Germanwings To Discontinue Operations

The Lufthansa Group has just announced that Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued. This announcement came as the Group launched its first restructuring package due to the current coronavirus crisis. Let’s investigate further.

Germanwings is disappearing. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

Why is Germanwings gone?

As previously reported, Lufthansa Group was analyzing if it was viable to keep the operations of its wholly-owned airline, Germanwings.

Germanwings had a fleet of 15 Airbus A320 family aircraft and operated under the bigger Eurowings brand. During the past few years, Germanwings flew only some of Eurowing’s short-haul flights.

Sadly for the subsidiary, it couldn’t resist the current crisis that coronavirus is having on the entire aviation industry. The Lufthansa Group also announced that it will reduce the long-haul business of Eurowings.

The company said,

“In addition, the implementation of Eurowings objective of bundling flight operations into only one unit, which was defined before the crisis, will now be accelerated. Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued.”

Eurowings Dash 8-400
Lufthansa Group is also reducing Eurowings’ operations. Photo: Getty Images

Lufthansa was keen to offload Germanwings

The coronavirus was the final nail in the coffin for Germanwings. Since 2012, the Lufthansa Group had been mulling the idea of mixing Germanwings into Eurowings under only one brand.

Lufthansa Group actually did it in January 2015. Since that year, Germanwings hasn’t operated any own flights. Instead, it flew for Eurowings under a wet-lease contract.

Eurowings is a separate entity in the Lufthansa Group. It was made up of Eurowings, Germanwings, Eurowings Europe, and Brussels Airlines.

As of February 2020, Eurowings’ fleet was made up of 11 Airbus A330-200/300, four A321-200, 56 A320-200, 51 A319-100, and 15 Bombardier DH8-Q400.

But, as a part of the restructuring package of Lufthansa Group, Eurowings will reduce the number of its aircraft for the short-haul segment. Long gone are the days when Lufthansa believed that Eurowings would be profitable in 2021.

Germanwings started flying in 2002. It had an accident in 2015, in the French Alps. Photo: SEBASTIEN MORTIER via Wikimedia.

Germanwings stops flying after 17 years

Once upon a time, when Eurowings was an independent airline, it created a low-cost carrier, back in 1997. Then, in October 2002, it rebranded it as Germanwings.

In 2008, Lufthansa acquired Germanwings. The objective was to have a “better steer” in the regional operation and low-cost divisions. At that time, Germanwings had a fleet of 25 Airbus A319. In 2007, it transported up to eight million passengers.

Then, in March 2015, there was the flight 9525 accident. An Airbus A320-211, registration D-AIPX, on a route between Barcelona and Düsseldorf, crashed into the French Alps leaving 150 passengers and crew dead.

The investigation determined that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, deliberately caused the accident by locking himself in the cockpit and impacting a mountainside. This accident led to several changes worldwide.

After that, Lufthansa announced the final fusion of Germanwings into Eurowings.

In 2019, the Lufthansa Group carried 28.1 million passengers with Eurowings (including Germanwings) and Brussels Airlines. This meant a 1.4% decrease from the previous year. Nevertheless, Eurowings had a seat load factor of 82.6% during this year, which was 1.2 percentage points higher than in the previous year.

Which other subsidiaries of big airlines could disappear due to the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know in the comments.