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RFG-AIRPORT COLOGNE BONN
GERMANWINGS (RFG) WAS ESTABLISHED AND STARTED OPERATIONS IN 2002. REGIONAL, SCHEDULED & CHARTER, PASSENGER & CARGO, JET AIRPLANE SERVICES.
TERMINAL STR 1
51147 COLOGNE/BONN, GERMANY
Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) was established in 1949, it covers an area of 356,945 sq km, its population is 85 million, its capital city is Berlin, and its official language is German.
October 2002: In December 2002, GermanWings (RFG) Cologne to Istanbul.
5 A319-112's (646; 654; 794; 1016; 1172) all operate for GermanWings. 1 A320-211 (382, D-AIQR), Lufthansa (DLH) leased, for GermanWings operations.
November 2002: 2nd A320, Lufthansa (DLH) leased, for GermanWings (RFG) operations.
January 2003: In March 2003, GermanWings (RFG) to expand with Cologne/Bonn to Athens, Lisbon, Bologna/Izmir/Pisa, Prague, and Venice. Also, Berlin (Tegel) to London (Stansted) (STN). In April 2003, Cologne/Bonn to Thessaloniki (3x-weekly).
2 A320-211's (071, D-AIPC; 072, D-AIPD), Lufthansa (DLH) leased.
April 2003: In May 2003, GermanWings (RFG), Cologne-Bonn to Budapest (daily).
May 2003: GermanWings (RFG), Cologne-Bonn to Budapest. In June 2003, Cologne-Bonn to Athens (4x-weekly) (its 21st destination), after receiving another A320 for a fleet of 7. Daily block hours will rise from 11x- to 14x- per airplane during the summer season.
July 2003: 1,750 employees. SITA: DTMMRZEW.
Cologne/Bonn to Ibiza (3x-weekly) til September 2003.
A320-211 (147, D-AIPX), Lufthansa (DLH) leased for GermanWings (RFG) operations.
August 2003: Lufthansa (DLH)'s regional partner Eurowings (RFG) has its backing for its low-cost subsidiary (RFG) to counterattack the growing challenge of other low-cost carriers, particularly Ryanair (RYR) and EasyJet (EZY), on its own turf. They do not feel threatened by Air Berlin (BER), Deutsche BA (DBA), Hapag Lloyd (HAP) Express (HLX), or Germania (GER) Express. (DLH) is also dribbling onto the market, special low fares for early bookers on its own domestic and cross-border services. (RFG) will start operating from Stuttgart head-on with (HAP)/(HLX).
(RFG) in September 2003, Stuttgart to Prague, Barcelona, Vienna, Budapest, Thessaloniki, Lisbon, and Istanbul. Has 6 A319's and 4 A320's. Stuttgart to Rome (FCP) (4x-weekly). In October 2003, Colgne/Bonn to Malaga (3x-weekly). Cologne/Bonn to Istanbul (SAW).
September 2003: In October 2003, Stuttgart to Berlin Schoenefeld (2x-daily). Stuttgart to Madrid (daily). Switches Venice service from Marco Polo to Treviso.
2002 = +$5 million (+5 million): 2.37 billion (RPK) traffic (+10.6%); 3.8 million passengers (PAX) (+6.9%).
TOP WORLD AIRLINES TRAFFIC (RPK) (Billion):
158 (JAA) 2.45; 159 (HORIZON) 2.44; 160 (SHG) 2.41; 161 (ROS) 2.38; 162 (RFG) 2.37; 163 (CHAUTAUQUA) 2.33; 164 (KLM) (CITYHOPPER) 2.28; 165 (MCU) 2.26; 166 (ALS) 2.25; 167 (GBA) 2.24.
October 2003: Switches its service from Cologne/Bonn to Berlin (from Tegel to Schonefeld). In March 2004, Munich to Riga (CRJ).
November 2003: In January 2004, Munich to Lille (2x-daily).
3 CL-600-2B19's (7862, D-ACRI; 7864, D-ACRJ; 7866, D-ACRK), deliveries.
December 2003: In February 2004, GermanWings (RFG), Cologne/Bonn to Dublin (4x-weekly). In March 2004, Cologne-Bonn to Munich, Palma de Mallorca (daily), Dublin, Faro, Warsaw, Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm. Serves 22 destinations throughout Europe.
January 2004: 2002 = +$5.33 million (+$6.33 million). Broke even in 2003 and expects to be profitable in 2004, thanks to its GermanWings (RFG) operation.
(RFG) carried >2.5 million in 2003, compared to an expected 2 million.
2 CL-600-2B19's (7901, D-ACRK; 7902, D-ACRL), deliveries.
2003 = 2,92 billion (RPK) traffic (+40.8%); 4.84 million passengers (PAX) (+50.2%).
February 2004: GermanWings (RFG), Cologne/Bonn to Edinburgh (5x-weekly).
In March 2004, 2 A319's (DLH) leased for (RFG) operations. Extended leases with B Ae Systems for 1 B Ae 146-200 and 4 B Ae 146-300's.
March 2004: Bmibaby (BMA) coordinates marketing and sales efforts with GermanWings (RFG), who are discussing similar agreement with (SAS) Snowflake and (LOT) Polish Airlines.
Cologne/Bonn toO London Gatwick (2x-daily).
A319-114 (651, D-AILI), Lufthansa (DLH) leased.
May 2004: In June 2004, Cologne/Bonn to Krakow/Zagreb (3x-weekly). In July 2004, Cologne/Bonn to Split (3x-weekly).
June 2004: Continues to develop its network in central Europe and is studying destinations in Russia as well. Flights to Moscow (with a preference for Domodedovo Airport) and St Petersburg are the focus for summer 2005.
With 9 A319's & 4 A320's, carries 350,000 passengers/month and projects 4 million passengers (PAX) (2.4 million passengers (PAX)) this 2004 year.
737-4Y0, SunExpress (SNS) short-term wet-leased. +3 A319-114's (636, D-AILF; 689, D-AILL; 860, D-AILX), (DLH) leased. 2 ATR 42-512's (549; 603) leased to Contactair.
July 2004: A319-114 (860, D-AILX), (DLH) wet-leased. A320-211 (147, D-AIPX) returned to Lufthansa (DLH).
August 2004: In October 2004, Stuttgart to Palma de Mallorca (2/week). In November 2004, GermanWings (RFG), the low-cost subsidiary of Eurowings (EWG), will add 7 new destinations: Hamburg, Dresden, London Stansted, Madrid, Warsaw, Krakow, & Zagreb, from its hub in Stuttgart. With the additions, it will offer flights to 15 cities from Stuttgart. As a result, it will double its Stuttgart-based fleet to 4 A319's.
AustriaWings and SwissWings could be new brands to be developed by GermanWings (RFG) should it decide to open bases in Austria and/or Switzerland, possibly in cooperation with Star Alliance (SAL) members, stated Andreas Bierworth.
Now has 4 A320's based at Stuttgart.
October 2004: 2 717-2CM's (55059, EC-HNY; 55060, EC-HNZ), AeBal (BST) 5 months wet-leased. (RFG) will evaluate how this airplane type fits into its network and if the operating costs of the 717 make it easier to open new markets compared to the A319's/A320's it currently operates. Will operate Cologne/Bonn to Athens, Berlin (SXF), Edinburgh, Lisbon, London Gatwick, Nice, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Stockholm, Thessaloniki, and Zurich. The 717's will be evaluated by (RFG) as a possible replacement for the B AE 146's of parent Eurowings.
November 2004: Stuttgart to Palma de Mallorca. In May 2005, Cologne/Bonn to Verona (4x-weekly). In 2005, to Birmingham, Catania, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, & Toulouse.
A319-114 (700, D-AILN), Lufthansa (DLH) wet-leased. 3 orders A320, ex-(VBD), (ILF) leased.
December 2004: New low-cost (LOT) Polish subsidiary, PolishWings, capitilized at EUR 1 million/$1.33 million, will launch February 2005, with fleet of 5 737 Classics that will fly from Warsaw and Katowice (where it will go head-to-head with Wizz Air (WZZ)), with the focus on serving cities in Eastern Europe. It will also take over (LOT)'s charter operations and will form a joint venture with GermanWings (RFG), linking up with its bases at Cologne & Stuttgart.
(LOT) decides later to call its low-cost subsidiary CentralWings and initial flights to be in 2/05, Krakow & Warsaw to London Gatwick (737-300/737-400, (LOT) wet-leased).
(RFG) is focusing on Berlin Schoenefeld instead of Cologne or Stuttgart, for its 3rd hub.
Projects 3.5 million passengers (+25%) for 2004, with 80% LF load factor. In 2005, expects 4.5 million to 6 million passengers.
A320-212 (645, D-AKNZ), (ILF) leased.
January 2005: 2004 = +EUR 245 million/+$333.2 million (+60%): 3.5 million passengers (PAX) (+46%).
17 A319's/A320's to 30 destinations from Cologne & 16 destinations from Stuttgart.
9 orders A319's ex-US Airways (USA), leased.
February 2005: In July 2005, Stuttgart to Izmir (3x-weekly).
A320-212 (579), (ILF) leased.
March 2005: Will set up its 3rd base at Berlin Schoenefeld and initially will base 2 airplanes at this airport. In June 2005, Berlin to Ankara, Istanbul, Moscow, Split, Stockholmm, & Zagreb.
A319-114 (738, D-AILT), Lufthansa (DLH) wet-leased.
April 2005: GermanWings (RFG) is a regional low-fare airline based at Cologne/Bobb airport flying jet airplanes to >35 European destinations and to 16 destinations from Stuttgart.
(IATA) Code: 4U. (ICAO) Code: GWI (Callsign - GERMANWINGS).
Parent organization/shareholders: Dr Albrecht Knauf (50.02%); Lufthansa (DLH) (49%); & others (0.08%).
Alliances: CentralWings (CWG).
Main Base: Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer airport (CGN).
Hubs: Stuttgart airport (STR).
Domestic, Scheduled Destinations: Berlin; Cologne; Dresden; Hamburg; Munich; & Stuttgart.
International, Scheduled Destinations: Barcelona; Bolgna; Budapest; Dublin; Edinburgh; Helsinki; Krakow; Lisbon; London; Madrid; Malagna; Milan; Oslo; Palma de Mallorca; Paris; Prague; Rome; Sabiha Gokcen; Thessaloniki; Vienna; Warsaw; Zagreb; & Zurich.
May 2005: 2004 Eurowings and its subsidiary GermanWings (RFG) after-tax = +EUR 6.4 million/+$8.1 million (+EUR 900,000): +23% (RPK) traffic; 3.5 million passengers (2.4 million).
+6 orders B Ae 146's for total 14. A319-112 (1209, D-AKNR), (GEF) leased.
June 2005: To grow its schedule from recently opened hub at Berlin Schoenefeld, basing a 5th A319/A320 there and adding flights to Prague & Warsaw. Will increase service to Oslo, Stockholm & Zagreb.
2 year contract to Aviapartner to provide ramp-handling services at Munich.
Paris Air Show, 18/12 orders (February 2006) A319's, 156 passengers. 2 Canadair RJ-200ER's (7478, D-ACRM; 7629, D-ACRQ), transferred from Air Dolomiti.
July 2005: Cologne to Moscow Vnukovo (3x-weekly).
August 2005: In winter, will open a new base at Hamburg and base 2 A319's/A320's there and offer services to London Gatwick, Stockholm, Oslo, Krakow, Warsaw, Zagreb, Munich, Toulouse, and Istanbul. This will be the 4th base after Cologne/Bonn, Berlin Schoenefeld, & Stuttgart.
A319-112 (1209, D-AKNR), (GEF) leased.
September 2005: Germanwings (RFG) will add new routes from its Stuttgart base to Dusseldorf, Milan Malpensa, Paris (CDG), Bologna, Verona and Prague as well as a 3rd daily frequency to Hamburg on October 30, bringing to 24 the number of destinations it serves from the airport. It currently bases 5 A319s at Stuttgart and said it will add a sixth and use the fleet more efficiently, making the service additions possible and making it the biggest carrier at the airport.
2 A319-112's (1077, D-AKNK; 1277, D-AKNS), (GEF) leased.
October 2005: Germanwings (RFG) is planning to start service on the following new routes for the 2006 summer season: Berlin Schoenefeld to Ibiza; Cologne to Alicante; Cologne to Antalya; Cologne to Gdansk; Cologne to Gothenburg; Cologne to Heraklion; Cologne to Jerez; Hamburg to Izmir; Stuttgart to Antalya.
A319-112 (1084, D-AKNL), (GEF) leased.
December 2005: Germanwings (RFG) will increase its Stuttgart to Prague frequencies to 4x-weekly from next summer. It also will offer more flights from Cologne to Heraklion and Palma.
Germanwings (RFG) confirmed its June commitment for 18 A319s plus 12 options, signing a contract yesterday that will more than double the size of its fleet. (RFG) already operates 19 A319s and 3 A320s. The new single-class, 156-seat airplanes will be powered by (IAE) (V2500)s in an engine deal worth more than $500 million, according to Pratt & Whitney (PRW). "The new A319s will ensure that we can continue our success that we enjoyed in the (LCC) market since October 2002," (RFG) Management Board Chairman Joachim Klein said. Airbus (EDS) said there are >430 A320 family airplanes in service with (LCC)s world wide with a further 500 on order.
2 A319-112's (2628, D-AKNU; 2632, D-AKNV), deliveries.
January 2006: Germanwings (RFG) said turnover rose +60% in 2005 to around €400 million/$480 million. It transported 5.5 million passengers, up +57%. Load factor reached 83% LF. The number of employees grew from 459 to 704. For 2006, the carrier expects a +36% increase in passengers to more than 7.5 million. Turnover is expected to exceed €570 million.
(RFG) will add a 3rd daily frequency on its Cologne to London Stansted route from March 26.
February 2006: Germanwings (RFG) signed a supply contract for 18 new A319 airplanes, following a letter of intent (LOI) issued in June last year. The airplanes will be assembled in Hamburg and some will be operated on the newly launched route between Hamburg and Fuhlsbuttel.
(RFG) will give up its routes from Cologne/Bonn to Birmingham on March 24 and from Stuttgart to Milan Malpensa on April 14.
March 2006: Thales (THL) wins Germanwings (RFG) avionics contract.
Germanwings (RFG) will inaugurate nonstop service from Hamburg to Bologna on April 29th. The airline will operate 3 flights a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, using an A319.
April 2006: Germanwings (RFG) will operate seasonal summer service between Cologne and Pristina (Montenegro) from June 11th through October 27th and operate 1 flight a week on Sundays using an A319. (RFG) will operate seasonal summer service between Cologne and Tirana (Albania) from June 24th through September 23rd and operate 1 flight a week departing Cologne on Saturdays and Tirana on Sundays and using an A319.
May 2006: Germanwings (RFG) will inaugurate seasonal summer nonstop service from Cologne to Basia on June 20th and operate 2 flights a week, on Tuesdays & Saturdays, using an A319. (RFG) will launch thrice-weekly Cologne - Belgrade service from September 2.
June 2006: Germanwings (RFG) will inaugurate nonstop service from Cologne to Belgrade on September 2nd. (RFG) will operate 3 flights a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Saturdays, using an A319. (RFG) will start a thrice-weekly Hamburg - Moscow Vnukovo service from October 31. (RFG) now flies to Moscow from Cologne/Bonn, Berlin Schoenefeld and Stuttgart.
July 2006: Germany's leading carriers, in an effort to strengthen their lobbying position with political and economic institutions, have transformed the old Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Luftfahrtunternehmen into the Bundesverband der Deutschen Fluggesellschaften (BDF). The new association includes Air Berlin (BER), Condor Airlines (CDF), dba (DBA), Eurowings/Germanwings (RFG), Germania (GER), Hamburg International (HAU), Hapagfly (HAP), (LTU) German Airlines, and Lufthansa (DLH). The carriers operate more than 500 airplanes, employ approximately 100,000 and serve nearly 100 million passengers annually. (BER) CEO, Joachim Hunold was named (BDF) president.
(RFG) said it will expand its Cologne Bonn (CGN) hub and base another six airplanes there by 2009. (RFG), which took delivery of the first of 18 new A319s Friday, plans to increase passenger numbers at (CGN) in the next three years by more than 1 million per year to 4.6 million. It will use the new capacity to boost frequencies and add new destinations; it is evaluating cites in France, Israel and North Africa. A second A319 will be delivered in the next few days and the airline will have 14 airplanes based at (CGN) during the summer schedule.
(RFG) will base a third A319 at Berlin Schoenefeld from September 15, and start a double-daily service to Zweibruecken. It also will increase frequencies to Munich to five per day.
(RFG) said June passengers increased +31.1% year-over-year to 630,000 and load factor rose +2.6 points to 83.4% LF.
2 A319-132's (2813, D-AGWA; 2833, D-AGWB), deliveries.
August 2006: Germanwings (RFG) is adding a number of routes in the coming months as follows:
Cologne - Belgrade = 3x week from September 2;
Berlin - Zweibrucken = 2x day from September 15;
Hamburg - Moscow = 3x week from October 31;
Berlin - St Petersburg = 2x week from November 2.
All flights will operate with A319.
