Lufthansa Group is expanding its North American focus during the summer 2020 flight schedule, as well as a service from Munich to Bengaluru (Bangalore) in India.
The new routes will be split between German flag-carrier Lufthansa and Eurowings.
The decision to open new Eurowings transatlantic routes seemingly contradicts a decision made in June to exit its long-haul business and focus on short-haul only.
From 6 April 2020, Eurowings will fly twice a week from Munich to Las Vegas, the host of Routes Americas 2017, followed by a three-weekly service between Munich and Orlando the next day.
A five times per week service between Frankfurt and Phoenix will open on 29 April, while on 1 June the carrier will open a Frankfurt - Anchorage route, operating on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
All of the Eurowings services will be operated on Airbus A330 aircraft with up to 270 seats.
Eurowings will already be present at Frankfurt for the 2019-20 winter schedule that goes into effect in late October, offering flights to the holiday islands of Barbados and Mauritius as well as to Las Vegas and Windhoek. From Munich, Eurowings has been offering long-haul connections to selected tourist destinations since summer 2018.
In addition to the Eurowings expansion, Lufthansa will launch flights between Munich and Detroit on 4 May, operating five times per week, and a six-weekly Munich - Seattle route on 1 June.
As of 31 March 2020, Lufthansa will also fly from Munich to the Indian metropolis of Bengaluru five times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The flag carrier currently operates two services to India from Munich, flying daily to Delhi and Mumbai.
The three new Lufthansa routes to Detroit, Seattle and Bengaluru will be served with Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
“Lufthansa Group is significantly increasing its commitment at the Munich hub and continuing its expansion to a hub for Asia with the addition of Bangalore,” said Harry Hohmeister, the group’s chief commercial officer of network airlines.
“At the same time, Lufthansa Group is one of Europe’s largest providers of holiday travel. Demand in this area in particular is rising sharply. We will therefore be expanding our long-haul program from Munich and Frankfurt in cooperation with Eurowings in addition to the offers that have already been planned for fall 2019.”
In June, a financial presentation by Thorsten Dirks, chief executive of Eurowings, indicated that the airline would exit the long-haul market and focus on European short-haul point-to-point operations as part of a strategy to return to profit “as swiftly as possible”.
However, it now appears that Eurowings will continue long-haul flights but the commercial responsibility and flight planning of the LCC’s flights are being transferred to the group’s network management.
Eurowings launched its first long-haul routes from Cologne/Bonn in November 2015, then operated by SunExpress Germany. In April 2018 it opened its first long-haul route from Munich and in winter 2018-19 switched its long-haul operations from Cologne/Bonn to Düsseldorf to fill a gap left by Air Berlin.
In March 2019, the carrier announced plans to move a large part of its long-haul network to Frankfurt from Düsseldorf for the winter 2019-20 schedule.
According to OAG Schedules Analyser, Eurowings’ capacity in summer 2019 season will be 23.1 million available seats, down by 4 percent compared with summer 2018. Overall capacity for the year will be flat at about 36.7 million seats.
In late July, Lufthansa Group posted a €116m loss for the first half of 2019, compared with a €713m net profit a year ago. Group revenues rose by 4 percent to €9.6bn
The group said it enjoyed “a continuing strong performance” in its long-haul business in the first half of 2019, particularly on its key North American and Asian routes.
However, on short-haul routes in Europe, the price war in Germany and Austria in particular had a negative impact on earnings.