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Eurowings cabin (image: Lufthansa Group)

Eurowings to partner with Norwegian, SunExpress

The chief executive of Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary, Thorsten Dirks, says that the carrier will practice ‘virtual interlining’.

In an effort to boost its performance, Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary Eurowings intends to cooperate with other airlines in the future and offer connections with them for the first time, its chief executive Thorsten Dirks tells the German-language news magazine Focus.

“Initially, our partners will be [Lufthansa-Turkish Airlines venture] SunExpress and Norwegian,” he declares. So it will be possible in the future “to fly from Cologne to Spitsbergen in a single booking”.

If the plan succeeds, transfer connections will initially be offered as “virtual interlining”, Dirks explains, where passengers still have to collect and re-register their luggage when changing from one airline to another.

But Eurowings is “in discussions with airlines and airports to make this step superfluous,” Dirks assures in the interview. In any case, many of Eurowings’ passengers travel only with hand luggage, he adds.

The tickets will include the option of insurance, including alternative transport arrangements, just in case a connection actually fails, he adds.

Open platform
Explaining that Eurowings could join forces with other airlines too, Dirks said: “We are an open platform and are therefore attractive for other cooperation partners.”

Unlike low-cost competitors such as Ryanair and easyJet, which already offer virtual interlining with other airlines on long-haul routes, he said, Eurowings “focuses on Europe”.

Eurowings is still struggling to break even and posted an adjusted EBIT loss of €257 million for Q1 2019. Its capacity growth for 2019 is likely to be zero, group board member and CFO Ulrik Svensson said last week.

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