(RFG) will discontinue service from Berlin Schoenefeld to Oslo at the end of October.
(RFG) will add a fourth daily Cologne - Berlin Schoenefeld flight on October 30.
(RFG) will increase its presence at each of its four bases for the 2007 summer schedule. (RFG) will base an additional airplane in Stuttgart and launch services to Ankara, Athens, Ibiza, Korfu, Lamezia Terme and Malta. Cologne Bonn will see two A319s/A320s added, with new routes to Corfu, Lamezia Terme, Malta, Mykonos and Rhodes. From Berlin Schoenefeld, it will add Mykonos, and from Hamburg, it will open routes to Corfu and Split. (RFG) also will boost frequencies on existing routes from all bases.
Lufthansa (DLH) Systems announced that Eurowings (EWG), and (RFG) will equip their cockpits with the Lido Route Manual electronic charting system.
(RFG) named Thomas Winkelmann, Managing Director effective September 1. He formerly was VP The Americas for Lufthansa (DLH).
September 2006: Germanwings (RFG) based a third A319 at Berlin Schoenefeld on September 15.
October 2006: Germanwings (RFG) will increase Cologne - Munich weekday service from four to five flights daily from November 6. Weekend service will remain at 2 flights on Saturdays and 3 on Sundays using a mix of A319s and A320s.
(RFG) increased the frequency on its Cologne to London Stansted route and operates 3 flights on weekdays and 2 on weekends using A319s.
(RFG) is increasing service into Moscow for the winter schedule and flights are operated into Vnukovo Airport using A319s as follows from, starting in November:
Berlin (SXF), on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays;
Cologne, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays;
Hamburg, on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays;
Stuttgart, on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.
November 2006: Germanwings (RFG) updated its fleet delivery schedule, saying it will add five new A319s next year, and seven A320 family airplanes in 2007. It currently operates 24 A320 family airplanes. It projects it will carry 10 million passengers in 2008.
December 2006: Germanwings (RFG) has a dozen new routes planned for the coming summer as follows:
Berlin (SXF) to Bourgas, starting May 20, 1x a week;
Berlin (SXF) to Lake Balaton's Sarmellek Intertnational Airport, starting July 06, 2x a week;
Berlin (SXF) to Varna, starting May 19, 3x a week;
Cologne to Alghero, starting March 25, 3x a week;
Cologne to Bourgas, starting May 22, 1x a week;
Cologne to Bucharest, starting March 25, 3x a week;
Cologne to Kavala, starting March 25, 2x a week;
Cologne to Sarajevo, starting March 25, 3x a week;
Cologne to Sofia, starting March 27, 3x a week;
Cologne to Varna, starting May 19, 1x a week;
Cologne to Zadar, starting March 31, 1x a week;
Hamburg to Palma, starting March 25, 4x a week;
Stuttgart to Bastia, starting March 25, 1x a week.
January 2007: Germanwings (RFG) Managing Director, Thomas Winkelmann said (RFG) is expecting to increase its turnover this year by +15% compared to 2006 based on an expected load factor of 82% LF and more than >8 million passengers. "We plan to grow profitably in 2007. We will add three more A320s to our fleet, new destinations and will present new innovations in the first quarter of this year," he said.
2 A319-132s (2976, D-AGWC; 3011, D-AGWD), deliveries.
February 2007: Germanwings (RFG) said its 2006 revenues rose +39% year-over-year to €560 million/$727.4 million and passenger numbers climbed +31% to 7.1 million. (RFG) currently operates 24 airplanes and plans to add five A319s this year.
A319-112 (1016, D-AKNI), in "Hamburg Shopper" livery - see photo.
March 2007: Germanwings (RFG) will open a base in Dortmund (DTM), its fifth. It will base an A319 at (DTM) from June 29, and operate flights to Vienna, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen, Palma, Ibiza and Faro.
April 2007: Germanwings will start twice-weekly Cologne - Sarmellek/FlyBalaton service on June 18.
May 2007: A319-132 (3128, D-AGWE), delivery.
June 2007: Germanwings (RFG) will open its fifth base on June 22 in Dortmund with a single A319, that will serve Vienna, Istanbul Ataturk, Palma, Ibiza and Faro. A second A319 will be transferred to the airport for the coming winter schedule. CEO, Thomas Winkelmann said that the carrier is growing "organically" and is on its way to becoming an important player in Europe's crowded Low Cost Carrier (LCC) market. A sixth German base is expected to come on line next year. Germanwings (RFG) currently operates 27 A319s/A320s. "Our last three A320s will leave the fleet soon, and we will have a 42-strong A319 fleet by 2009," Winkelman said. Last year, the airline transported 7.1 million passengers, a figure he expects to rise to 12 million in 2009. Currently 35% fly domestically, but it is looking toward Central and Eastern Europe for future growth. "We offer 21 destinations in Eastern Europe and we see a lot more opportunities there, for example in the Balkan area," he said.
July 2007: 2 A319-132s (3172, D-AGWF; 3193, D-AGWG), deliveries.
August 2007: Germanwings (RFG) transported 783,433 passengers in July, up +19.2% on the year-ago month. Load factor dipped -0.3 point to 84.8% LF.
November 2007: Lufthansa Passenger Airlines (DLH), LH Cargo (LUB), and Germanwings (RFG) need about +420 additional pilots (FC) next year to meet growing demand, including 315 pilots (FC) for the passenger segment alone, and the company is formulating a new training concept to help fill the ranks. Approximately 4,500 pilots (FC) currently fly for the three carriers. "Our subsidiary, Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT) trained around 220 new pilots (FC) in the last two years at its pilot school in Bremen. For additional expansion, we are looking for an additional 200 pilots (FC) on the free market," VP Training Standards & Crewtraining, Werner Maas said. (DLH) doubled its order for student pilots in Bremen from 120 cadets in 2004 and 2005, to nearly 300 this year. "This figure should grow up to 360 by the end of 2008. Since late 2005, we are seeing an enormous growth in pilot training," Maas said. To enhance that growth, a special training concept for new students called "Progresso" will debut in January. The scenario includes updated programs such as (ICAO)'s Multi-Crew Pilot License. Progresso also strives for more efficiency, putting 27 to 30 cadets in each class and reducing training time by six weeks to 22 months. "Progresso not only meets new training standards, but our pilots (FC) learn in a more realistic environment," VP (LFT) Pilot School, Nils Ecke said. After 12 months of ground school in Bremen, and four months of flight training in Arizona (Beech Bonanzas and Frasca FNPTs), cadets return to Bremen and continue training on Cessna Citation CJ1+ jets. "The first of four light training jets will be in service by the end of 2008, and with the new program and the new plane, we will bring our cadets closer to real jet flying," Ecke explained. Lufthansa (DLH) has seen a good response so far. "By the end of September, (DLH) had 5,000 applications for ab initio training. They all fulfill the basic qualifications to become a Lufthansa (DLH) cadet," Maas said, adding that the figure is expected to grow to 6,000 by year end.
December 2007: Germanwings (RFG) will begin twice-weekly flights from Cologne to Keflavik and Osijek next summer. (RFG) will operate new flights from Cologne to Pula (twice-weekly), Riga (thrice-weekly), and Bordeaux during its summer schedule.
January 2008: German travel conglomerate TUI (TUG) announced that it signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Lufthansa (DLH) to combine their Low Cost Carrier (LCC) subsidiaries under one "joint and independent holding company." TUI (TUG) owns TUIfly, the combination of Hapag-Lloyd Flug (HAP) and Hapag-Lloyd Express (HLX), while Lufthansa (DLH) partners with Germanwings (RFG) and Eurowings (EWG), along with Albrecht Knauf Industriebeteiligung. The latter also signed the (MOU), TUI (TUG) said. "Agence France Presse" said a mid-2009 timeframe for finalization is TUI (TUG)'s target. No other details were released, and TUI (TUG) said a binding agreement will depend on "a due diligence process and negotiations of the specific details," as well as the approval of antitrust authorities. The combination is likely designed to counter the growing domestic influence of airberlin (BER), which has expanded with the acquisitions of (LTU) and dba (DBA).
(RFG) said 2007 turnover rose +12.7% year-over-year to €630 million/$919 million on a +12.5% increase in passengers to approximately 8 million.
(RFG) will launch twice-weekly flights to Krakow from Cologne and Stuttgart on April 1.
2 A319-132s (3352, D-AGWH; 3358, D-AGWI), deliveries. A320-212 (525), returned to (ILF), leased to Rossiya (SDM). CRJ-700 (10039, D-ACSC), delivery, ex-(G-DUOC) and leased to Maersk (MSK).
February 2008: Germanwings (RFG) and TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) are not expected to conclude negotiations to merge their Low Cost Carrier (LCC) operations by the time the boards of (RFG) parent, Lufthansa (DLH) and travel conglomerate TUI (TUG) meet in mid-March, delaying the prospective combination. German magazine "Focus" reported that the talks will not conclude before summer, and that antitrust approval could take an additional four months. TUI (TUG) had hoped to launch (RFG)/(HAP)/(HLX) operations in time for the 2009 summer schedule.
Meanwhile, (HAP)/(HLX) said that it will trim its winter 2008 to 2009 schedule by axing seven destinations, reducing its network to 50 gateways and 730 weekly flights.
A319-132 (3375, D-AGWJ), delivery.
March 2008: Germanwings (RFG) will increase the number of employees from the current 1,087 to 1,300 during 2008, Managing Director, Thomas Winkelmann said at the (ITB) convention in Berlin. Some +200 new employees will be needed as cabin (CA) and cockpit (FC) crew, as the A319/A320 fleet increases from 28 to 31 this year. He said the carrier was profitable in 2007, but declined to provide figures. Turnover rose +12.7% to €630 million/$957.7 million and passengers increased +12.5% to 8 million. Last year's load factor was 82% LF.
(RFG) will launch thrice-weekly flights from Cologne to Marseille and Cluj on May 8.
For discussion of possible merger between (RFG), Eurofly (EUY), and TUIFly (HAP)/(HLX) - SEE ATTACHED "(RFG) PLANS-2008-03."
A319-132 (3500, D-AGWK), delivery.
May 2008: Clickair (CLK) and Germanwings (RFG) announced an Internet marketing partnership, under which they will make select flights between Spain and Germany available on each other's websites. Effective immediately, (CLK) customers will be redirected to (RFG)'s site, if they wish to fly to Stuttgart or Cologne Bonn from Barcelona, while (RFG) customers will have access to (CLK) flights to Barcelona from Frankfurt, Berlin Tegel, and Munich.
A319-132 (3534, D-AGWL), delivery.
June 2008: TUI Travel (TUG) signed an agreement with AerCap Holdings (DEA) and Deucalion Aviation Funds for the sale and leaseback of 19 owned airplanes within the (TUG) fleet for $526 million. The airplanes will be acquired through a 50/50 joint venture between (DEA) and Deucalion and will be managed by (DEA), which will receive servicing fees. (TUG) will continue to operate the 11 737-800s, six 757-200s and two 767-300ERs on 1 to 7-year operating leases with TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX), Thomsonfly (TFY), TUIfly Nordic (TNS) and Jet4You (J4U). (TUG) will use the proceeds to reduce debt and said the deal had no impact on its discussions with Lufthansa (DLH) regarding a potential merger of Germanwings (RFG) and (HAP)/(HLX), "on which we intend to update the market in due course."
July 2008: Germanwings (RFG) will phase out four of its 29 A319s by November 1. "We don't want to make the mistake of expanding at any cost. The business of our industry has changed, especially the high fuel prices. We have to be profitable. That's why we have to reduce our fleet," Managing Director, Thomas Winkelmann said. It was not clear whether any destinations will be removed from the network or if there will be any employee reductions.
August 2008: Thomas Cook (JMA), Lufthansa (DLH) and TUI (TUG) subsidiary, TUI Travel are in "early discussions" regarding a merger of their subsidiary carriers Condor Airlines (CDF), Germanwings (RFG), and TUIFly Deutschland (HAP)/(HLX), (JMA) announced. "No commercial terms have been agreed. There is no certainty that any transaction will result and a further announcement will be made if and when appropriate," the company said. (DLH) owns 24.9 % of Condor (CDF), with the remainder held by (JMA). Last month, AirBerlin (BER) pulled out of a deal to acquire (CDF) in a share swap. (DLH) and TUI (TUG) signed a merger Memo of Understanding (MOU) in January.
October 2008: AirBerlin (BER) confirmed that it is discussing a possible merger with TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX), whose effort to combine with Condor (CDF) and Germanwings (RFG) was scuttled, when (CDF) parent, Thomas Cook (JMA) withdrew last month. "There are talks, but no results," a (BER) spokesperson told "Bloomberg News."
November 2008: Airline Industry Consultants will manage a Cologne call center for Germanwings (RFG) beginning December 1.
December 2008: Lufthansa (DLH) will purchase Germanwings (RFG) from Eurowings (EWG), in which (DLH) already holds a 49% stake, according to a statement cited by the "Associated Press." "(EWG) can now concentrate more on its core business," CEO, Friedrich-Wilhelm Weitholz said. Transfer is expected to occur January 1. (RFG) posted revenue of €630 million/$801 million last year.
February 2009: The Thomas Cook Group announced that it plans to acquire Lufthansa (DLH)'s 24.9% stake in its Condor Airlines (CDF) subsidiary for €77.2 million/$99.9 million under options granted in 2007. (CDF) transported just under 7 million passengers last year but suffered a -10% year-over-year decline in January, a source close to the airline said. Thomas Cook (JMA) pulled out of negotiations to combine (CDF), TUI Travel (TUG)'s TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) and (DLH)'s Germanwings (RFG).
March 2009: Germanwings (RFG) transported 432,072 passengers in February, down -10.4% year-over-year. Load factor fell -3.8 points to 74.7% LF.
(RFG) will launch thrice-weekly, Cologne - Kiev Boryspil flights on May 16. (RFG) announced an expanded network for its summer schedule. The new routes, intended to cater to leisure passengers, include Cologne - Kos (weekly) and Cologne - Kiev (thrice-weekly). From Stuttgart, it will operate weekly flights to Heraklion, Reykjavik, Rostock/Laage and Sarajevo, and from Berlin Schoenefeld to Bastia, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zadar and Kavala.
6 A319-132s (646; 651; 654; 794; 1016; 1172) leased to Lufthansa Italia (LHI). 2 A319-132s (3839, D-AGWM; 3841, D-AGWN), deliveries.
April 2009: Germanwings (RFG) flew 506,266 passengers in March, down -13.1% year-over-year. Load factor dropped -6.3 points to 76.9% LF as capacity was cut -9%.
June 2009: Lufthansa (DLH) Systems announced that Germanwings (RFG) signed a five-year agreement for the use of its Lido Operations Center flight planning solution.
July 2009: Germanwings (RFG) transported 662,103 passengers in June, a -9.4% drop year-over-year. Load factor rose +0.1 point to 81.3% LF.
August 2009: Germanwings (RFG) announced that it plans to add new destinations from its Cologne/Bonn base for the summer 2010 season. Copenhagen, Madrid, Milan Malpensa, and Santorin are on the list. (RFG) also plans to base more A320s in Cologne.
September 2009: Germanwings (RFG) transported 732,851 passengers in August, down -6.9% year-over-year. Load factor rose +0.4 point to 87.3% LF.
November 2009: Germanwings (RFG) carried 666,891 passengers in October, a -6.3% decline year-over-year, while load factor dropped -2.1 points to 79.3% LF.
Lufthansa Systems won a five-year contract extension with Germanwings (RFG) to continue to provide its Lido RouteManual navigation charts and will begin providing its electronic version, Lido eRouteManual.
December 2009: Germanwings (RFG) transported 501,687 passengers in November, down -1.3% year-over-year. Load factor fell -5.8 points to 70.5% LF.
January 2010: Germanwings (RFG) transported 531,411 passengers in December, up +8.2% year-over-year. Load factor fell -2.1 points to 76% LF.
(RFG) will open its sixth German base in Hanover (HAN) on April 29. German media reported that up to three A319s will operate approximately 70 weekly flights from (HAN) to 15 European destinations. (RFG) expects to carry more than >500,000 passengers from (HAN) this year and more than >750,000 in 2011.
(RFG) said it will increase capacity (ASK)s by "double-digits" this year and will add four new A319s to its fleet. By year end, (RFG) will operate 30 A319s/A320s. It said it will focus on growing business traffic this year with initiatives that might appeal to travelers looking for cheaper tickets and travel solutions. (RFG) expects to transport more than >8 million passengers in 2010; it carried 6.3 million in the first 11 months of 2009. It operates bases at Cologne, Stuttgart, Berlin Schoenefeld, Hamburg, and Dortmund, and serves 65 destinations. Last month, (DLH) Chairman & (CEO), Wolfgang Mayrhuber said Germanwings (RFG) will grow independently and will not be used as a vehicle to cut costs across the (DLH) mainline's European network.
A319-132 (4166, G-AGWP), delivery.
