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Germanwings

About Germanwings

The history of the now-defunct Germanwings starts in 1997 when Eurowings established a low-cost division due to the rising demand. In 2002, due to its success, this division became a separate company under the name Germanwings, continuing its growth in the competitive market. With Eurowings as its parent company, itself part of the Lufthansa Group, Germanwings took over some short-haul domestic Lufthansa routes in 2012. A year later, Lufthansa invested further in the brand, transferring 30 of its own aircraft and another 23 from Eurowings, bringing the total fleet size of the low-cost carrier to around 90. The intention was to be a more prominent competitor to compatriot airlines Air Berlin and LTU International Airways, as well as internationally with Ryanair and easyJet.

Germanwings had bases in Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover and Stuttgart and served over 7 million passengers each year in the late 2000s. The carrier also had codeshare agreements with Air Canada, Air Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines and United Airlines. During its nearly two-decade history, Germanwings solely used Airbus aircraft, such as the 160-passenger A319-100 and the 236-passenger A320-200, except for having trialled two 134-passenger Boeing 717-200s during 2004-2005. The carrier decided not to purchase any Boeings after the trial.

Germanwings IATA code was 4U and its brand name was written in lower case in marketing campaigns and on the aeroplanes themselves. Being a low-budget carrier, only economy classed was offered with three different fare types: Basic, Smart and Best. In flight, passengers had the option to purchase food and drink from the Sky Bistro, and the brand’s magazine, GW, included information about its destinations as well as some articles not related to travel.

A feature that made Germanwings stand out was its Blind Booking concept which allowed travellers to purchase a round-trip ticket without knowing the European destination. All one had to do was select the departure airport and the category of travel, such as culture. Travellers would then receive a notification via email as to their destination. The cost of the ticket would always be lower than the going rate for that route should one have selected it directly. The surprise element of the concept was received favourably by travellers.

Lufthansa started to deconstruct the Germanwings brand in 2015, gradually rebranding existing routes and its fleet to Eurowings. It was not until 2017 that the Germanwings brand completely disappeared. This all happened despite Germanwings operating in 2015; Lufthansa simply wished to cut costs and be overall more efficient by focussing on one brand. Eurowings was to become a well-known European brand name, whereas Germanwings was always more focussed on domestic flights. That being said, Germanwings did receive some intercontinental flights during its final years due to Lufthansa’s overall restructuring strategy.

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