Lufthansa LCC Eurowings is changing its priority focus from growth to profitability, Lufthansa chairman & CEO Carsten Spohr told ATW in Vienna.

“Eurowings is the fastest-growing airline in Europe and will again be profitable next year,” he said. Following a €204 million ($251 million) operating loss in the first quarter 2018, Spohr predicts the LCC will also make an operating loss for the full year.

“We are reaching our strategic goal to operate Eurowings with 210 aircraft and become number three in Europe in terms of size [after LCCs UK’s easyJet and Ireland’s Ryanair]. However, the main problem with Eurowings for us is that we have put growth before profitability for strategic reasons,” he said.

To quickly become the third largest LCC in Europe, Eurowings has made massive investments—especially with significant one-off costs from the integration of former parts of airberlin. For example, the LCC integrated 77 former airberlin aircraft and acquired several new air operator’s certificates, including LGW.

“Also, when you do not have enough aircraft available you lease them—this is what we did, but then you have additional costs on top.”

Eurowings must reach a cost-structure like easyJet. “We will have a similar level on the revenue side,” Spohr said. “We want to achieve [easyJet’s] level of yield—this is our strategic goal,” he said.

Kurt Hofmann