’ network out of Prague is mostly to markets that are not Lufthansa Group markets. For example, this includes flights between Prague and Tenerife as well as Prague and Birmingham. Thus, the two airlines accurately estimate that they stand to gain more from cooperating than competing.
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