February 2010: Germanwings (RFG) has announced several additional new routes for the summer timetable including a new base in Hanover:
Cologne/Bonn - Friedrichshafen: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on March 28;
Hanover - Barcelona: 4x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 30;
Hanover - Bastia: weekly seasonal A319-100 service starting on May 1;
Hanover - Budapest: 4x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 30;
Hanover - Dubrovnik: weekly seasonal A319-100 service starting on May 2;
Hanover - Heraklion: weekly seasonal A319-100 service starting on May 1;
Hanover - London Stansted: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on April 29;
Hanover - Milan Malpensa: 6x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 29;
Hanover - Moscow Vnukovo: 4x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 30;
Hanover - Palma de Mallorca: 4x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 29;
Hanover - Rome Fiumicino: 4x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 30;
Hanover - Split: 3x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 29;
Hanover - Stuttgart: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on April 29;
Hanover - Vienna: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on April 29;
Hanover - Zadar: weekly seasonal A319-100 service starting on May 1;
Hanover - Zagreb: 3x weekly A319-100 service starting on April 29.
It will however not resume its seasonal Cologne/Bonn - Skopje route next summer.
March 2010: Lufthansa (DLH)'s full-year result, which included an €8 million/$11 million operating loss by the Passenger Airline Group, was buoyed slightly by the +€93 million operating profit posted by its Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) subsidiary, the most successful carrier in the (DLH) stable.
(CSR)'s performance contrasted with the -€293.9 million operating loss at Austrian Airlines (AUL), a -€78 million deficit at bmi (BMA) and a +€24 million profit reported by Germanwings (RFG). The Lufthansa (DLH) mainline and affiliated regionals lost -€107 million. Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), 45% owned by Lufthansa (DLH), was not included in the company's full-year financials released last week.
(CSR)'s profit was down -68% from the year-ago surplus of +€291 million on a -14.3% decline in revenue to €2.77 billion. Passenger numbers rose +2.4% to 13.8 million, and load factor dipped -0.2 point to 80.1% LF. The airline said it "intends to improve earnings again in 2010. This is not solely to be achieved by further cost savings but also by higher revenue."
Austrian (AUL), which was merged into (DLH) in September, had a €31 million impact on the group's operating result. On its own, the negative (EBIT) was narrowed 5.8% from a -€312.1 million operating loss in 2008. Revenue dropped -20.3% to €1.96 billion and net loss reached -€324.9 million, improved from a -€429.5 million deficit in 2008. Passenger numbers were off 10.2% to 9.9 million, on a -11.2% cut in seat capacity. Load factor slipped -0.9 point to 74% LF. (AUL) intends to have positive cash flow this year and is targeting an operating profit in 2011.
Bmi (BMA)'s €78 million impact on (DLH)'s bottom line reflects its contribution since joining the group in July. Through the six months ended September 30, 2009, (BMA) reported an operating loss of -£111 million/-$168.7 million. (DLH) said (BMA)'s mainline fleet will be cut to 30 airplanes from 39, while bmibaby (BMI)'s will fall to 14 from 17. It said it "anticipates a further operating loss in 2010."
Finally, Germanwings's (RFG) operating profit of +€23.9 million marked a +300% improvement from the 2008 result. Revenue declined -7.6% to €580 million as (RFG) cut five A310s from its fleet. Passenger numbers decreased -6% to 7.2 million. It now operates 26 A319s.
2 A319-132s (4227, D-AGWQ; 4256, D-AGWR), deliveries.
April 2010: Germanwings (RFG) transported 532,169 passengers in March, up +5.1% year-over-year. Load factor fell -3.1 points to 73.8% LF.
A319-132 (4285, D-AGWR), delivery.
June 2010: Germanwings (RFG) transported 756,201 passengers in May, up +14.02% year-over-year. Load factor fell -3.8 points to 75.5% LF.
July 2010: Germanwings (RFG) carried 738,265 passengers in June, a +11.5% rise year-over-year, while load factor declined -6.7 points to 74.6% LF.
August 2010: Germanwings (RFG) transported 829,198 passengers in July, up +14.5% year-over-year. Load factor fell -2.9 points to 81.8% LF.
September 2010: Germanwings (RFG) transported 851,419 passengers in August, up +16.18% year-over-year as load factor fell -2.8 points to 84.5% LF.
Lufthansa (DLH) and Germanwings (RFG) plan to more closely cooperate early next year as (DLH) and its low-cost carrier (LCC) affiliate (RFG) start interlining. Also, (DLH) will open its frequent flyer program to (RFG) passengers, among other measures. (DLH) has been debating internally about what the right strategy for (RFG) should be. The affiliate was set up in 2002 with the unofficial target of reaching a fleet of about 100 airplanes within a few years in order to be able to compete more effectively with Ryanair (RYR) and Easyjet (EZY). But under the leadership of (DLH) CEO, Wolfgang Mayrhuber, who was appointed in mid-2003, (RFG)’s development slowed significantly.
(RFG) currently operates a fleet of 30 A319s, many of which are based at Cologne/Bonn Airport. In other markets, (RFG) is flying routes parallel with (DLH). Part of (DLH)’s senior management believes that
the group should grow (RFG) much more to take advantage of its cost base, which is estimated to be approximately -40% lower than (DLH)'s. However, the plans recently published indicate that Mayrhuber is
still not willing to free up more space for (RFG) within the Lufthansa group, but it can be used as a basis for future transfer of markets. Mayrhuber will retire early next year.
According to the agreement, (RFG) will be included in (DLH)’s frequent flyer program "Miles & More," but (RFG) will keep its own program, which is branded the “Boomerang Club.” (DLH) also plans to add the (RFG) network to its large corporate contracts. (RFG)
passengers that have a (DLH) "HON Circle" or "Senator (Gold)" status can use (DLH) business (C) and "Senator" lounges.
Internal critics say the initiative still does not go far enough. Instead, (DLH) should withdraw mainline flying from many non-hub markets and give up internal competition with (RFG). (DLH) Deputy (CEO), Christoph Franz, who will succeed Mayrhuber as CEO early next year, has not publicly commented on his plans yet, but he is understood to be more open to a more aggressive response to the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) threat.
(RFG) announced it is considering changes to several routes as a result of the country’s new “ecological tax” on air travelers. The (RFG) spokesman confirmed officials will meet at Maastricht to consider the feasibility of altering flights from Cologne/Bonn (CGN) to Maastricht–Aachen.
“First we have to look at the effects this new tax will have on our load factors. At this stage, it is too early to say if we will have to reduce some routes.” Maastricht Airport is about 30 km from the German/Dutch border and 100 km from (CGN). (RFG) will remain in (CGN) where it has a 40% market share of passengers. (CGN) said it estimates that 600,000 passengers may switch to airports in Belgium, France or the Netherlands owing to the tax.
Lufthansa (DLH)’s Supervisory Board has approved the acquisition of 40 Airbus (EDS) airplanes worth approximately US$4.3 billion. These airplanes are destined for Lufthansa (DLH), plus two of the Group’s subsidiary airlines: SWISS (CSR) and (RFG). The orders comprise: 20 A320 Family airplanes and three A330-300s for Lufthansa (DLH); four A320 Family airplanes and five A330-300s for SWISS (CSR); and eight A319s for Germanwings (RFG).
October 2010: Germanwings (RFG) transported 812,842 passengers in September, up +18.73% year-over-year as load factor fell -0.4 points to 82.4% LF.
December 2010: Germanwings (RFG) will launch twice-daily, Maastricht - Berlin Schoenefeld service on March 31 using an A319 and will operate weekly, Cologne - Tenerife between September 24 - October 29.
January 2011: Lufthansa (DLH) and its low-fare subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) are deepening their cooperation. The two airlines starts interlining on January 20. (RFG) will also become part of (DLH)’s corporate sales program, "Partner Plus." The two airlines started to move closer last year by launching their first code sharing services and said that more initiatives will follow.
Germanwings (RFG) was launched in 2002 as (DLH)’s countermeasure against strongly growing low-cost carriers (LCC)s EasyJet (EZY) and Ryanair (RYR). However, (RFG) never grew beyond a fleet of around 30 airplanes because former (DLH) CEO, Wolfgang Mayrhuber was not prepared to hand over more of the group’s European flying program to the subsidiary and pull out the mainline operation. (DLH)’s slow response to the low-cost challenge led to significant losses in its European non-hub network. One of the key issues that new (CEO), Christoph Franz and Carsten Spohr, who leads the (DLH) passenger airline division, have to address is how they can make that market segment profitable and what (RFG)’s future role will be.
March 2011: Despite a successful year in which it rebounded from a -€34 million 2009 loss to earn a +€1.1 billion/+$1.53 billion) net profit in 2010, Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO), Christoph Franz conceded that the performance of (DLH) Group subsidiary airlines was "mixed."
Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) posted 2010 operating income of +€298 million, more than triple a +€93 million operating profit in 2009, on a +24% rise in revenue to €3.46 billion. "The success of (CSR) is due largely to effective cost management, but also to strong demand and the upswing in intercontinental and freight business, as well as strong sales in the domestic Swiss market," (DLH) stated.
Austrian Airlines (AUL), however, incurred a -€66 million operating loss in 2010, narrowed from a -€230.9 million deficit in 2009, while British Midland (BMA) posted an operating loss of -€145 million in its first full year as a (DLH) group carrier. Franz said, "(AUL) and (BMA) are still working flat out at their restructuring."
(AUL) said its improved result is owing to a new market strategy in Europe, restructuring efforts and synergies in the (DLH) Group. (AUL) carried 10.9 million passengers last year, up +9.7% over 2009. Load factor rose +2.2 points to 76.8% LF. "We are moving in the right direction," (AUL) Executive Board Member & (CCO), Andreas Bierwirth said. "However, the restructuring of (AUL) is far from being completed. We have a great deal of work still left to do."
(AUL) has cut -1,000 jobs over the last year to reduce its number of employees to 6,000. "The productivity of every employee increased by +23% in terms of turnover," COO, Peter Malanik claimed.
Bierwirth said (AUL) needs to "sell more business class (C) tickets" and acknowledged its A320s and 737s have not yet reached (DLH) Group productivity standards. Asked if (AUL)'s new cost base can be compared to lower cost carriers (LCC)s such as Air Berlin (BER), he said, "We are starting to close the gap."
Meanwhile, (RFG)'s 2010 operating loss of -€39 million was reversed from an operating profit of +€23.9 million in 2009. (RFG)'s full-year revenue lifted +8.6% compared to 2009 to €630 million.
April 2011: Travelport said that Germanwings (RFG) implemented the Travelport ETDBase e-ticketing hosting service to store and manage electronic ticket data for online and interline e-ticketing. This "for the first time," gives (RFG) that ability to accept e-tickets plated by (DLH) and accredited travel agencies for (RFG) flights.
August 2011: GermanWings (RFG) will launch weekly, Hamburg - Pristina service on November 5.
September 2011: GermanWings (RFG) in summer 2012 will increase capacity by +40% from its bases in Cologne (CGN) and Stuttgart, as well launch new routes to Pristina from Dusseldorf, Munich, Hamburg, CGN (CGN), Frankfurt, Berlin-Schonefeld, and Hannover. (RFG) plans to add +10 million additional seats for the summer schedule 2012 compared to this year’s season.
December 2011: Next spring, Germanwings (RFG) is to launch service from Cologne to Tunis. (RFG) will launch Stuttgart service to London Heathrow (21X-weekly, February) and Manchester (5X-weekly, July).
January 2012: All five Lufthansa (DLH) Group airlines carried a total of 106.3 million passengers in 2011, a growth of+ 7.5% compared to the previous year. The group’s capacity (ASK)s grew by +9.8% overall in 2011, while traffic (RPK)s rose +7%. Average passenger load factor fell by -2.2% to 77.2% LF.
Passenger boardings were 65.5 million, up +11.1% compared to the previous year. Capacity rose by +11.8% in the full year, while sales were up +8.8%. Load factor was 77.2% LF, down -2.2% year-over-year.
Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) carried approximately 16.4 million passengers, up +8% compared to the year before, but load factor dropped slightly by -1.1% to 81.1% LF.
Loss-making Austrian Airlines (AUL) transported 11.3 million passengers, up +3.4% compared to 2010, but load factor fell -3% to 73.8% LF, mainly because it is operating larger airplanes.
British Midland International (BMA), which has been sold to British Airways (BAB) parent (IAG), transported 5.7 million passengers, -7.4% less compared to 2010. Load factor fell -4.6%, to 67.1% LF year-over-year.
Germanwings (RFG) carried 7.5 million passengers, -2.7% less than the year before. Load factor increased slightly by +1%.
Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) recorded a +5% growth in its tonne-kilometers transported in 2011 and carried 1.9 million tonnes of freight and mail. Capacity grew by +8.6% in the full year, while sales were up +6.5%, resulting in a load factor drop by -1.4% to 69.5% LF.
“The trend of decreasing sales that emerged in the autumn continued in the remaining months of the year,” (DLH) said. “Group-wide, it proved not possible to match the level of sales growth recorded at the beginning of the year.” In the light of this development and ongoing economic uncertainty, the Passenger Airline Group plans to achieve a +3% low-level growth in (ASK)s in the full-year 2012. This will be realized by using larger airplanes and introducing the new Europe cabin on (DLH) Passenger Airlines' European routes.
At Stuttgart, Lufthansa (DLH) and its Low Cost Carrier (LCC) subsidiary Germanwings (RFG) are revamping their offerings there. (RFG) will now handle all European routes, including the London Heathrow route currently flown by a (DLH)-branded regional partner. (RFG) will open some new routes (Venice, Catania, and Dubrovnik), while domestic routes will be served (larger markets by Lufthansa (DLH) and smaller ones by Germanwings (RFG) (and by both in the case of Berlin). In total, (RFG) will base 10 airplanes in Stuttgart this summer. Lufthansa (DLH), like AirFrance (AFA), is intent on revitalizing its shorthaul business, like this case, using Germanwings (RFG) as part of the solution. (DLH) views the new Stuttgart strategy as a template to use in other cities like Cologne and Hannover.
Germanwings (RFG) has announced new routes from its base in Cologne/Bonn and from Stuttgart where it is moving some of its capacity because its routes from Berlin Schönefeld to Bastia, Bucharest Baneasa, Dubrovnik, Istanbul Atatürk, Izmir, Moscow Vnukovo, Split, Stockholm Arlanda, Zadar, and Zagreb will be transferred to parent Lufthansa (DLH) on June 3. (DLH) and (RFG) will start cooperating much closer going forward and will offer more seamless connections between the two carriers. (RFG) is introducing the following new services:
Cologne/Bonn - Jerez de la Frontera: weekly A319-100 service starting on March 25;
Cologne/Bonn - Tunis: 2x weekly A319-100 service starting on March 30;
Stuttgart - Bilbao: 4x weekly A319-100 service starting on June 3 (replacing (DLH));
Stuttgart - Bremen: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on July 29 (replacing (DLH));
Stuttgart - Brussels National: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on June 3 (replacing (DLH));
Stuttgart - Catania: up to 3x weekly A319-100 service starting on March 27;
Stuttgart - Dubrovnik: weekly seasonal A319-100 service starting on April 7;
Stuttgart - London Heathrow: 3x daily A319-100 service starting on February 20 (replacing (DLH));
Stuttgart - Manchester: 5x weekly A319-100 service starting on July 29 (replacing (DLH));
Stuttgart - Milan Malpensa: 2x daily A319-100 service starting on September 16 (replacing (DLH));
Stuttgart - Venice Treviso: 3x weekly A319-100 service starting on March 26.
(RFG) has given up its Cologne/Bonn - Sofia route by the end of October. From Berlin, (RFG) will continue to serve Cologne/Bonn, Heraklion, Maastricht, Munich, Pristina, Pula, and Stuttgart after June 3. From Stuttgart, (DLH) will only serve domestic routes to Dusseldorf International, Frankfurt International, Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel, and Munich, and a seasonal weekend service to Palma de Mallorca following the transition.
A319-132 (4998, D-AGWS), delivery.
February 2012: Germanwings (RFG) will launch weekly, Cologne - Nador service March 30 instead of the previously announced May 25 launch date. The service will increase to 2X-weekly May 25. (RFG) will operate service to Rijeka from Cologne, Stuttgart and Berlin July 30 - September 6.
March 2012: Lufthansa’s (DLH) operating profit dropped by almost -20% to +€820 million/+$1.07 billion in 2011 and (DLH) expects to see profit shrink to a mid-three-digit million-euro figure this year. The group blamed aviation taxes and high fuel prices for the profit decline.
In addition, (DLH) announced a net loss of -€13 million/-$17 million for 2011 due to a larger-than-expected losses and disposal costs at British Midlands International (bmi) (BMA), which it is selling to British Airways (BAB) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG).
The (DLH) Group transported 100.6 million passengers last year, up +8% over 2010. “Some (DLH) Group airlines could not match the difficult environment,” (DLH) Chairman & (CEO), Christoph Franz said during a press conference in Frankfurt. Germanwings (RFG) was hit the most, and was particularly affected by Germany’s ecological tax. “Without being a member within the (DLH) Group, Germanwings (RFG) would not [have] survived the new tax,” he said, adding that 5.4% of (RFG)’s turnover is needed to cover the tax.
Franz said the new German and Austrian aviation tax cost the company €361 million and made up 14% of its overall costs. Fuel prices increased +25% to €5.8 billion. The (DLH) Group’s operative margin is down -1.3% to 3.4%.
