Eurowings eyes Thai destinations
Frankfurt: Bangkok and Phuket are set to be among the first five destinations for the inaugural intercontinental foray by Germany's Eurowings.
The two Thai cities along with Dubai in the UAE, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Varadero in Cuba are seen as a sure bet for the successful long-haul launch by the offspring of Germany's Lufthansa Group.
They are popular vacation hot spots among Germans and other Europeans who turn up in droves during the winter when Eurowings' maiden long-distance flights from Cologne Bonn airport begin.
Kicking off Eurowings' long-haul flight inauguration on Nov 2 will be two flights a week to the Cuban resort town of Varadero, executives said.
That will be followed by the Nov 7 launch of three weekly services to Punta Cana, one of the most visited regions in all of the Caribbean.
On Dec 17, Eurowings will commence three weekly flights to Dubai.
Flights to Phuket and Bangkok, each twice weekly, will start on Dec 18 and Dec 20, respectively.
Jens Bischof, a member of the executive board of Lufthansa German Airlines, said Eurowings' introduction of long-haul flights was a reflection of the group's strategic expansion in both the premium and the budget sectors of the airline industry.
"This is something aggressive to show that we are tapping all segments and to meet all challenges," he told a media briefing.
There are more than 10 airlines under the German airline group including the flagship Lufthansa and full-service brands such as Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines and Brussels Airlines as well as no-frills carriers such as Germanwings.
Eurowings is aimed at price-sensitive leisure travellers, adopting the price model introduced by its sister carrier Germanwings with "basic, smart and best" fares, depending on the add-on services and requirements.
For instance, the basic one-way fare to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport starts from 7,369 baht and for Phuket at 6,899 baht.
Eurowings has adopted the business and marketing concepts successfully pursued by Germanwings, which positions itself as an innovative, quality low-cost airline.
While Germanwings targets the German air travel market, Eurowings is expanding the concept throughout Europe and will further extend it to intercontinental destinations.
Eurowings started operating its first Airbus 320 in February, with four aeroplanes of similar type joining its fleet in the summer.
Eurowings' long-haul service will start with two Airbus A330-200s with 310 seats and a Boeing 767, with the overall wide-body aeroplane fleet later growing to seven.
The fleet could expand to 100, subject to market response to the business concept, Mr Bischof added.