Stand your ground

Eurowings Takes on Ryanair in Frankfurt

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Lufthansa’s budget unit Eurowings is also testing tickets that are valid for 10 trips. Source: DPA

Eurowings, Lufthansa’s low-budget airline, is planning to serve Frankfurt airport, the country’s largest, in a bid to take on its Irish competitor Ryanair.

“We are working on a solution for the summer of 2018,” Eurowings chief executive Karl Ulrich Garnadt said Thursday during a telephone conference with journalists, according to German news agency DPA.

For many years, the German flagship airline had reserved its hubs at Munich and Frankfurt for its core brand Lufthansa, now Europe’s second-largest airline.

But this is changing. Mr. Garnadt said the number of reservations on Eurowings flights from Munich looked very encouraging for the new offer from Frankfurt.

The low-cost carrier is responding to the ever-more successful Ryanair, which last year dethroned Eurowings’ parent company Lufthansa as Europe’s largest airline. Starting this spring, the Irish company is offering flights from Germany’s biggest airport, which it had hitherto shunned because of high fees. Ryanair will start flying four aircraft to Spain and Portugal, with the aim of carrying 400,000 passengers, but further expansion is expected later.

Germany’s largest airline could not just look on and do nothing while its low-cost competitor is getting a foothold on its home turf. “We prefer to do it ourselves before others join in,” Mr. Garnadt said.

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