“The financial profile of our company remains stable but we need better results to secure the future of Lufthansa (DLH),” Franz said, adding that “ticket prices have to become more expensive.”
(DLH)’s latest cost-reduction program, "Climb" has created -€1 billion in savings over three years. (DLH) plans to cut costs by -€1.5 billion by the end of 2014, sell loss-making (BMA) and inject +€140 million of fresh equity into Austrian Airlines (AUL). “But -€1.5 billion must be the minimum,” he said.
Within the next six years, 170 new airplanes, valued at €17 billion, will be delivered to (DLH). (CFO), Stephan Gemkow said these airplanes will have to be financed. “The aviation market [has] changed completely,” Gemkow said.
Looking forward, (DLH) faces high costs in Germany, pressure from low-cost carriers (LCC)s and strong competition from Middle East carriers. “We have to rebuild our company and make tough decisions,” Franz said, adding that all areas will be affected. For the moment, he ruled out layoffs.
Gemkow expects 2012 passenger growth to be in the single-digit percent numbers. “Our growth in terms of capacity will be reduced to +2%, maybe a zero percentage rate,” he said. Fuel costs in 2012 will increase from €1.2 billion to €7.5 billion, even though 74% is hedged.
April 2012: Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state government has implemented a night-flight ban for passenger airplanes at Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN) between midnight and 5 am local time. Cargo flights are excluded.
The decision affects around 6,000 airplane movements annually. (CGN) (CEO), Michael Garvens said that the ban is without a legal basis, will damage the aviation market in (NRW) and put jobs in danger. He added that the airport would appeal the ban to Germany’s transport ministry.
Cargo carriers are concerned they won’t be excluded from the ban indefinitely. Earlier this month, a German court upheld a night-flight ban at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) between 11 pm and 5 pm, dealing a blow to cargo airlines operating at the busy airport.
According to Garvens, the situations (both related to complaints about airplane noise around the airports) are not comparable. He accused the (NRW) government of “unlawful interference with an existing operating permit.” Garvens said the proposed noise relief at (CGN) will be “low” because “passenger [airplanes] are usually smaller [than cargo airplanes], more modern and [use] low-noise [engines].”
(CGN) is one of the largest commercial airports in Germany, serving more than >10 million passengers per year.
April 2012: Lufthansa (DLH) Group subsidiaries Austrian Airlines (AUL) and Germanwings (RFG) have launched code share flights between Austria and Germany. Both carriers operate 5X-daily, Vienna (VIE) - Cologne (CGN) service; 7X-daily, (VIE) - Stuttgart (STR) service; 2X-daily, (VIE) - Hanover service; as well daily services from Klagenfurt and Salzburg to (CGN).
This year, (DLH) has begun to transfer more flights to (RFG) out of (STR) as both carriers optimize their route networks. From summer 2012, (RFG) will serve all European destinations for (DLH) out of (STR). German domestic destinations will still be served by both carriers.
Lufthansa (DLH) is reportedly considering moving all of its remaining short-haul services from/to Berlin Brandenburg International airport (BER), Dusseldorf International (DUS), Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer (CGN), Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel (HAM) and Stuttgart Echterdingen (STR) to subsidiary germanwings (RFG) as part of a cost cutting plan that would see (DLH) itself concentrating on Frankfurt International airport (FRA) and Munich Franz Josef Strauss International airport (MUC) operations. (DLH) plans to increase cooperation with (RFG) as a result and has recently also announced a code share agreement between Austrian Airlines (AUL) and (RFG) on routes between Austria and Germany.
April 2012: Air Berlin (BER) as well as Condor (CDF), germanwings (RFG), Pegasus Airlines (PGS), Sun Express (SNS), Sun Express Deutschland (SXD) and TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) will all have to adjust their schedules at Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer airport (CGN) after a decision by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia to impose a night flight ban on passenger flights between midnight and 5 am. Cargo flights will not be affected by the ban and an effective date has not yet been set. All of the carriers mentioned have made extensive use of the 24 hour operations at the airport, especially for leisure flights targeting less time sensitive travellers.
May 2012: germanwings (RFG) will launch its first ever international route from an airport outside Germany on June 30, when it will launch a weekly A319-100 service between Basle/Mulhouse/Freiburg EuroAirport (MLH) and Pristina airport (PRN). The route is served in cooperation with Kosova Airlines (KOS), based at Pristina airport (PRN)) like all of its other routes to Pristina from various German airports.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which was scheduled to open June 3, will postpone its opening to late summer due to technical issues concerning fire protection installations.
Matthias Platzek, head of the Brandenburg government said that the opening is now planned for the second part of August.
The delay creates additional costs of €15 million/$19.5 million per month. The decision to delay the opening on fire safety issues preliminarily stops the move of air traffic from Schonefeld and Tegel to (BER).
Reacting to the news, (RFG) said it will continue to operate from Schonefeld. Air Berlin (BER) expressed its disappointment. “We have to reschedule everything, which is a big logistical challenge and creates massive additional costs,” (CEO) Hartmut Mehdorn said.
(RFG) inaugurates a new high frequency route from Stuttgart to Brussels, previously operated by its parent, Lufthansa (DLH).
June 2012: germanwings (RFG) and its future role within the Lufthansa (DLH) group of airlines will be reviewed again in spring 2013 according to statements made by Executive Bboard member, Carsten Spohr to the "Financial Times Deutschland." The loss making low-cost carrier (LCC) (RFG) could be closed or merged with (DLH)'s own short-haul services outside its Frankfurt International (FRA) and Munich Franz Josef Strauss International (MUC) airport hubs if it is not able to improve its financial performance. (DLH) is currently reviewing all of its options as part of its "Score" cost savings plan. Last year, (RFG) reported a net loss of -€54 million and revenues of approximately €687 million.
July 2012: Lufthansa (DLH)’s in-house low cost carrier (LCC) germanwings (RFG) has now started non-stop flights between Stuttgart (STR) and Rijeka (RJK) in Croatia. From 30 July until 6 September, (RFG) will operate two weekly flights using an A319. (RFG) started serving Rijeka for the first time earlier this year from Cologne/Bonn (27 March) and Berlin Schönefeld (20 June). Despite being the third largest city in Croatia (after Zagreb and Split), the city’s airport handled less than <100,000 passengers in both 2010 and 2011.
September 2012: germanwings (RFG) is reportedly considering moving its operations from Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) to Berlin Tegel (TXL) if the new Berlin Brandenburg International (BER) airport will not open as currently planned in March 2013. While an additional delay to the opening of the new airport has not yet officially been confirmed, several local newspapers in Berlin are reporting that the airport might now be opened in several stages with all carriers currently serving Schönefeld first moving to the new terminal and the airlines serving Tegel following later. (RFG) would then move to Tegel to facilitate connections with flights of parent Lufthansa (DLH) operating there. (RFG) currently serves Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer (CGN), Heraklion Nikos Kazantzakis (HER), Maastricht Zuid-Limburg (MST), Munich Franz Josef Strauss International (MUC), Pristina (PRN), Pula (PUY), Rijeka (RJK) and Stuttgart Echterdingen (STR) from Berlin Schönefeld and has two A319-100s based there.
Later it was reported that the opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) will be delayed again, this time from March 17 to the end of October 2013, the Brandenburg government has confirmed. A local government spokesman told the daily "Berliner Morgenpost" that an announcement of the delay is expected at the next supervisory board meeting. Several board members have been quoted by German media confirming the third delay.
(BER) was originally scheduled to open in June, a date that was postponed to August, and then to March 2013, due to technical issues concerning fire protection installations. Most of the work at (BER) has been stopped. Additional costs caused by the delay have increased to €1.2 billion.
Germanwings (RFG) said it will transfer all operations from Berlin Schoenefeld to Berlin Tegel airport (TXL) on October 28 due to the delayed opening of Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) to October 27, 2013.
(RFG) said that it originally planned to coordinate all schedules with (DLH) at (BER) airport, but was not able to do so because of the delayed opening. Until then, (RFG) and (DLH) will operate together out of (TXL) and then transfer operations to (BER).
(RFG) currently has two A319-100s based in Schönefeld and as part of the move its routes to Maastricht Zuid-Limburg (MST) and Munich Franz Josef Strauss International (MUC) airports will be dropped with just one remaining A319-100 based in Tegel airport serving Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer (CGN) and Pristina (PRN) airports. Tegel will also continue to be served from Stuttgart Echterdingen airport (STR).
Lufthansa (DLH) will merge its direct European services with its Germanwings (RFG) subsidiary to form a new low-cost carrier (LCC) from January 1. The company’s headquarters will be in Cologne.
According to (DLH), the new (LCC) will take over all German domestic and European services outside of (DLH)’s Frankfurt and Munich hubs.
(DLH) said it will decide on the brand name in the coming months. (DLH) said recently it is losing three-digit-million euros annually within its European network.
According to a statement, the new company will operate a fleet of around 90 airplanes and will transport more than >18 million passengers in the first year.
“The future fleet will be created by 35 airplanes from Lufthansa (DLH), 35 [Airbus A319/320] airplanes from Germanwings (RFG) and 20 airplanes from Eurowings (EWG).”
(DLH) Chairman & (CEO), Christoph Franz said: “Combining our domestic German and European point-to-point services has enormous potential to improve efficiency. Our aim is to once again fly these services profitably under the umbrella of a single company.”
October 2012: Lufthansa (DLH) has confirmed plans to switch all its non-hub short-haul services to low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG), and said it will release further scheduling and branding details in December.
The short-haul revamp, which was announced last month, will enable (DLH) to focus on its long-haul carrier business and domestic and European services from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs, which are unaffected by the changes.
(DLH) said the new (RFG) will offer “a quality product — reasonably priced but not cheap” from January 2013. As many as 30 (DLH) airplanes will be transferred to (RFG). Regional subsidiary, Eurowings (EWG) will also operate on behalf of the new (RFG).
“With this strategic move, we are establishing an important precondition for restoring our European flight operations to profitability. With an enhanced brand identity and a corresponding product, (RFG) will combine all our point-to-point operations outside our hubs in a separate company. However, in order to achieve sustained success, it is important that we (together with the unions and employee representatives) can maintain the cost-effectiveness of (RFG) operations,” Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO), Christoph Franz said.
(RFG)’s management will remain unchanged; board members Thomas Winkelmann, Axel Schmidt and Oliver Wagner will oversee the changes. (RFG)’s extended flight schedule and new brand identity will be unveiled in December, (DLH) said.
Last month, (DLH) revealed its plans to revamp its short-haul activity under a project that has been dubbed internally as “Direct4you.”
November 2012: The Lufthansa Group’s new business model for its non-hub, short-haul European operations is essential to the health of the overall company and its long-haul intercontinental business, (DLH) Group Chairman and (CEO), Christoph Franz said.
Franz said, “The entire European Lufthansa (DLH) business has been operating at a loss for years. But now we have reached the point where we can no longer have our intercontinental business compensating for losses in our European business.”
(DLH) will present its new point-to-point European business model based on its low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) in early December and begin those operations from January.
In 2009, (DLH) operated five different airlines and eight airplane types on European routes. Today, three brands ((RFG), Eurowings (EWG) and (DLH)) operate A319/320s, 737-300s/737-500s, and Bombardier CRJ900s.
“We hope, by 2015, with (RFG), and including the integration of the Eurowings (EWG) brand, we will complete the homogenization of the fleet by 2015, operating 90 airplanes, based on A320s and CRJ900s,” Franz said.
(DLH) will remain the largest carrier operating German domestic and European routes connecting through its Frankfurt and Munich hubs. The “new” (RFG) will consist of a highly productive fleet, lean organization and low cost structures, and have a strong online sales focus. “It must be profitable from 2015,” Franz said.
(DLH) will transfers its routes from Stuttgart Echterdingen (STR) and Cologne/Bonn Konrad Adenauer (CGN) to Berlin Tegel (TXL) to subsidiary, germanwings (RFG) as the first of all non-hub routes that will eventually be operated by (RFG). (DLH) currently operates up to six daily services on the Cologne - Berlin route and up to five daily services between Stuttgart and Berlin while (RFG) already operates six times daily from Cologne and three times daily from Stuttgart. From January 1, (RFG) will operate exclusively on the Stuttgart route offering seven daily flights then taking over the Cologne route from January 14 offering a total of ten daily flights.
But (DLH) must first complete rounds of difficult labor talks.
December 2012: Lufthansa (DLH) will give a new identity to its low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary Germanwings (RFG) next year as it transfers its non-hub routes to (RFG) from July 1. Such a move will create a “new Germanwings,” with an expanded fleet and a new livery.
(RFG)’s fleet will grow from 30 A319s and A320s to about 90 airplanes. Thirty (DLH) airplanes and 23 (RFG) airplanes will be transferred to (RFG).
From July 1, the new airline will officially launch, introducing a new livery, new logo, and new marketing pitch.
Lufthansa Chairman & (CEO), Christoph Franz said the move “will make us able to return our non-hub trunk routes to a profitable operation.” He added that costs on the routes will lower 20%.
(DLH) is looking to stop three-million-euro losses across its European network. As part of its cost-cutting program (SCORE), the Lufthansa Group wants to improve operating results by at least +€1.5 billion by the end of 2014.
Germanwings (CEO), Thomas Winkelmann said the changes will introduce a “completely new low-cost carrier (LCC).” Passengers will be able to put together individualized packages ranging from budget, no-frills travel to a more refined passenger experience with more advantages and extra services. Passengers will have three fare options: "basic," "smart," and "best" with each offering different perks, amenities and levels of flexibility. For example, the "best" fare includes access to Lufthansa (DLH)'s airport lounges and awards double "Miles & More" miles. (DLH) will eliminate its business (C) class on these routes.
As of January 1, the “new Germanwings” will include (DLH)'s decentralized European routes not operating out of Frankfurt or Munich hubs. (DLH) said 800 flight attendants (CA) and 200 pilots (FC) will be affected by the move.
Germanwings (RFG) will base three airplanes at Hamburg for seasonal summer service to Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Dubrovnik and Vienna from March 31.
January 2013: Germanwings (RFG) has taken over all Lufthansa (DLH) short-haul flights except the feeder network into Frankfurt and Munich on January 1. (DLH) (Germanwings' (RFG)'s parent) has finally concluded that it cannot operate short-haul flights profitably while competing against low-cost carriers (LCC)s. The move to allow (RFG) to grow, has been long overdue, many observers believe, but internal group politics and concerns over brand dilution had kept (DLH) from going ahead with it. Now, within a short space of time, (RFG) has to integrate +35 more narrow body airplanes as well as cabin crew (CA) and pilots (FC), and take over dozens of routes. In 2013, it will become clear how the transition is progressing.
February 2013: German airports Hamburg and Cologne faced more flight disruptions and cancellations on February 15th, the second day of strikes by security staff over pay, Trade union Verdi said. The strike started February 15th and continued through the day.
Dusseldorf Airport said it had to cancel 200 flights, affecting several thousand travelers as 400 workers walked off the job. Hamburg airport announced 103 cancellations.
Verdi called for a +33% increase in pay for around 1,000 security personnel employed by private firms at the two airports. It said talks with the Federal Association of Security Industry had not reached an agreement. German airports were also impacted in January by strike action.
April 2013: Germanwings (RFG) will take over routes from Lufthansa (DLH) on Hamburg - Vienna, - Stuttgart, - Nuremberg, - Dubrovnik, - Nice and - Palma de Mallorca. Also (RFG) is increasing frequencies on its routes to Nizhny Novgorod and Samara.
Lufthansa (DLH) said its new Germanwings (RFG) subsidiary is evolving faster than planned and is ahead of schedule. (DLH) is transferring non-hub routes to the low-cost carrier (LCC).
May 2013: germanwings (RFG) commenced flights on a total of six new summer routes at the beginning of this month, as it launched new services from Cologne Bonn (CGN) to Olbia on May 4th, 2X weekly, with competition from airBerlin (BER) 3X weekly; on May 5th, Hamburg (HAM) to Dubrovnic, 1X weekly, (HAM) to Olbia (OLB), 1X weekly with competition from Meridianafly (ALS)/(EUY); on May 4th, Hannover (HAJ) to Lamezia Terme (SUF), 1X weekly, (HAJ) to Thessaloniki, 1X weekly; on May 5th, (HAJ) to Thessaloniki; and May 4th, Stuttgart (STR) to Olbia (OLB), 1X weekly, with competition from airBerlin (BER, 4X weekly. All flights are operated using A319s.
(RFG) commenced operations on its only service to Brindisi (BDS) on May 18th, when it linked the Italian destination with Stuttgart (STR). Weekly (Saturday) frequencies are offered on the route until October 19th, and operated using A319s. Brindisi Airport, in the heel of Italy, outperformed many other Italian airports last year, by growing its passenger numbers by +2.1%.
Lufthansa (DLH) and (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines will discontinue their network cooperation on routes between Germany and Scandinavia. (DLH) will gradually transfer all European routes that bypass its Frankfurt hub and Munich to its low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) by the fall of 2014.
The code share agreement between (SAS) and (DLH) remains unchanged as both airlines are Star Alliance (SAL) members.
