The German airline group, which has recently hit the headlines for the comments made by its CEO Carsten Spohr – from harsh words directed towards low-cost carriers in Europe, to grim business predictions about the future of long-haul travel, has announced its traffic numbers for August 2019, including a detailed report about the recently repositioned low-cost subsidiary, Eurowings.

Overall, the group enjoyed a successful month, as its airlines carried 14.1 million passengers, an increase of 2.9% compared to August 2018. Capacity and yields increased by 1.8% and 2.7% respectively, even if the total number of flights increased by only 0.9%. In total, the Lufthansa group operated 106,794 flights during the month.

Europe proved to be the strongest market, as the airline carried more than 7.8 million passengers in the region, an increase of 3.8% compared to August 2018. Zurich Airport (ZRH) was the fastest-growing hub in Lufthansa’s network, transferring 7% more passengers compared to last year. However, the main fortress of the group, Frankfurt International Airport (FRA), saw 0.9% lower passenger numbers, even with an increased (0.3%) capacity.

Eurowings strengthens positions

Lufthansa, amidst rising pressure from the continent‘s low-cost carriers, repositioned its low-cost subsidiary Eurowings to fight the falling passenger numbers on the group‘s short-haul routes, especially in Germany. And in August 2019, the carrier has further moved towards the goal of focusing only on flights within Europe.

With a reduced number of flights (-0.5%) and overall capacity (-3.5%), Eurowings is mainly axing its long-haul routes and moving them to the network airlines (Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss). This is evident by the fact that even while the general flight and capacity numbers are down, Eurowings managed to increase passenger numbers (2.8%), capacity (1.5%), revenue (3.5%) and load-factor (1.7%) on short-haul routes, according to the fact sheet. In total, the low-cost carrier saw 3.5 million passengers on short-haul flights and 309,000 passengers on intercontinental flights – the former increased by 2.8%, while the latter decreased by 8.1%.

While the struggle to regain positions against the “irresponsible” airlines from the British Isles will drag out, as neither easyJet nor Ryanair will want to give up their strong positions in Germany, especially Berlin, where both LCCs established a firm hold of the market share, Eurowings is showing positive signs.

The airline is still in second place by market share, accounting for 10% of total international capacity, but both Ryanair and easyJet are not far behind, with 8.7% and 5% respectively. Nevertheless, Eurowings is showing promising signs, as it saw increasing revenue seat-kilometers go up by 3.5%, compared to August 2018, on intra-European routes.

Lufthansa also announced new Eurowings long-haul routes during the month of August 2019 starting from Summer 2020. Eurowings will offer new destinations to the United States and India with “a fresh, modern, innovative on-board product from Eurowings – supported by Lufthansa’s marketing and sales power”.

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Lufthansa Group has announced new routes to North America and India. In the announcement, surprisingly, the group announced that Eurowings will extend its long-haul network and will serve new destinations together with Lufthansa.