Flight turbulence

Eurowings cuts back as TUIfly expands

Eurowings will close down its Munich base later this year.
Flughafen München GmbH
Eurowings will close down its Munich base later this year.

Eurowings will close its Munich base next winter as part of a major cost reduction programme while TUIfly looks set to expand operations this summer.

The Lufthansa budget airline is currently refocusing on its original core business of non-hub flights under a wide-ranging cost reduction programme designed to get it into profit.

One measure will be the closure of the Munich base, where six A320s are stationed, from the start of the winter 2020/21 schedule, a spokesman confirmed. However, he emphasised: "No flights will be cancelled, they will just be spread differently within the Lufthansa Group."

Instead, Eurowings will concentrate its operations at its main bases of Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart in future.

Incoming CEO Jens Bischoff, who joins in March from Sun Express, has been tasked with reducing the loss-making airline's operating costs by 15% and costs in the head office, where about 1,000 people work, by a third.

Meanwhile, TUI Germany chief Marek Andryszak wants four planes that currently operate for Eurowings to return to the TUIfly fleet to expand capacity for this summer. At present, seven of TUIfly's 39 B737 jets operate for the Lufthansa budget airline under a long-term contract.

But Andryszak told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in an interview: "We want to use up to four more planes at TUIfly this summer. For that, we've cancelled part of the Eurowings contact and will get the planes back earlier." TUI also hopes to receive the first of its B737 Max planes in the second half of the summer, he said.

TUI aims to win up to 500,000 additional customers this summer following the insolvency of Thomas Cook. "I'm very confident that we will reach our target. The current bookings are pointing this way," Andryszak said. "If last-minute sales are good in the summer, it could even be more."