(DLH) is to transfer further flights to its subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) as a part of its restructuring program "SCORE." (DLH) is transferring non-hub routes to (RFG) to bring European flights back to profitability. From October 27, (DLH) will transfer flights to (RFG) from Berlin Tegel to Birmingham, Bologna and Geneva. Also from October 27, (RFG) will operate Hamburg - Moscow Vnukovo flights. From November 13, routes to Nurenberg and Rome Fiumicino will be transferred; flights to Bucaresti Otopeni will follow on Novembher 14. Starting November 27, (RFG) will take over (DLH)’s Helsinki, Milan Malpensa and Vienna routes.
June 2013: germanwings (RFG) commenced operations on its only Greek route from Hamburg (HAM) on June 30, when it started flying to Heraklion (HER). Weekly (Sunday) flights are offered on the 2,400 km route using A319s. (RFG) faces competition from Condor (CDF) (four weekly frequencies), TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) (four) and airberlin (BER) (one).
July 2013: germanwings (RFG) inaugurated operations on the 2,300 km route from Hamburg (HAM) in northern Germany to Faro (FAO). Beginning on July 3, the Portuguese destination is served with weekly (Wednesday) A319-operated flights. (RFG), which intends to terminate the service on August 28, faces competition from airberlin (BER)’s also weekly schedule.
Lufthansa (DLH) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) and its cabin crew (CA) reached a last-minute agreement over payment this weekend, narrowly avoiding a strike. Germanwings (RFG)’s cabin crew (CA) is represented by the (UFO) union, which will present the offer to its members for a vote. (RFG) said the company went to its (economical) limit, offering a compromise that came close to union demands without losing competitiveness. The (UFO) union said earlier it would go on strike this week if no agreement could be reached.
Lufthansa (DLH) is transferring its non-hub routes to Germanwings (RFG) as part of the Lufthansa Group’s cost-cutting program "SCORE." (RFG)’s operating costs are -20% to -30% lower than Lufthansa (DLH).
September 2013: The (CEO) of Lufthansa (DLH)’s Germanwings (RFG) affiliate has said he is keen to return the airline back to an all-Airbus (EDS) fleet.
October 2013: germanwings (RFG), the low cost carrier (LCC) wholly-owned by Lufthansa (DLH), continues to replace its parent, this time on a further ten new routes from the start of the winter season, all from Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM). While the four Berlin routes are all A319-operated and all at less than daily frequency, the Hamburg routes utilize the CRJ-900s brought in from the eurowings fleet (EWG), with all six new services being flown with at least a daily operation. The routes will operate in a relatively uncontested environment, with three different airlines providing the competition on three separate routes (airberlin (BER), (KLM), and Norwegian (NWG):
Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Malaga (AGP) 1x weekly vs (BER) 4x weekly; to Birmingham (BHX) 6x weekly; to Bologna (BLQ) 6x weekly, and Geneva (GVA) 5x weekly.
Hamburg (HAM) to Amsterdam (AMS) 16x weekly vs KLM 35x weekly; to (GVA) 12x weekly; to Madrid (MAD) 7x weekly; to Milan Malpensa (MXP)) 17x weekly; to Oslo (OSL) 12x weekly vs (NWG) 3x weekly; and to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) 17x weekly.
November 2013: Lufthansa (DLH), which is transferring flights to its subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) as a part of its restructuring program "SCORE," has announced (RFG) will launch new routes from Hamburg in summer 2014.
Germanwings (RFG) will begin 3X-weekly services from Hamburg to Rome Fiumicino from March 30, 2014, as well to Thessaloniki (3X-weekly), Rijeka (2X-weekly), Prague (5X-weekly), Toulouse (4X-weekly) and to Klagenfurt (2X-weekly).
(DLH) is transferring non-hub routes to (RFG) to bring European flights back to profitability.
(RFG) increased its seasonal offering at four German airports with the launch of new winter sun routes from Berlin Tegel (TXL), Hamburg (HAM) and Hanover (HAJ) on November 2nd. All new services are operated with single weekly frequencies using A319s. (RFG) faces competition on two Spanish routes: – from Berlin to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) and from Hanover to Tenerife Sur (TFS). As follows:
Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Ankara (ESB) weekly; to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) weekly vs airBerlin (BER) 10x weekly; Hamburg (HAM) to (ESB) weekly; and Hanover (HAJ) to Tenerife Sur (TFS) weekly vs TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) 4x weekly.
germanwings (RFG) has had another busy week, launching another six new services. Notably the route between Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Catania (CTA) has been transferred over from parent, Lufthansa (DLH). Only one of the routes faces direct competition. However, if (RFG) had started these routes during the S13 season, then the four routes at Hannover and Stuttgart would have all faced direct competition from the likes of Germania (GER) and SunExpress (SNS). However, during the quieter winter season, this is not the case.
(RFG) has launched three new routes which have been handed over to (RFG) from its parent company Lufthansa (DLH). Routes from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Bucharest Otopeni (OTP), Nuremberg (NUE), and Rome Fiumicino (FCO) will now be flown by (RFG) with three, 11 and four weekly A319 departures, respectively. airberlin (BER) provides direct competition on all three routes offering daily flights to Bucharest and Rome, and between three and four daily flights on the domestic route to Nuremberg. In the coming weeks, germanwings (RFG) will take over additional Lufthansa (DLH) routes from Berlin Tegel.
(RFG) will start flying six times a week in the Spring from Cologne/Bonn to the Polish capital of Warsaw.
December 2013: germanwings (RFG) continued its route restructuring program, with the commencement of another three routes following their transfer from parent Lufthansa (DLH) to (RFG). All new services, to be operated from Berlin Tegel (TXL), are offered at six-weekly frequencies using A320s and A319s, as follows:
Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Helsinki (HEL) vs airberlin (BER) 19x weekly, & Finnair (FIN) 14x weekly; to Milan Linate (LIN); to Vienna (VIE) vs (BER) 37x weekly & Austrian Airlines (AUL) 22x weekly.
(RFG) has started some new services this month, as opposed to inheriting them from its mother company Lufthansa (DLH), which has seemingly been the norm for the low cost carrier (LCC) over recent weeks. Both Berlin (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) have seen a new international route begin to Klagenfurt (KLU) in Austria, as well as new domestic sectors to Memmingen (FMM). All four routes will be flown uncontested by germanwings (RFG). The international routes will be flown on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while the domestic flights will be operated on Thursdays and Sundays.
germanwings (RFG) transferred in another ex-Lufthansa (DLH) city-pair, assuming responsibility for the Hamburg (HAM) to Zurich (ZRH) route on December 11th. The in-house low cost carrier (LCC) will fly the route 20 times weekly with a mixture of CRJ 900s and A319s, replacing the 17 times weekly A319 and A320 operation flown by its mother company (DLH). SWISS (CSR) will provide stiff competition on the connection to its main hub, with thrice-daily services flown by its A320/A321 fleet. germanwings (RFG) already flies to Zurich from Cologne Bonn.
January 2014: germanwings (RFG), has assumed flying responsibilities on January 13th for two more Lufthansa (DLH) routes, namely its connections from Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) to London Heathrow (LHR). The former route will be flown with 20 weekly services, while the latter with 19; both are flown by (RFG)’s A319s. British Airways (BAB) provides competition on both routes, flying from its main hub to Berlin 31 times weekly and to Hamburg 26 times weekly. The germanwings (RFG) operations are replacing double-daily services on both routes which were previously operated by its mother airline, Lufthansa (DLH). The two new routes join (RFG)’s existing services from Stuttgart (started February 2012) and Cologne Bonn (March 2012) to (LHR), also transferred from Lufthansa (DLH).
April 2014: germanwings (RFG), after a plethora of routes launched recently to replace its parent Lufthansa (DLH), has begun two new routes in its own right, starting flights from Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) to Verona (VRN), joining its existing flights to Verona from Cologne Bonn. The former flight will be flown by (RFG)’s A319s thrice-weekly, while the latter will be operated by its 90Y-seat CRJ 900s twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays). Both routes started on April 15th, and neither will have to tolerate any direct competition.
May 2014: germanwings (RFG) started two new routes from its Hamburg (HAM) base: the first to Bergen (BGO) is replacing a former Lufthansa (DLH) service, and becomes (RFG)’s second Norwegian destination; the second is a new service to Rijeka (RJK), (RFG)’s third destination in Croatia served from Hamburg. Both services started on April 27th, are flown weekly (Sundays) and are uncompeted routes. The Bergen service will be operated by (RFG)’ 90Y-seat CRJ-900s, whereas the Rijeka route will utilize (RFG)’s 150Y-seat A319s. Additionally, the Croatian service will be increased to twice-weekly during the peak months of July and August.
May 2014: germanwings (RFG) has started a new route between Cologne Bonn (CGN) and Knock (NOC) in Ireland. The weekly services (Sundays) which started on May 25th, will be operated by (RFG)’s 90Y-seat CRJ 900s. The 1,136 km sector will face no direct competition and becomes the Irish airport’s only service to Germany, and the second Irish destination served from Cologne Bonn, adding to germanwings’ (RFG)'s existing services to Dublin.
Germanwings (RFG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Airlines (DLH), has selected Teledyne’s Wireless Software Parts Distribution System to retrofit on (RFG)’s fleet of 64 Airbus A320 family airplanes.
Lufthansa took the decision to only operate intra-European services from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs, and transfer all other services operated from German airports, to its lower-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, germanwings (RFG).
Launched in October 2002 as a pure (LCC), germanwings (RFG) for many years operated a fleet of mostly A319s and some A320s from bases at Cologne Bonn, Stuttgart, Berlin, and Hannover. However, once the decision was taken to transfer all of Lufthansa (DLH)’s non-hub flying to germanwings (RFG), the airline also absorbed the CRJ 900s operated by Eurowings (EWG) on behalf of Lufthansa (DLH). As a result, as of March 2014, germanwings (RFG)’s fleet stood at 67 airplanes; seven A320s, 41 A319s and 19 CRJ 900s.
Last year, germanwings (RFG) carried some 16 million passengers, with the figure likely to rise significantly in 2014. During the last 18 months the biggest changes have taken place in Hamburg and Düsseldorf, as germanwings (RFG) has gradually taken over the majority of Lufthansa (DLH)’s routes at these airports.
With all these routes being transferred, it would be easy to overlook which intra-European routes have actually been dropped by the Lufthansa Group of airlines, and which new point-to-point services are operating this summer, that were not operating last summer. By analysing intra-European schedule data for August 2014 and August 2013 for both carriers, it is estimated that overall the number of flights operated by both carriers combined is down marginally (0.3%), while the number of seats offered is up slightly (+1.0%).
More interestingly 47 genuinely new routes (not operated last summer) have been identified while also finding 25 routes that have apparently disappeared from the Lufthansa Group’s network.
As a result of these changes, Lufthansa (DLH)/germanwings (RFG)’s combined intra-European network has grown from 449 airport pairs in August 2013 to 471 in August 2014. In other words, the number of routes offered has grown by almost +5%, while capacity has grown by just +1%. This results in average weekly frequency on intra-European routes falling from 13.2 in August 2013 to 12.6 in August 2014.
Almost half of all the dropped routes have been from Düsseldorf, where 12 destinations served last summer are not served this summer, but where germanwings (RFG) has also started 13 new routes. In terms of overall intra-European weekly seat capacity (in August), both Düsseldorf and Hamburg have seen growth of +4.1% versus last August, Berlin Tegel is up +1.6%, Stuttgart up +0.9% and Cologne Bonn up +0.6%. At Lufthansa (DLH)’s two hubs, intra-European seat capacity is up +6.3% at Frankfurt, but down -7.1% in Munich. Although Munich has gained as many routes as it has lost (just two), frequency reductions have been made on around half of Lufthansa (DLH)’s routes from the airport.
While the transfer of routes from (DLH) to germanwings (RFG) has just about been completed, a further 18 routes from Düsseldorf still operated by (DLH) this summer, will be transferred to (RFG) between August and January 2015. This includes high frequency routes to Berlin Tegel, London Heathrow, and Zurich, as well as other UK routes to Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, and Newcastle. By next summer, the only (DLH) routes left at Düsseldorf will be Frankfurt, Munich, and (DLH)’s two long-haul routes to Chicago O’Hare and New York Newark.
A320-211 (0268, D-AIQM), ex-(F-WWIB) delivery.
July 2014: Germanwings (RFG) started a new route to France (a thrice-weekly operation to Brest (BES)). The seasonal service, which operates until September 6th, has become (RFG)’s 103rd destination from its biggest base at London Gatwick (LGW), and its 14th in France. Begun on July 12th, the 428 km sector will be operated by (RFG)’s fleet mainstay (its 156-seat A319s) and will encounter no direct competition.
Condor Airlines (CDF) and Germanwings (RFG) have signed a cooperation for feeder flights offering Germanwings (RFG) passengers service to Cologne and Manchester. (RFG) offers connecting flights from Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle, Berlin-Tegel, Vienna, Zurich, Milan Malpensa, and London-Stansted to Cologne, which will become (CDF)’s third long-haul airport from November 4, when it begins weekly nonstop services to Varadero (Cuba).
(RFG) also offers connections through Manchester from Hamburg to (CDF) to Orlando, Las Vegas, New York (JFK) (from summer 2015), Miami, Saint Lucia, Montego Bay, Antigua, Barbados, and Cancun.
August 2014: Lufthansa (DLH) has transferred to its low-cost carrier (LCC) arm, Germanwings (RFG) two routes from Dusseldorf, to Budapest and Valencia.
The Hungarian capital, Budapest is served twice daily during weekdays and once a day during weekends.
Flights to the Spanish port city, Valencia are conducted twice a day.
Germanwings (RFG) began operating both routes on August 10th.
germanwings (RFG) continues its major expansion this summer with the introduction on August 22nd of 12 times weekly flights between Düsseldorf (DUS) and London Stansted (STN). The 457 km route will be flown by (RFG)’s CRJ 900s and will face competition from Etihad Regional’s 17 weekly flights.
Pilots (FC) at Lufthansa (DLH) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) are set to strike on August 29th if an agreement isn’t reached on the issue of transitional benefits. The pilots (FC) are represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union.
(VC) said several days ago that talks with Lufthansa (DLH) management had failed to reach an agreement over its early retirement scheme.
Lufthansa (DLH) had proposed the talks to resume negotiations and had prepared a suggestion on what form further negotiations should take. The purpose of the talks would have been primarily to specify an orderly process and a timetable for further negotiations.
However, Deutsche Lufthansa AG Chief Officer Human Resources (HR) & Legal, Bettina Volkens said, “The impression given is that the (VC) pilots union had already decided to strike. It is unrealistic to expect to reach agreement on a new model for sustainable transitional benefits in the course of a single day.”
The six-hour strike is set to begin 6 am local time.
Germanwings (RFG) has canceled 70% (116 out of 164) of its scheduled flights from seven German airports, affecting 15,000 passengers.
(RFG) said that most of the affected flights are German domestic flights. It will implement management pilots (FC) to work on several flights.
A three-day pilot (FC) strike in early April cost Lufthansa (DLH) €45 million/$60 million. In addition, (DLH) was affected by strikes by airport security staff and public service employees.
September 2014: germanwings (RFG) has started a new route from Hamburg (HAM), as opposed to inheriting a route from its parent Lufthansa (DLH), beginning an 11 times weekly domestic operation to Dresden (DRS) on September 1ST. (RFG) previously served the market with larger Airbus (EDS) airplanes between November 2005 and October 2006. The 378 km sector will face no direct competition and will be flown by (RFG)’s 83-seat CRJ 900s. The route becomes (RFG)’s seventh domestic service from Hamburg, joining existing flights to Cologne Bonn, Düsseldorf, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Memmingen, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart.
October 2014: The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union has called a 12-hour pilot (FC) strike on Thursday October 15th for Lufthansa (DLH)’s low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG), the latest in a series of ongoing protests over transition payments for early retirees.
On October 14th, Germanwings (RFG) said it would be able to operate 80% of all 500 scheduled flights on October 15th. About 100 flights, mostly domestic flights within Germany, have been canceled.
The (VC) union, which represents 5,400 Lufthansa (DLH) pilots (FC), said that (DLH) has not accepted the (VC) union’s compromise for an early retirement scheme. The dispute involves retirement age changes on pilot (FC) benefits. Currently, (DLH) pilots (FC) are allowed to retire at 55 with 60% of their salary. However, the European Union (EU) ruled pilots (FC) can now fly until age 65. (DLH) wants pilots (FC) to agree to retire at around age 61, which compares to the current average of 59 years. It also wants to move the earliest possible retirement age up to 60, instead of 55.
This is (VC)’s seventh strike since April and the second one to affect Germanwings (RFG). The first six strikes forced (DLH) to cancel 4,300 flights, which affected 500,000 passengers.
On August 29, (RFG) pilots (FC) staged a strike, which resulted in 116 cancellations out of 164 scheduled flights.
A three-day pilot (FC) strike in early April cost (DLH) €45 million/$60 million. In addition, (DLH) was affected by strikes by airport security staff and public service employees.
Recently, Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) pilots (FC) went on a two-day strike, but this action did not have a big impact on (DLH) operations.
