FRANKFURT Dec 6 Lufthansa AG's
low-cost carrier Germanwings is aiming to woo more business
travelers in its battle against cut-throat competition from
Ryanair and easyJet.
Germanwings will from July 1 next year allow business
customers to exclude options such as priority check-in, catering
a la carte, a second piece of luggage and use of first-class
lounges, aiming to appeal to the more frugal mood among many
"Business travelers now are being ordered to fly economy
class by their companies," Chief Executive Thomas Winkelmann
said on Thursday. Excluding costly options could allow
executives to still take a business class seat without being
bumped down to economy.
Lufthansa is switching some of its short-haul operations to
Germanwings, excluding flights out of hubs Frankfurt and Munich.
The move is in line with a trend among European airlines,
with Air France-KLM increasing its use of Transavia
and British Airways parent IAG planning to convert most
of Iberia's short-haul operation to low cost arm Iberia Express.
Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa board member for the airline's
Passengers business, told reporters that out of the more than
900 million euros ($1.2 billion) savings his division would
contribute to the group's cost-cutting programme, 200 million
would be from Germanwings.
As part of a revenue-boosting drive in the Passengers
division, Lufthansa said it would also launch "premium economy"
for intercontinental flights. Its price category would be lower
than business class but higher than economy.
A "high two-digit" million euros investment is planned for
the premium economy and 30 million for the new Germanwings,
Lufthansa Chief Executive Christoph Franz said on Thursday.
Lufthansa said Germanwings will offer three different
prices, starting from 33 euros one way for "basic", covering
only the ticket, to "best", from 199 euros to 399. "Smart", the
category in the middle, would be priced from 53 euros.