Last year, Lufthansa announced its intentions to launch a long-haul leisure brand, known as ‘Ocean.’ It planned to commence operations with 11 aircraft, serving some of Eurowings’ far-flung leisure destinations. However, the German flag carrier has now rebranded the startup as ‘Eurowings Discover.’
Waving goodbye to Ocean
Earlier in the week, airliners.de and aero.de reported that Lufthansa would be rebranding its planned leisure subsidiary, Ocean. Rather than going ahead with the planned title, it will now operate under the name Eurowings Discover.
Lufthansa plans for its new subsidiary to directly compete with established German charter airline Condor Flugdienst on long-haul routes out of Frankfurt. It will initially utilize three Airbus A330 aircraft, with operations planned to commence this summer. Going forward, it also hopes to launch Eurowings Discover routes from Munich. The IATA code for the airline will be ‘4Y.’
However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is demanding increased adaptability from airlines, particularly new startups. As such, Lufthansa spokesperson Helmut Tolksdorf told aero.de it will:
“… adapt [its routes] according to demand. (…) The pandemic continues to make demand planning difficult and requires great flexibility.”
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What we know about the startup
Simple Flying first reported on Lufthansa’s proposed Ocean subsidiary last July. At this stage, it was expecting to commence operations in 2022, taking over some of Eurowings’ longer-haul services. It intended to operate a similar business model to Edelweiss, which is SWISS’s leisure-focussed sister company. Of its 11 planned aircraft, four were to be based in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, with the remaining three in Munich.
However, in September, it was reported that Ocean might commence operations in 2021, a year ahead of schedule. At this time, it also emerged that the airline would also be targeting short-haul leisure destinations. Lufthansa announced that it would be recruiting around 300 employees for Ocean (now Eurowings Discover) internally. However, this has been criticized by the pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit. It claims that these crew members will effectively be reapplying for their own jobs, but on inferior terms.
Job security across the Lufthansa group
One might think that now is not the best time to be starting a new subsidiary airline. However, Lufthansa and some of its partner airlines have ensured increased short-term job security. For example, last month, it managed to secure 5,000 pilot jobs until at least March 2022. This was after it agreed with the pilots’ union over cost-cutting measures.
Earlier this month, a union vote also protected flight attendants at its regional subsidiary Lufthansa Cityline. This deal will prevent its cabin crew from being dismissed until at least December 2021. A similar deal also saw around 2,000 Eurowings flight attendants and ground staff protected from layoffs until at least March 2022.
In each case, it remains to be seen whether the protection will be extended beyond these initial dates. Nonetheless, the situation at the Lufthansa Group appears to be more promising than many airlines worldwide. As such, this is perhaps the ideal time for it to be launching its new Eurowings Discover brand after all.
What are your thoughts on Lufthansa’s new long-haul leisure subsidiary, Eurowings Discover? Let us know in the comments!