In its first-half financial statement released July 31, the Lufthansa Group had said pilot (FC) strikes cost it more than >€60 million.
The pilot (FC) strikes have damaged (DLH)’s image and have hit long-term bookings for passengers, (DLH) Executive Board Member & (CEO) of Lufthansa German Airlines (DLH), Karl Ulrich Garnadt said recently, adding (DLH) may have to adjust its financial outlook for 2015 and further reduce capacity.
November 2014: germanwings (RFG) has launched its first ever flights to Cyprus. On November 1st, Lufthansa (DLH)’s in-house low cost carrier (LCC), (RFG) began weekly (Saturday) flights between Cologne Bonn (CGN) and Larnaca (LCA). The 2,773 km sector will be operated by (RFG)’s A319s and faces no direct competition. (RFG) launched 2x-weekly, Dusseldorf - Istanbul (SAW) service.
December 2014: germanwings (RFG) has started two more routes which it has assumed responsibility for from its parent Lufthansa (DLH), beginning flights from Düsseldorf (DUS) to Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Rome Fiumicino (FCO). The domestic route, which began on November 29th, is operated 53 times weekly by a variety of airplane equipment and will face competition from airberlin (BER), which flies the airport pair 50 times per week. The international sector, which started the following day, will be operated four times weekly by A320 equipment and will again face competition from the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier, which offers a daily service to the Italian capital. Interestingly, Alitalia (ALI) starts a daily service on the city pair on December 15th.
Germanwings (RFG) offers 2x-weekly, summer Stuttgart - Belgrade between July 30 and September 10.
January 2015: News Item A-1: Germany’s Lufthansa Group has completed the transfer to low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Germanwings (RFG) of European point-to-point routes that do not operate from Lufthansa (DLH)’s Frankfurt or Munich hubs.
The final route to be transferred (Düsseldorf to Zurich) was switched to (RFG) on schedule. The Group described it as one of the largest structural projects it had ever undertaken.
The concept of the new Germanwings (RFG) was presented in December 2012, followed by its market launch on July 1, 2013. (RFG) has now taken over 115 routes from Lufthansa (DLH), with the biggest component (52) at Düsseldorf.
“The first Germanwings (RFG) flight from Düsseldorf to Zurich marks the successful completion of what is to date the biggest project to make the Lufthansa Group more competitive,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of Deutsche Lufthansa’s executive board. “The positioning of the new and significantly larger (RFG) has been a resounding success. As a result of low costs in the "WINGS" business model, we combine favorable prices with the punctuality, quality and safety of the Lufthansa Group.
“This combination meets with a positive response among our passengers and also finds favor in many European markets. At the same time therefore, the success of the project will bolster our confidence for the creation of our new Eurowings (EWG) which will be launched before the year is over.”
“We have never been bigger, and have never been a market leader at so many German airports,” Germanwings (RFG) spokesman, Thomas Winkelmann added. “Of much greater importance, however, is the fact that we are once again enjoying success in commercial terms.”
The new (RFG) service between Düsseldorf and Zurich will comprise 24 flights per week, making it one of the highest-volume routes from the North Rhine - Westphalian capital.
News Item A-2: The Lufthansa Group’s low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Eurowings (EWG) will perform its maiden flight February 1 from Hamburg to Prague, with its first 162-seat Airbus A320.
In the following weeks, more A320s will begin replacing its 23 Canadair CRJ900 jets.
The Lufthansa Group is moving forward with the implementation of the “Wings” concept by renewing the Eurowings (EWG) fleet with Airbus A320s in the new branding. Lufthansa (DLH) is transforming its Eurowings (EWG) subsidiary into a pan-European platform to operate low-cost flights from several bases outside Germany. The range of services oriented to leisure travel under the "Eurowings" brand should allow the Lufthansa Group to open up new customer potential.
The Lufthansa Group is also safeguarding its leading position in point-to-point connections in its German, Austrian, Swiss, and Belgian home markets in the long term.
At first, flights will operate on behalf of Germanwings (RFG). However, by the end of 2015, Eurowings (EWG) and (RFG) (along with other European airlines) will be united under the "Eurowings" (EWG) brand name. The "Germanwings" (RFG) brand is expected to disappear from the market.
February 2015: News Item A-1: Germanwings (RFG) launches 3x-weekly Düsseldorf - Athens service starting from early March. (RFG) also begins in early March, weekly, Düsseldorf - Faro and weekly, Düsseldorf - Jerez de la Frontera, Spain service.
News Item A-2: Aviaso fuel-conservation software will be implemented by Germanwings (RFG) and Cargolux (CLX).
March 2015: News Item A-1: CRASH: A Germanwings (RFG) A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (147, /91 D-AIPX), Lufthansa Airlines (DLH) leased 2003-07, operating Flight 4U9525 on March 24th, crashed in the French Alps (in a hard to reach mountainous area). Flight 4u9525 from Barcelona (took off 9:55 am local time) to Dusseldorf. 150 on board including 6 crew (2 (FC); 4 (CA)) were killed. Most of the people on board were from Spain, Germany and Turkey. One of the "black boxes," the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was retrieved.
Based on the (CVR), which gives the sound of the pilot (FC) Captain banging on the cockpit door and being refused entry, and passengers screaming, as the airplane continues to descend towards the French Alps mountain range, Carsten Spohr, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lufthansa (DLH) declared the crash was "a deliberate intent by the co-pilot (FC), Andreas Lubitz." Germanwings (RFG) is a subsidiary of parent company, Lufthansa German Airlines (DLH).
Stunned Lufthansa Group (CEO), Carsten Spohr said the German airline company is coming to terms with the fact that a Germanwings (RFG) pilot (FC) apparently intentionally crashed an Airbus A320 into the French Alps on March 24.
“We are forced to come to the conclusion that [Flight 4U9525] was deliberately crashed,” Spohr said at a press conference after French Prosecutor, Brice Robin outlined evidence from the A320’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) indicating 28-year-old co-pilot (FC), Andreas Lubitz intentionally flew the A320 with 150 people on board into the French Alps. Spohr added, “The co-pilot (FC), according to the audio recordings, took advantage of the momentary absence of the commander (FC) from the cockpit and then prevented him from coming back into the cockpit.”
Spohr said Lufthansa (DLH) allows one pilot (FC) to leave the cockpit temporarily during cruise, and that a touchpad enables a pilot (FC) to re-enter the cockpit if, for example, the pilot (FC) remaining in the cockpit becomes incapacitated. But a pilot (FC) on the flight deck can prevent the touchpad from opening the cockpit door.
Spohr said Lufthansa (DLH) officials were “stunned” by the “shocking” evidence of a deliberate crash by the flight’s first officer (FC), calling it “the darkest chapter in the history” of Lufthansa (DLH). “I could not imagine after the crash happened, that the situation could become even worse,” he told reporters. “We could never imagine that [a deliberate crash] could happen to our Group. Lufthansa (DLH) has excellent pilot (FC) training. We have always been very strict about the selection of our future pilots (FC). We have implemented one of the leading pilot (FC) training programs worldwide. What happened here (this was not possible for us to imagine).”
Spohr said Lubitz, who started flying for Germanwings (RFG) in September 2013, passed all medical evaluations and never provided any reason to doubt his competence. Spohr expressed confidence in Lufthansa Group’s pilots (FC) and called the Flight 4U9525 crash “a dramatic, singular case.”
SEE PHOTOS - - "RFG-2015-03 - A320 ACCIDENT-A/B/C."
News Item A-2: "Cockpit Doors: No Silver Bullet Solution" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in his AirKarp Blog, March 26, 2015.
There is still much more to learn about Germanwings (RFG) Flight 4U9525, but, according to French officials, information from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) indicates the co-pilot (FC) intentionally flew the Airbus A320 into the French Alps and refused to allow the flight’s Captain (FC) back into the locked cockpit. The apparent scenario that led to this tragic crash demonstrates that there is almost never a "one-size-fits-all" silver bullet solution in aviation.
After "9/11," cockpit doors were made incredibly strong and were mandated to be locked (at all times) from the inside. While this was meant to prevent hijackers from entering cockpits, it unfortunately opened up the possibility for the frightening scenario that may have played out aboard this A320 over the French Alps: The person sabotaging the airplane is one of the pilots (FC) and he is alone in the cockpit, when the other pilot (FC) leaves temporarily. The lone pilot (FC) in the cockpit can override a touchpad installed on many commercial airplanes, that is meant to allow the pilot (FC) who left temporarily, to re-enter the cockpit. Again, the idea is to have the flight deck highjack-proof at all times by keeping a super-strong door always locked from the inside.
In the USA, many airlines’ standard operating procedure is for a flight attendant (CA) to enter the cockpit when one of the pilots (FC) leaves temporarily. This would help if the remaining pilot (FC) were to, say, pass out, but what if the remaining pilot (FC) is mal-intentioned and incapacitates the flight attendant (CA)?
In a January 11, 2002 (FAA) press release, the (FAA) laid out new cockpit door rules. One is: “The door will be designed to prevent passengers from opening it without the pilot (FC)’s permission. An internal locking device will be designed so that it can only be unlocked from inside the cockpit.”
I’m not saying strengthened cockpit doors and revamped flight deck entry protocols weren’t a good idea after "9/11." (I remember a flight as a child in the late 1970s or early 1980s, when my father and I walked up to the cockpit mid-flight, and were invited in by the pilots (FC), who happily showed a wide-eyed little boy, the wonders of a flight deck). But solving one problem created another potential problem.
[UPDATE NOTE: The (FAA)-approved standard operating procedure for USA airlines is to have a flight attendant (CA) or a relief pilot (FC) enter the cockpit, when a pilot (FC) temporarily leaves the flight deck. Lufthansa (DLH)/(RFG) did not have this policy in place, but the German government is now reportedly mandating that German airlines have two flight crew (FC) members in the cockpit at all times going forward.
Airlines around the world, including EasyJet (EZY), Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG), Air Canada (ACN) and Air Transat (AIJ) announced changes to their cockpit procedures in the aftermath of the Germanwings (RFG) crash].
News Item A-3: Other instances of "deliberate intention by a single flight crew (FC) member crashing a jet airplane" include a SilkAir (SLK) 737-300 in Sumatra, Indonesia in December 1997, an EgyptAir (EGP) 767-300ER in the Atlantic Ocean after takeoff from New York, in October 1999, and a (LAM) Mozambique Embraer EMB-190 in Namibia in November 2013.
News Item A-4: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a temporary recommendation, proposing that two flight crew (FC) members, including at least one qualified pilot (FC), should occupy the cockpit during flight. This is not a requirement.
“(EASA) made this recommendation based on the information currently available following the dramatic crash of the Germanwings (RFG) Flight 4U9525 A320, and pending the outcome of the technical investigation conducted by the French Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA).”
Under current European regulations, a pilot (FC) must remain at the station, unless there is a need to leave for physiological reasons, or reasons related to the operations of the airplane. “If a pilot (FC) needs to leave the cockpit, for example, to go to the bathroom, at least one qualified pilot (FC) needs to remain at the controls of the plane. There is no requirement from the regulation, that in this case another crew member must be present in the cockpit,” an (EASA) spokesman said.
Pilots (FC) must also be able to monitor the area outside the cockpit area. This can be done by a member of cabin crew (CA) controlling the cockpit door while one of the pilots (FC) is away from their post, or via (CCTV) cameras, which eliminates the need for cabin crew (CA) monitoring, the (EASA) spokesman said.
(EASA) Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) Number 2015-04, which was issued March 27th and is not mandatory, advises national aviation authorities and airlines to re-assess the safety and security risks associated with flight crew (FC) members leaving the cockpit.
Specifically, it recommends that airlines implement procedures requiring at least two authorized people to be in the flight crew (FC) compartment (cockpit) at all times, or equivalent mitigating measures. “This will be reviewed in the light of any new information concerning the accident investigation or the implementation of this (SIB),” (EASA) said.
In the USA, there is no explicit rule requiring two flight crew (FC) members to be in the cockpit during flight; however, this has evolved as an (FAA)-approved standard operating procedure for USA carriers.
(EASA) has already sent experts to both the crash site and the offices of French Accident Bureau (BEA) to help establish what happened to Germanwings (RFG) Flight 4U 9525.
(EASA) said it was “closely monitoring the latest information, and it was in contact with the French authorities, Airbus (EDS) and other organisations involved, in order to provide any support possible.”
News Item A-5: In response to the Germanwings (RFG) A320 crash, airlines around the world continued to move to implement a policy of requiring two flight crew (FC) members to be in the cockpit at all times during flights.
USA airlines had already been operating under an (FAA)-approved standard requiring a flight attendant (CA) or a relief pilot (FC) to replace a pilot (FC) who has temporarily left the cockpit during a flight. That policy is now being quickly adopted by many airlines globally.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recommended adoption of the policy, and Germanwings (RFG) parent, the Lufthansa Group has now announced it is implementing it, and the Canadian government said it would mandate it for Canada’s airlines. Air France (AFA) - (KLM) said it would implement the (EASA) recommendation “as soon as possible.”
In announcing a change in its cockpit procedures, Air Malta (MLT) said, “The devastating airline incident this week has sparked a discussion around the world about how crew policies can be improved to enhance passenger safety. In light of this, we have decided with immediate effect to make it compulsory to have two flight crew (FC) members in the cockpit at all times.”
Lithuania’s Air Lituanica (LUA) issued a statement to assure passengers it already has a two flight crew (FC) in the cockpit policy in place. Berlin-based Germania (GER) said it is introducing “the ‘two-person’ cockpit rule on all commercial flights,” adding, “It is imperative that two authorized persons be present in the cockpit at all times.”
News Item A-6: (IATA) (ITA) Director General & (CEO), Tony Tyler has described the Germanwings (RFG) crash as an “unthinkable tragedy” and stressed the importance of a full and complete investigation.
Responding to the crash, Tyler said safety remains the industry’s “top priority.” “It is imperative that the air crash investigation is fully completed in order to determine any and all outcomes, which can help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. The interests of aviation safety are best served by considerations made in light of full and complete information and understanding of any crash, or issue concerning safety or security,” (IATA) said.
The European Cockpit Association (ECA), which represents over >38,000 pilots (FC) across Europe, has also called on stakeholders to resist jumping to conclusions. The labor group stressed that thorough analysis of technical data from the flight data recorder (FDR) as part of an unbiased, independent investigation will be “crucial” in verifying what happened.
(IATA) said early conclusions from the criminal investigation were “shocking,” promoting airlines around the world to review their procedures. “This proactive approach is characteristic of an industry that places safety at the top of its priority list,” (IATA) said.
News Item A-7: The European Cockpit Association (ECA), which represents over >38,000 pilots (FC) across Europe, has struck out over Germanwings (RFG) Flight 4U9525 cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data being made public.
“The leaking of the (CVR) data is a serious breach of fundamental and globally accepted international accident investigation rules. The motivation for and consequences of this will need to be addressed,” the (ECA) said.
On Thursday, French prosecutor Brice Robin said the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) analysis revealed that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was alone in the cockpit at the time of the crash; the flight’s captain was apparently locked out. “While he is alone, the co-pilot presses the buttons of the flight monitoring system to put into action the descent of the airplane,” Robin said, adding, “This action on the altitude controls can only be deliberate.”
The body acknowledged that questions remain unanswered, even though many facts point to one particular theory for the cause of this event. However, it stressed that thorough analysis of technical data from the flight data recorder (FDR) as part of an unbiased, independent investigation will be “crucial” in verifying what happened.
“Given the level of pressure this leak has undoubtedly created, the investigation team faces a serious distraction. The required lead of safety investigators appears to have been displaced by prosecutorial considerations. This is highly prejudicial, and an impediment to making aviation safer with lessons from the tragedy,” the union said.
News Item A-8: Germanwings (RFG) parent, Lufthansa (DLH) has created a new Group Safety Pilot (FC) position, effectively immediately, and is updating its cockpit rules after the March 24th fatal (RFG) Airbus A320 crash.
Announcing the changes on March 27th, the Lufthansa Group named Captain Werner Maas as its first Group Safety Pilot (FC). “Captain Maas will have group-wide responsibility for examining and further refining all flight safety-relevant procedures in his new capacity, in which he reports directly to Lufthansa Group (CEO), Carsten Spohr.”
The Lufthansa Group already has safety pilots (FC) at each of its individual airlines. Captain Mass had held this role for Lufthansa (DLH)’s mainline operations, but his remit has now been extended to oversee this work across all group carriers.
Following announcements from several other airlines on March 26th, the Lufthansa Group will require two authorized flight crew (FC) members to be on the flight deck at all times during flight “as a precautionary measure. The passenger airlines of the Lufthansa Group will adopt the new procedure as soon as possible, in due consultation with their national aviation authority,” the Lufthansa Group said.
Lufthansa Group member, Swiss (CSR) also confirmed plans to modify its cockpit procedures. “The new provision, which enters into effect immediately, has been adopted in the light of recent events and an advised safety recommendation from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA),” Swiss (CSR) said.
News Item A-9: (CNN) TV News reported that as a result of the search of Germanwings (RFG) Flight 4U9525 co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz's apartment in Dusseldorf, Germany, a torn copy of a Medical Doctor's letter to Lubitz (found in the trash) stated Lubitz was unfit for flight duty prior to his decision to act as co-pilot (FC) of Flight 4U9525.
