December 6, 2017
easyJet goes head-to-head with Lufthansa after Air Berlin carve-up
U.K. budget carrier easyJet will now go head-to-head with Lufthansa on domestic German routes after successfully acquiring elements of the now defunct Air Berlin. While currently flying to international destinations from Berlin Schoenfeld airport, the low-cost carrier will now fly four domestic routes to Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart from Berlin Tegel, the larger inner-city airport and previous home to Air Berlin.
In addition to adding domestic German routes to its portfolio, easyJet will also expand its international German services by flying to 15 international destinations, including Zurich, Vienna, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and holiday destinations including Mallorca, from January 5. The carrier has also indicated that it will add more routes from Berlin Tegel for the arrival of the summer season, which starts towards the end of March.
Consequently, easyJet will now be competing heavily for German business customers. “We believe our flight plan from Tegel will be of particular interest to business customers,” said easyJet Europe Managing Director, Thomas Haagensen.
In some ways, this move by easyJet may help to alleviate one of Lufthansa’s current problems, and that is the need to offer concessions so that it can obtain EU approval for its purchase of Niki and LGW. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr has made it clear that the acquisition of Niki would still proceed with virtually no take-off or landing slots if required.
easyJet will now take over from Air Berlin as market leader in Berlin, with passenger numbers estimated to grow from 5.8 million to 16 million. Meanwhile, Ryanair, which did not bid for any parts of Air Berlin, is looking to take over a number of slots at Berlin Tegel, basing nine aircraft there, with the intention of doubling its current passenger numbers from 5 million to 10 million.