Brussels Airlines will not be consolidated into Eurowings after all. In fact, Lufthansa is scaling back Eurowings exclusively to shorthaul operations.
As I wrote about last week, the Lufthansa Group’s Eurowings division has been a loss-leader, weighing down the airline group as a whole. The airline floundered as Lufthansa sought to match IAG’s LEVEL and Air France’s (now-defunct) JOON with longhaul service. All that now changes.
This morning, Lufthansa announced it would discontinue all longhaul flights on Eurowings and that Brussels Airlines would remain an independent carrier. A “turnaround plan” will be introduced later this year for the Belgian carrier.
Eurowings shorthaul has performed relatively better for Lufthansa, earning a notable yield premium (€ per passenger) over other budget carriers like EasyJet, Ryanair, Lauda, and Wizz Air. This will be the focus going forward.
Tricky Moves On Labor
But that’s not all. Lufthansa will finally consolidate the still-separate Germanwings and Eurowings pilot base into a single entity, but plans an increase in both daily flight hours and days of duty. One way it will achieve this is through stricter home base scheduling, which Lufthansa hopes will reduce commute time and thereby increase actual operation time.
Ambitiously, Lufthansa wants to increase block hours per crew member from 530 today to 750 by 2022. To that I say good luck, especially since this “restructure” essentially gives Lufthansa the option of laying off a number of Eurowing employees. We have not heard any feedbacks from union yet.
There’s a celebration in Brussels today as Brussels Airlines has been spared. But Lufthansa’s ambitious plan to ask more from its workers lays the groundwork for a messy fight in the months to come.
> Read More: Lufthansa Cabin Crews Consider New Strike
(H/T: Wandering Aramean)