April 2015: News Item A-1: The second black box from the Germanwings (RFG) A320 that crashed in the French Alps on March 24th last week has been found after a nine-day search, prosecutors said.
Authorities are hoping to unearth more clues about the disaster from the black box after the first voice recorder suggested that co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz deliberately flew the plane into a mountain.
The second black box records technical flight data that could provide vital insights into the final moments of Flight 4U9525 before it crashed. The first black box, found the same day as the crash, recorded conversations between Lubitz and the Captain (FC) and showed that the 27-year-old German was alone at the time of the crash.
He apparently took advantage of the Captain (FC)'s brief absence to lock him out and set the plane on a deadly descent into the Alps. The plane smashed into the mountains at a speed of 700 kms/430 miles per hour, instantly killing all 150 people on board - half of them German and more than >50 from Spain.
According to prosecutors, the (CVR) suggested that the passengers were unaware of what was going to happen to them until the very last seconds, when screams were heard.
Rescue workers have since been sifting through the wreckage for days trying to identify body parts and victims via their (DNA).
The search for evidence has been hampered by the extremely difficult mountain terrain as well as the force of the crash.
The co-pilot (FC) of (RFG) Flight 9525 appears to have researched suicide methods and cockpit door security in the days before he flew the plane into the French Alps. Duesseldorf prosecutors said investigators found a tablet computer at co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz's apartment in Dusseldorf, and were able to reconstruct his computer searches from March 16 to March 23.
News Item A-2: "Forensic Mining With (ADS-B), by John Croft, Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 3, 2015
A chance download of auxiliary data from three ground-based receivers in crowd-sourced surveillance provider Flightradar24’s European network, yielded what could be the defining moment in the final minutes of Germanwings (RFG) Flight 9525 on March 24, and it is potentially a new source of forensics data available for the accident investigators.
Cloaked in reams of stored data that Flightradar technicians downloaded 90 minutes after the crash, and deciphered two days later, appears to be a change in the A320’s autopilot-commanded altitude from cruise flight at Flight Level (FL) 380 (approximately 38,000 ft) down to 100 ft, the minimum, the system will accept.
Commanded altitude is one of many so-called Downlink Aircraft Parameters (DAP) that can be included as auxiliary information from Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) “Out” avionics, but the data today is not considered part of the primary 1090-MHz Mode S extended squitter surveillance stream that is rebroadcast and recorded. The primary data, meant to mimic radar coverage, includes airplane identification, position and speed and vertical speed broadcasted every 0.5 sec by an airplane.
Mikael Robertsson, Flightradar24 Co-Founder, said the primary (ADS-B) data makes up only 5% of the information it captures every 4 - 5 sec from its more than >6,200 receivers in a global network. “It is a lot of extra information we normally don’t upload,” he said of the other 95%, which includes (DAP) data. “We save it in the memory of the receiver, just in case something happens.”
Along with commanded altitude, there are a growing number of auxiliary (ADS-B) parameters (commanded speed and vertical speed, roll angle and magnetic heading among them) being eyed for a variety of advanced safety and efficiency applications. European air traffic controllers are among the first to begin experimenting with the use of the auxiliary data for enhanced safety.
A change in Flight 9525’s commanded altitude could be a key forensic finding when coupled with a French criminal prosecutor’s assertion, based in part on the recovered cockpit voice recorder (CVR), that the A320’s Co-Pilot (FC) purposefully locked the Captain (FC) out of the cockpit and descended the A320 into the ground. If true, it would appear that the Co-Pilot (FC) used the altitude input to command the Airbus A320’s autopilot to initiate the dive. Flightradar24’s analysis of the (DAP) data shows that seconds after the altitude command was input, the A320’s continuous descent began.
There has been no official confirmation of the suspected command input by the French accident investigation agency, (BEA), but neither has there been a request for Flightradar24 to retract its assertion. “The (BEA) contacted us 45 minutes after the accident and requested this data,” said Flightradar24 Co-Founder, Mikael Robertsson. “We sent them the data 2 hours later.”
Decoded transponder data from Flightradar24 shows a commanded altitude change that may have sent Flight 9525 into the Alps.
Europe is testing (DAP) parameters including barometric pressure (QNH) and commanded altitude that pilots (FC) set in the cockpit. With (QNH) in hand, controllers can compare it with the actual barometric pressure in cruise or at a landing site to ensure the pilots (FC) have set the instrumentation correctly. For commanded altitude, controllers can compare the value the pilots (FC) set against the assigned altitude to catch errors or misunderstandings about clearances. It is not clear in the case of Flight 9525 if (DAP) data was collected and stored by the European radar sites that capture the primary (ADS-B) data. In the USA, the auxiliary data is currently not used by controllers nor is it saved.
For Flightradar24, capturing the auxiliary data was a race against the clock, as a receiver’s memory fills up in 4 - 5 hrs and is overwritten with fresh data. Built by Germany’s Gunter Kollner Embedded Development, the receivers have a secure digital (SD) card that can store weeks or months of data; however, Flightradar24 had to disable the memory storage option several years ago as the (SD) card’s life limits were too short. That leaves only the receiver’s internal memory for storage, a capability the company is attempting to increase by a factor of 2 - 3 through compression techniques.
Robertsson says a Technician (MT) was able to connect to the three receivers near the French Alps impact site approximately 90 minutes after the crash and download the data of interest. The capture represented the first successful download of the auxiliary data after an accident. Two earlier tries did not pan out. In March 2014, when Robertsson learned that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight 370 was missing, 6 hours had passed since the 777’s diversion from its course, and a receiver in the vicinity had overwritten data from that flight. The company also made an attempt to download stored data on a receiver in the Ukraine in July 2014 following the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight 17, but the receiver “crashed before we managed to download the data,” said Robertsson. “[The] Germanwings (RFG) [crash] was the first time we really managed to get the data in time,” he said.
Using (ADS-B) documentation and signal specifications, Flightradar24 Technicians (MT) decoded the stored data, focusing on the (QNH) value of 1006 mbar, which was the barometric pressure at Barcelona, Spain, when the airplane departed. Robertsson said (QNH) is always paired with commanded altitude in the data stream, and commanded altitude could be compared against tracking data from earlier in the flight. Robertsson was not yet sure why the (QNH) setting remained the same during the flight, as pilots (FC) would be expected to enter a standard pressure of 1013 mbar during cruise at FL380. He said two A320 pilots who viewed the data believe the (QNH) was set for the departure airport and not updated.
Editor's note: this article was published before the (BEA) confirmed the Co-Pilot (FC) of Flight 9525 modified the airplane's speed after programming it to fly into the ground.
May 2015: The Lufthansa Group, which had planned to retire its low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary Germanwings (RFG) brand by integrating it into Eurowings (EWG) by the end of the year, will keep it until the dispute with pilot (FC) union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) is resolved.
September 2015: News Item A-1: "Lufthansa Pilots Stage Walkout September 8 - 9; 140,000 Travelers Affected" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, September 8, 2015.
Lufthansa (DLH) pilots (FC), represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, started a two-day walkout, which affected operations September 8 to 9. (DLH) said that 140,000 travelers were affected as it canceled 1,000 flights.
The first day affected long-haul and cargo flights, while the second day targeted (DLH)’s short- and medium-haul network, including Germanwings (RFG).
(VC), which staged the walkout in a dispute over pay and conditions, said (DLH)’s Airbus A330, A340, A380, and Boeing 747 departures from Germany between 0800 and 2359 on September 8 were affected, along with all Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) departures.
During normal operations, (DLH) would have operated 1,500 passenger and seven cargo flights on September 8. (DLH) said it had brought in volunteer pilots (FC) and it only canceled 84 of 170 long-haul flights. It maintained 90 intercontinental and all seven scheduled cargo flights. “With a relatively large number of cockpit (FC) personnel indicating their willingness to fly, (DLH) was able to operate more than half of its intercontinental passenger services despite the (VC)’s strike call. All in all, 84 long-haul services from or to Frankfurt, Munich or Düsseldorf had to be canceled, while 90 such flights were operated,” (DLH) said.
On September 9, the short- and medium-haul strike ran from 0001 until 2359. (VC) said all A320, 737 and Embraer departures from Germany were affected.
(VC) spokesman, Markus Wahl said the walkout was a “last resort” after the two sides failed to reach agreement in their collective labor negotiations, which are focused on growth, cost control and the Eurowings (EWG) project.
October 2015: News Item A-1: The Lufthansa Group delivered a nine-month net profit of +€1.75 billion/+$ 1.97 billion, up +262.7% from +€482 million in the year-ago period. Lufthansa attributed the significant improvement to its strong summer business to the group’s passenger airlines, low oil prices, and a €500 million profit from its equity stake sale in JetBlue (JBL) in the first half.
It also identified a cost savings of -€1 billion for 2016 to remain competitive.
Lufthansa Group Chairman & (CEO), Carsten Spohr said the results “confirm we are on the right track, and that our chosen strategy is having its desired effect. But we cannot expect to fly for too long with a tailwind of low oil prices.”
Lufthansa refined its forecast for the full year to an adjusted (EBIT) of +€1.75 to +€1.95 billion. This forecast does not incorporate any strike-related costs that might be incurred between now and year-end.
Revenue rose +7.4% to € 24.3 billion, while investments declined -13.6% to €1.93 billion. Operating income was +€1.55 billion, up +62.2% from +€954 million in the prior-year period. The group’s operating cash flow stood at €3.2 billion after the first nine months, some +€1.1 billion up year-on-year.
Favorable exchange rates, as better capacity utilization, drove the positive results. “We have deliberately refrained from further growth, and currently have 25 fewer aircraft in service than we planned to have at this time back in 2012,” Spohr said.
The group generated traffic revenue of €19.4 billion, up +5% from €18.46 billion. Its nine-month adjusted (EBIT) margin amounts to 7%, some +2.6% points above previous year’s level.
“If we exclude the fuel cost and currency factors, our unit costs saw a further increase in the third quarter. And we cannot be satisfied with this trend,” (CFO), Simone Menne added.
The group saw improvement at Austrian Airlines (AUL), which reported a positive (EBIT) of +€61 million for the period, reversed from a -€4 million loss in the year-ago period. Swiss International Airlines (CSR)’s nine-month earnings rose by +€163 million to +€375 million.
Germanwings (RFG) has not just reached breakeven, but clearly exceeded its target, according to the group. “So we must continue to work hard on the competitiveness of our cost structures. And here we have already identified cost savings of around -€1 billion for 2016,” Carsten Spohr said, adding, “Our aim here is not to have to further adjust our network to our costs, but to give ourselves a competitive cost structure that will enable us to once again open up new routes and tap new markets.”
December 2015: "Germany Plans Compulsory Drug Tests for Pilots (FC)"
by (ATW) Alan Dron, December 28, 2015.
Germany plans to introduce legislation requiring random testing for drugs and alcohol among the nation’s airline pilots (FC) in the aftermath of the Germanwings (RFG) Airbus A320 crash in March, according to media reports December 27.
Germany’s Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt, was quoted as saying that a task force from his ministry looking into the circumstances behind the crash, in which 150 people died, had recommended the measure, placing responsibility on airlines to conduct such checks.
The crash happened after co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz barricaded himself alone on the flight deck and switched the aircraft’s selected altitude from 38,000 ft to 100 ft (beginning an intentional fatal descent into the French Alps).
Although the formal accident report on Germanwings (RFG) flight 9525 is still awaited, leaks of subsequent investigations into his background have revealed an apparent history of psychological problems, which he allegedly concealed from his employers. “I think it’s sensible that pilots (FC) are checked on a random basis for the consumption of alcohol, drugs and medicines,” Dobrindt was reported as telling "Bild am Sonntag."
The measure appears to be separate from European Aviation Safety Agency recommendations following the crash.
February 2016: "(EASA) Seeks Views on Two-people-in-the-cockpit Policy" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, February 2, 2016.
(EASA) has launched an online survey to assess the effectiveness of maintaining two flight crew (FC) people in the cockpit during flight, as recommended in the wake of the Germanwings (RFG) March 24, 2015 tragedy.
On March 24, 2015, a Germanwings (RFG) Airbus A320 was on a scheduled flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf when it crashed, killing all 150 people aboard. A preliminary report revealed that co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz, alone on the flight deck, switched the selected altitude from 38,000 ft to 100 ft (the minimum value possible on an Airbus A320) and increased the speed of the aircraft, setting in motion an intentional fatal descent into the French Alps.
Just three days after the crash, on March 27, 2015, (EASA) recommended that two flight crew (FC) members, including at least one qualified pilot (FC), should occupy the cockpit during flight, or that the operator should implement “equivalent measures,” however this is not a requirement.
This recommendation was based on the technical investigation performed by France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) and was maintained by the July 2015 Germanwings Task Force report.
(EASA) is now seeking feedback from “operators, pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA), authorities and other interested parties” to assess the effectiveness of the two-person-in-the-cockpit recommendation. It launched an online survey on February 1 and has set March 11 as the closing date for submissions. (EASA) asks for contact details to be provided, but all responses will be aggregated and kept confidential.
“By April 2016 the agency [EASA] will publish on the (EASA) website a summary of the answers/comments received, following an evaluation of the answers received. The summary will be followed by an (EASA) proposal on how to implement the recommendations of the (RFG) task force,” (EASA) said.
In the USA, there is no explicit rule requiring two flight crew (FC) members to be in the cockpit during flight; however, this has evolved as an (FAA)-approved standard operating procedure for USA carriers.
March 2016: News Item A-1: The Lufthansa Group has reported a 2015 net profit of +€1.7 billion/+$1.9 billion, up significantly from a net profit of +€55 million in 2014, although the main contributors were lower fuel prices and money received from withdrawing its stake in USA carrier JetBlue Airways (JBL).
(CFO), Simone Menne confirmed the improved results were helped by the “known effect of the (JBL) write-back of €503 million, as well as -€976 million less in fuel costs.”
It was reported February 18 that Lufthansa (DLH) shed its stake in USA-based carrier (JBL) after more than >7 years. The exit plan was through an early redemption of (DLH) bonds convertible into (JBL) shares.
Full-year revenue increased to €32 billion, up +6.8% from 2014, while capital expenditures were down 7.5% to €2.57 billion. The investments were made mainly in fleet and new on board products.
(DLH) Chairman & (CEO), Carsten Spohr told analysts and reporters in Frankfurt: “With the Germanwings (RFG) tragedy, 2015 was an emotionally very challenging year for the Lufthansa Group: a year of extremes. The numerous strikes were a further burden. Nevertheless, we continued to successfully work on our group’s future viability and our strategic realignment is progressing well.”
Spohr said the company has already paid a double-digit million euro amount to relatives and friends of those who were killed in the March 24, 2015 Germanwings (RFG) crash. It was discovered the Airbus A320 was flown deliberately into the French Alps during a scheduled flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, killing all 150 people aboard.
The adjusted (EBIT) of the Passenger Airline Group was €1.5 billion (compared to €701 million for 2014), doubling the adjusted (EBIT) margin to 6.1%.
The adjusted (EBIT) of Lufthansa (DLH) Passenger Airlines increased +143% to €970 million.
Results for Eurowings (EWG) (including Germanwings (RWG)) were also included in these numbers. Eurowings (EWG) alone (which will be reported separately from 2016 onward) achieved an adjusted (EBIT) of €8 million on revenues of €1.9 billion (a performance that “not only meets but exceeds the ambitious 2015 target of a break even for the group’s point-to-point business),” Spohr said.
“The doubling in the passenger airlines’ result is not only due to lower fuel costs, but also to the favorable developments in our passenger volumes and to our capacity discipline,” Spohr said.
Lufthansa (DLH) had been strict in aircraft capacity in 2015 and operated -15 fewer aircraft compared to the year before.
The group transported nearly 108 million passengers, which Spohr described as a new record. “We still have to reduce our fleet types further. We want to phase out three sub-fleets this year by phasing out Boeing 737, Fokker F 70/F 100 and Avro [aircraft]. By 2025, the Lufthansa Group will receive 251 new aircraft,” Spohr said.
Its subsidiary, Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) achieved earnings of +€429 million, an increase of +54% and an (EBIT) margin of 9.4%.
Austrian Airlines (AUL) posted earnings of +€52 million compared to +€9 million in 2014.
Lufthansa Group’s (ASK)s rose +3% to 268.1 billion, (RPK)s were up +2.7% to 214.6 billion, producing a load factor of 80.1% LF, up +0.3% over the year-ago period.
(CFO), Simone Menne said (DLH) plans to invest €2.7 billion in 2016 and €2.5 billion in the following years.
Nevertheless, (DLH) adjusted its planned growth for 2016 slightly downward as a result of worldwide instability. “In total, we are expecting a slight earnings improvement for the passenger airlines in 2016,” Menne said. “Unit costs for Lufthansa Passenger Airlines are still too high. That means competitive collective wage agreements are necessary. The wage negotiations at (DLH) Passenger Airlines are still ongoing,” Spohr said.
“For 2016 we are aiming to increase our result for the Lufthansa Group again, to enhance the profitability of our hub airlines by further modernizing their fleets and further increasing efficiency,” Spohr added.
