Following the bankruptcy of air berlin, the british airline easyjet is now attacking lufthansa on domestic german routes for the first time.
According to the company’s own announcement, berlin-tegel is planning to start 5. January 250 flights a week to domestic destinations in dusseldorf, frankfurt, stuttgart and munich. Also, 15 international destinations such as vienna, zurich or rome will be added to the program, as the company announced in berlin on wednesday. In the meantime, the EU commission wants to obtain feedback from other market participants on the question of the planned takeover of further parts of air berlin by lufthansa. The takeover of air berlin by lufthansa and easyjet is currently being examined by the commission.
With this step, easyjet will be operating four of the most important domestic routes in germany, where air berlin has been absent as a competitor since october. If there will be more such connections like hamburg-munich or dusseldorf-munich was not announced at the moment. For the summer timetable from the end of march more destinations are to be flown to from berlin-tegel, easyjet announced only.
The new service, which is being heavily promoted in the capital, is still subject to EU antitrust approval for easyjet to take over up to 25 jets from the insolvent air berlin, including its takeoff and landing rights. In brussel, the first phase of the review ends on 12 march. December, with a positive decision from the commission expected, as the easyjet offer would mitigate the feared dominance of lufthansa.
Lufthansa, together with its subsidiaries LG walter and niki, wants to take over a substantial part of air berlin’s flight operations with 81 jets and the associated traffic rights for 210 million euros. The EU commission must examine whether distortions of competition or disadvantages for consumers could arise in the case of mergers of relevance throughout europe.
The deadline for the first phase of this review procedure is 21. December. The eu commission can then decide whether to give the go-ahead for the takeover – subject to conditions if necessary – or to initiate an in-depth review. For them, there were another 90 working days.
On wednesday, it was reported in circles that the commission now wants to ask other market participants about the question. In EU competition cases, it is customary for the EU commission to initiate such proceedings.
With easyjet’s entry into the market, average fares could fall simply because of the additional aircraft capacity used. Easyjet is talking about around one million seats that could be sold between the 5th and the end of the year. January and the 24. March additionally.
Easyjet offers domestic oneway tickets starting at around 50 euros, which is about the same level as the lowest booking class of lufthansa. The highest frequency is planned on the munich-berlin route with an average of 14 flights per day. There will be about 10 flights to and from frankfurt.
In addition to the 19 connections from tegel, easyjet also remains an important operator at berlin-schonefeld airport with 51 routes at last count. The company plans to operate the new flights with its own jets, and initially also with leased jets. The trade union verdi supports the takeover offer to about 1000 air berlin employees. After initial hesitation on the part of the staff, there are said to be numerous applications in the meantime. "Demand is higher than supply," it said – even if some of the pilots and flight attendants are still counting on legal action to win a transfer of operations.