The developing low-cost activities of Lufthansa in the long-haul market from Cologne will continue from spring 2016 with the introduction of a new link to Fort Lauderdale in Florida, USA, subject to regulatory approval. The airline’s Eurowings business is seeking a foreign air carrier permit and exemption authority from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to commence flights on the transatlantic city pair “on or about” March 27, 2016 for the summer 2016 schedules.
The new’ Eurowings was established last year to support the continued restructuring of Lufthansa’s network activities. It is initially sitting alongside Germanwings under the Lufthansa Group umbrella and its reinvention will also see it take over much of the short-haul function of its sister carrier and this winter will see it launch long-haul flying from Cologne / Bonn Airport under the ‘Wings’ long-haul, low-cost concept developed by the Lufthansa Executive Board.
The airline relaunched under a revised 'New Eurowings' brand earlier this year in partnership with SunExpress Deutschland, which has been supplying cockpit and cabin crews. It is currently headquartered at Düsseldorf will is expected to move its administrative functions to Cologne before the end of this year.
Its long-haul network for winter 2015/2016 already covers flights from Cologne to seven destinations, all popular leisure markets from Germany. These comprise links to Varadero (twice weekly from November 2, 2015), Puerto Plata (weekly from November 7, 2015), Punta Cana (three times weekly from November 7, 2015 using a TUIfly Boeing 767), Cancun (twice weekly from November 8, 2015 also using a TUIfly 767), Dubai (three times weekly from December 17, 2015), Phuket (twice weekly December 18, 2015) and Bangkok (twice weekly from December 20, 2015).
The latter route to the Thai capital was originally scheduled to be flown to the city’s Don Mueang Airport but in the past couple of weeks has been switched to serving Suvarnabhumi International Airport instead.
Eurowings will initially operate its long-haul routes using two 310-seat Airbus A330 widebodies, and will grow to a fleet of seven aircraft. It will introduce two more A330s in summer 2016, followed by a further two aircraft in the subsequent winter period. The last of its seven aircraft will arrive during the summer of 2017, and all will be leased from GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS).
“We see strong demand for low-cost, long-haul travel in the coming years,” said Karl Ulrich Garnadt, chief executive of Lufthansa. "Our new Eurowings strategy is to strengthen our position in point-to-point traffic."
The proposed Eurowings link to Fort Lauderdale will be the first service from Cologne to Hollywood International Airport and only the second direct scheduled link from Germany alongside the seasonal offering of Condor from Frankfurt. Norwegian also links Fort Lauderdale to Europe with flights from Copenhagen, London, Oslo and Stockholm.
“Eurowings requests expedited approval of this application so that marketing and sale of the proposed services can begin without delay,” it said in its formal request to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for a foreign air carrier certificate and route authorisation.
Our analysis of Sabre Airport Data Intelligence demand statistics shows that an estimated 412,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Europe and Fort Lauderdale in 2014, thanks in a big part to the introduction of direct flights from Norwegian in late 2013.
Germany is currently the fifth largest market between Europe and Fort Lauderdale and the largest market without a year-round service. Just under 50,000 passengers flew between Germany and Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport last year.