News Item A-2: "Germanwings Investigator Urges Changes to Pilot Medical Privacy Laws" by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, March 13, 2016.
Europe should change rules governing doctor-patient privacy, when the patient’s mental state and job could put lives at risk, the French accident agency heading the investigation into the crash of Germanwings (RFG) flight 9525 recommends.
The Airbus A320 was flown deliberately into the French Alps during a scheduled flight in March 2015 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, killing all 150 people aboard. A preliminary report on the crash by French agency (BEA) revealed that co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz, alone on the flight deck, switched the selected altitude from 38,000 ft to 100 ft (the minimum value possible on an Airbus A320) and increased the speed of the aircraft, setting in motion an intentional descent into the French Alps.
It was later discovered that Lubitz, who locked the pilot (FC) out of the cockpit and refused to open the door in the last minutes of the flight, was seeking treatment for depression. A private physician referred him to a psychotherapist and psychiatrist one month before the accident and diagnosed possible psychosis two weeks before the accident, the (BEA) report states. The psychiatrist prescribed anti-depressants one month before the accident and other anti-depressants, along with sleeping aid medication, eight days before the accident. But none of the health care providers reported any aeronautical medical concerns to authorities.
“It is likely that breaching medical confidentiality was perceived by these doctors as presenting more risks, in particular for themselves, than not reporting the co-pilot (FC) to authorities,” the (BEA) report stated.
(BEA) recommended the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EC) develop guidelines towards establishing clear rules that would require healthcare providers to inform appropriate authorities, when a specific patient’s health is very likely to impact public safety, including when the patient refuses to consent, without legal risk to the healthcare provider.
“These rules should take into account the specificities of pilots (FC), for whom the risk of losing their medical certificate, being not only a financial matter but also a matter related to their passion for flying, may deter them from seeking appropriate health care,” the report stated.
Among other recommendations, (BEA) calls for (EASA) to permit pilots (FC) prescribed anti-depressants to be assessed fit to fly, where a medical assessor considers them safe. Similarly, (BEA) recommended mitigating the financial and loss-of-license risks to a pilot (FC), who self-declares a mental illness diagnosis.
The report attributes “the co-pilot (FC)’s probable fear of losing his ability to fly as a professional pilot (FC), if he had reported his decrease in medical fitness” as a possible contributor to the crash, as well as the potential financial consequences from a lack of insurance covering loss of income, in case of unfitness to fly. The report also cited a lack of clear guidelines in German regulations on when a threat to public safety outweighs the requirements of medical confidentiality. Germanwings (rfg) is part of the Lufthansa Group.
The 110-page report also commented on potential remedies for ensuring another crew (FC) member can enter a locked cockpit from the cabin in an emergency, including a special key that a pilot (FC) would carry when leaving the cockpit, changing the door position of the fore lavatory so that it is accessible only from the cockpit, or the use of pre-recorded finger prints for the flight crew (FC).
But (BEA) concluded these remedies would all be at the detriment of security or bring additional cost with little or no additional benefit to security, so made no recommendation to modify cockpit doors.
December 2016: "(EASA) Proposes New Rules after Germanwings Deliberate Crash by (ATW) Victoria Moores email@example.com, December 12, 2016.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has proposed a new set of flight crew (FC) mental health rules, formed following lessons learned after a Germanwings (RFG) Airbus A320 (en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf) was deliberately flown into the French Alps March 24, 2015, killing all 150 people aboard.
Investigations revealed that co-pilot (FC) Andreas Lubitz, alone on the flight deck, switched the selected altitude from 38,000 ft to 100 ft (the minimum value possible on an Airbus A320) and increased the speed of the aircraft, setting in motion an intentional fatal descent into the French Alps.
(EASA) describes the proposal as “new operational rules to better support pilot (FC) mental fitness.” Specifically, the body is proposing that flight crew (FC) should undergo a mandatory psychological assessment before being hired, as well as systematic drug and alcohol testing upon employment.
This substance testing would also be used in the event of a serious accident or incident, with “reasonable suspicion,” and randomized after the crew member returns to work. The new requirements also propose that all flight crew (FC) should have access to a support program. “The proposed rules have been subject to consultation with all stakeholders concerned. As part of a total system approach, they complement the proposals (EASA) issued in August of this year, on the update of medical requirements for pilots (FC) (Part-MED),” (EASA) said.
This latest development takes the form of an official “opinion” that will be fed into the European rule-making process during 2017.
March 2017: News Item A-1: Lufthansa (DLH), Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) and Germanwings (EFG) have reached a deal with the Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union (VC) on all collective bargaining agreements concerning wages, productivity, transitional payments and pensions, in a contract that runs through June 2022.
Talks between (DLH) and (VC) have been ongoing since 2014 and have resulted in 14 pilot (FC) strikes that cost the German airline group €500 million/$532 million). According to (DLH), the recommendation developed in February by mediator Gunter Pleuger for the collective wage agreement formed 1 part of the considerations. But the new agreement has made a formal acceptance of the arbitration recommendations unnecessary. Likewise, (DLH) said it will not be pursuing a previously announced plan to staff 40 newly acquired aircraft outside the group-wide collective bargaining agreement (KTV).
Details of the various collective bargaining agreements will be worked out over the next few months. According to (DLH), the agreement provides a 1-off balance-sheet reduction through the conversion of the pension schemes. In return for the cost-reducing elements of the agreement, 325 aircraft will be crewed in the current (KTV) flight operations in stages by 2022. “This will make it possible for (DLH) to hire trainee pilots (FC) again in the coming years and create career prospects for pilots (FC) with a large number of positions for prospective captains. A reciprocal agreement to refrain from industrial action for the duration of the talks has already been reached, and is set to be formalized in a collective bargaining agreement that will last until 2022.”
Deutsche Lufthansa (DLH) Head of Legal Affairs & Human Resources Bettina Volkens said, “With this declaration of intent, we have finally reached a breakthrough. The path is now clear for a comprehensive settlement with Vereinigung Cockpit on all unresolved collective bargaining issues. This is not only the end of the longest collective bargaining dispute in our company’s history (it also creates a sustainable deal that will last until 2022 and, at the same time, lays the foundation for a new social partnership with the Vereinigung Cockpit).”
The agreement is subject to board approval and a (VC) ballot.
June 2017: 2 A319-132 (4227; 4256) transferred to Eurowings Europe (RFG). 3 A320-211 (117; 217; 218), ferried to Teruel for storage.
October 2017: News Item A-1: "Lufthansa, Pilots' Union Bring End to Strikes with Signing of Labor Deal" by Victoria Bryan, "Reuters" October 10, 2017.
Lufthansa (DLH) and its main pilots (FC)'s union put an end to years of wrangling over pay, pensions and conditions on October 10, signing a wide-ranging agreement which is expected to reduce staff costs and boost (DLH)'s profits this year.
The signing of the deal, which is valid until 2022 and therefore rules out strikes before then, boosted shares in Lufthansa (DLH), sending them up +3.5% to a fresh 16-year high of 24.92 euros.
(DLH) has been trying to bring down costs to better compete with leaner rivals on both short and long-haul routes. But its efforts to overhaul its labor agreement with the Vereinigung Cockpit union, which represents about 5,400 pilots (FC) at its Lufthansa (DLH), Germanwings (RFG) and Cargo subsidiaries, had led to repeated strikes over the last few years.
The 2 sides came to a framework agreement in March but the exact details required further work. The collective labor agreement will now be put to union members for a vote, a process which is expected to take until mid-December.
The deal includes a shift from a defined benefit to a defined contribution pension scheme, more flexible working hours and aims to increase the average retirement age of pilots (FC).
It will bring (DLH)'s cockpit staff costs down by -15% and reduce pension liabilities this year by a high 3-digit million euro amount, while earnings before interest and tax will be increased by a significant 3-digit million euro amount. "Better cost structures, especially on short-haul routes, will improve the market position of (DLH)," Vereiniung Cockpit board member Joerg Handwerg said.
In exchange (DLH) said at least 325 of its planes will be flown by pilots (FC) under the new German collective agreement and therefore means it will start hiring junior pilots (FC) again.
Pilots (FC) at (DLH), Lufthansa Cargo (LUB),and Germanwings (RFG) will receive pay increases in stages totaling 10.3%, plus a 1-off payment of up to 1.8x their monthly salary, for the period from May 2012, when the last collective labor deal expired, until June 2022.
"This compromise opens up career prospects for our pilots (FC) and makes an important contribution to the competitiveness of our company," (DLH) personnel Head Bettina Volkens said.
Click below for photos:
RFG-A319 - 2013-04
RFG-A320-214 7056 OE-1QD - 2017-04.jpg
0 717-2CM (BM715A1-30) (5023-55059, /00 EC-HNY; 5026-55060, /00 EC-HNZ), (BST) 5 MTH WET-LSD 2004-10. BOTH RTND. 115Y.
0 737-300, (HLB) WET-LSD 2002-09. RTND.
0 737-4YO (CFM56-3), (SNS) SHORT-TERM WET-LSD 2004-06. RTND.
8 ORDERS A319:
2 +16/12 ORDERS A319 (V2500), 156 PAX:
2 A319-111 (3651, EC-KUB; 3744, EC-LEI), 2010-03.
5 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/P) (646, /97 D-AKNF "ALBRECHT DURER;" 654, /97 D-AKNG "JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE;" 794, /98 D-AKNH "HEINRICH HEINE;" 1016, /99 D-AKNI "JOHANNES GUTENBURG" - SEE PHOTO, 2007-02; 1172, /00 D-AKNJ "CITY OF ATHENS"), 1 WET-LSD (DLH) 2000-04. ALL 5 WET-LST (LHI) 2009-03. 150Y.
10 A319-112 (CFM56-5B6/P) (1077, /99 D-AKNK, 2005-09; 1084, /99 D-AKNL, 2005-10; 1089, /99 D-AKNM, 2005-11; 1136, /99 D-AKNN, 2005-06; 1147, /99 D-AKNO, 2005-06; 1155, /99 D-AKNP, 2005-06; 1170, /00 D-AKNQ, 2005-07; 1209, /00 D-AKNR, 2005-05; 1277, /00 D-AKNS; 2607, /05 D-AKNT; 2628, /05 D-AKNU; 2632, /05 D-AKNV), EX-(USA), (GEF) LSD. 150Y.
2 A319-114 (CFM56-5A5) (651, D-AILI; 636, D-AILF; 679, /97 D-AILJ; 689, D-AILL; 700, /97 D-AILN; 738, D-AILT; 860, D-AILX), (DLH) LSD. 738; 860; RTND (DLH) 2005-02. 636; 651; RTND 2005-10. 651- WET-LST (LHI) 2009-03. 150Y.
15 A319-132 (V2524-A5) (2813, /06 D-AGWA, 2006-07; 2833, /06 D-AGWB, 2006-07; 2976, /06 D-AGWC, 2007-01; 3011, /07 D-AGWD, 2007-01; 3128, /07 D-AGWE, 2007-05; 3172, /07 D-AGWF, 2007-07; 3193, /07 D-AGWG, 2007-07; 3352, /07 D-AGWH, 2008-01; 3358, /08 D-AGWI, 2008-01; 3375, /08 D-AGWJ, 2008-02; 3500, /08 D-AGWK, 2008-04; 3534, /08 D-AGWL, 2008-05; 3651; 3839, /09 D-AGWM, 2009-03; 3841, /09 D-AGWN, 2009-03; 3948, D-AGWO; 4166, /10 D-AGWP, 2010-01; 4227, /10 D-AGWP, 2010-03; 4256, /10 D-AGWQ, 2010-03; 4285, /10 D-AGWR, 2010-04; 4998, D-AGWS, 2012-01), 4227 AND 4256 TRANSFERRED TO EUROWINGS EUROPE (RFG) 2017-06. 150Y.
3 A320-200, EX-(VBD), (ILF) LSD.
0 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (071, /89 D-AIPC; 072, /89 D-AIPD), (DLH) LSD OPS FOR GERMANWINGS 2003-03. ALL RTND. 150Y.
0 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (086, /90 D-AIPH), (DLH) LSD 2002-05 TIL 2003-03. 150Y.
0 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (147, /91 D-AIPX), (DLH) LSD 2003-07, OPS FOR GERMANWINGS. ACCDT: MARCH 24, 2015 - - CRASHED IN FRENCH ALPS - APL DESTROYED. 150Y.
0 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (382, /92 D-AIQR), (DLH) LSD 2002-10, OPS FOR GERMANWINGS. RTND. 150Y.
7 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (117, D-AIPT, 2017-06; 202, D-AIQD, 2014-08; 216, D-AIQF, 2014-08; 217, D-AIQH, 2017-06; 218, D-AIQK, 2017-06; 267, D-AIQL, 2016-06; 268, D-AIQM, 2014-06), EX-(F-WWIB, F-WWDM, & F-WWDR). 117; 217; 218;
0 A320-212 (CFM56-5A3) (525, /95 D-AKNX; 579, /96 D-AKNY; 645, /97 D-AKNZ), (ILF) LSD, 525; RTND; LST ROSSIYA 2008-01. ALL RTND. 174Y.
2 B AE 146-200 (ALF502R-5) (E2060; E2066; RTND B AE (2003-06), 92Y.
2 B AE 146-200QT.
4 B AE 146-300 (ALF502R-5), B AE SYSTEMS LSD. +6 ORDERS. 98Y.
2 ATR 42-300 (PW120) (121, 30 RTND ATR 2000-02) (158, D-BCRP, 2002-06). 233 SOLD 2001-08, 158 LST AVANTI AIR 2002-06. 44Y.
6 ATR 42-512 (PW127E) (532; 546; 549; 551; 559) (581, D-BPPP; 603, D-BTTT), 559 RTND 2003-03. 601; 602; 546; TRANSFERRED TO CONTACT AIR 2003-05 & 2003-10. 549; 603; TO CONTACTAIR 2004-06. 44Y.
0 ATR 72-212 (PW127) (224; 229; 256; 292; 294; 347; 359; 658) ALL TO (FED), 2005-06. 68Y.
00 ORDERS FAIRCHILD DORNIER 728JET, 30 CANCELED:
13 +38 OPTIONS CRJ-200 (CL-600-2B19) (CF34-3B1) (7032, D-ANIK; 7036, D-ANIM, 7489, KEN), LAL LSD, (7455) (7309; /01 7316). 5770, D-ACRB; 7567, D-ACRA; 7573, /01 D-ACRC; 7583, /01 D-ACRD; 7607, D-ACRE; 7619, D-ACRF; 7630, D-ACRG). (7862, /03 D-ACRI; 7864, /03 D-ACRJ; 7866, /03 D-ACRK). 7309; & 7316 RTND 2003-12. 7866 NTU. 150Y.
2 CRJ-200 (CF34-3B1) (7478, D-ACRM; 7629, D-ACRQ), TRANSFERRED FROM AIR DOLOMITI 2005-06. 150Y.
1 BOMBARDIER CRJ-700 (CF34-8C1) (UK LAUNCH CST) (10029, /01 D-ACSC), EX-(MSK) (G-DUOC) 2007-01. 64Y.
13 CRJ-900LR (CL-600-2D24) (CD34-8C) (15229, D-ACNA, 2009-05 - - SEE PHOTO - - "EWG-CRJ-900-2009-05;" 15230, D-ANB "WERMELSKIRCHEN" 2009-05; 15236, D-ACNC "WEIL AM RHEIM" 2009-05; 15238, D-ACND, 2009-07; 15241, D-ACNE "HELMSTEDT; 15243, D-ACNF "MONTABAU" 2009-07; 15245, D-ACNG, 2009-10; 15247, D-ACNH, 2009-11; 15248, D-ACNI, 2009-12; 15249, D-ACNJ, 2010-01; 15252, D-ACNL, 2010-03; 15253, D-ACNM, 2010-04; 15254, D-ACNN, 2010-04; 15255, D-ACNO, 2010-05, 15259, /10D-ACNP; 15260, /11 D-ACNQ; 15263 /11 D-ACNR; 15264, /11 D-ACNT; 15267, /11 D-ACNU; 15268, /11 D-ACNV; 15269, /11 D-ACNW; 15270, /11 D-ACNX). LEASED FROM (EWG) 2013. 90Y.
Click below for photos:
RFG-1-CARSTEN SPOHR - 2015-03.jpg
RFG-1-THOMAS WINKELMANN -MD-2011-04
RFG-BIERWIRTH AND KLEIN CHMN MD-2006-06-A
JOACHIM KLEIN, CHAIRMAN.
OLIVER WAGNER, MANAGING DIRECTOR.
THOMAS WINKELMANN, MANAGING DIRECTOR (2006-09).
DR ANDREAS BIERWIRTH, MANAGING DIRECTOR.
FRIEDRICH-WILHELM WEITHOLZ, PRESIDENT (1999-09).
HEINZ JOACHIM SCHOTTES, SENIOR VP CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS.
KARL-HEINZ KRUGER, DIRECTOR MAINTENANCE, FLIGHT & GROUND OPERATIONS.
ULLI MOERS, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.
CAPTAIN KRISTJOF TRITSCHLER, MANAGER FATIGUE RISK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (FRMS).