A few days ago, Lufthansa Group’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, outlined Lufthansa’s vision for Brussels Airlines and the role that they will play now that Lufthansa Group has decided to acquire all remaining shares of the airline that is does not already own.
The initial announcement stated that Brussels will be integrated in Eurowings, which serves as Lufthansa’s ‘Low Cost Carrier’ product. The recent comments by Spohr suggest that Brussels will continue to operate under its current branding and logo, except for a small footnote stating that it is ‘A member of the Eurowings Group’.
For now it appears that routes and equipment will remain largely unchanged since LH wants Brussels to maintain its dominant position in Belgium and in essence create another fortress hub for Eurowings. Another reason to keep things unchanged at SN for now is the extensive route network it has in Africa and how that can be leveraged for additional benefit to Eurowings. What has not been clarified is how any overlap may be handled as far as route network and staffing is concerned. Additionally, there has been no announcement as to how (if at all), Brussels role may change as a Miles & More / Star Alliance member.
What also has not been clarified as yet is the status of their outstanding Business Class product. I suspect for the near term things will remain unchanged, but it would not surprise me if the product is not ‘adjusted’ to be brought more into the Eurowings LCC model as far as equipment and pricing is concerned. In my opinion, it would be foolish to tamper with SN’s winning formula in Business Class, but my opinion doesn’t really matter in Frankfurt.
A long standing concern for Eurowings has been its viability in a very competitive LCC market in Europe. However, with recent developments such as wet leasing a substantial amount of Air Berlin aircraft along with their routes, and the recent developments with Brussels, it appears that EW has taken a quantum leap that should make it a serious contender in the LCC space.