Munich is about to become a major hub for Lufthansa’s Eurowings.
It is believed the budget subsidiary will be adding as many as 30 destinations to its Munich network. The new flights are set to be launched towards the end of March 2017.
An announcement is expected to be made this coming week.
(As an aside, it also sees Lufthansa and Gulf airline Etihad (which owns almost 30 per cent of Air Berlin) introduce code-sharing on a number of routes).
Why Munich? Until now Lufthansa has used Eurowings to develop short-haul international flights away from its twin hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.
For example, if you fly from London Heathrow to Hamburg or from Paris CDG to Berlin Tegel you will fly with Eurowings and not with Lufthansa mainline.
One suspects Lufthansa is concerned with developments at Munich which is now being targeted by low-cost carriers (LCCs).
Easyjet has been operating successfully out of Munich for a number of years without bothering Lufthansa.
Indeed, as we reported last year Lufthansa was reportedly in talks with Easyjet about interlining. But these talks came to nothing.
But new and future LCC arrivals will be more of a concern.
This year saw Transavia (the LCC operated by Air France/KLM) establish a base at Munich.
While Ryanair has been in discussions with Munich airport since October of last year with a view to expanding its German network.
Why is Lufthansa so worried?
Because the carrier needs a strong network of flights at Munich as feeders to its long-haul routes.
So far Ryanair has not appeared at Munich. The Irish airline continues to fly out of Memmingen which is about two hours away (from city centre Munich).
But Ryanair’s new policy, as we now see at Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Brussels and so on, is to move some operations from these far out airports to the main hubs.
It is only be a matter of time before Ryanair arrives (into Munich). Lufthansa cannot afford to be tardy.