Lufthansa Group LCC Eurowings is moving a large part of its long-haul operations to Frankfurt and Munich, the group’s main hub, as part of a wider strategy to rethink of how to tackle the leisure travel market.

“Today, Lufthansa Group is already one of the largest holiday travel providers in all of Europe,” group CCO-network airlines and executive board member Harry Hohmeister said. “Demand is increasing rapidly, especially in this area. It is therefore only consistent that we offer an additional product line in Frankfurt and expand our portfolio in Munich.”

As part of the move, Eurowings will base four Airbus A330-200s in Frankfurt and three in Munich. The aircraft are operated by SunExpress Germany, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, under the Eurowings brand. Four aircraft in the 11-strong Eurowings widebody fleet will remain based in Dusseldorf.

That airport is taking another hit on its long-haul network following the demise of airberlin. Eurowings based its first three aircraft in Dusseldorf in early 2018 and moved another four from Cologne/Bonn in the fall, abandoning the previous base. A large part of the fleet will now be transferred again, only a year later.

Senior Lufthansa sources said they have been less than impressed with the financial performance of Eurowings’ long-haul operation, which has sustained disruptions and was based at an airport where the group could provide little or no feed beyond local demand. At the same time, Lufthansa has been watching the better performance of Edelweiss Air in Zurich.

The carrier operates 10 Airbus A320s, two A330-300s and four A340-300s on leisure routes and cooperates closely with parent Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), which provides feed from its European network.

Lufthansa’s own long-haul network in Frankfurt and Munich is tailored to the needs of business travelers. Because of its high cost base, the airline also cannot serve lower yield leisure destinations on its own. Moving Eurowings to the hubs is one part of the planned solution.

The other part is still in the making: Thomas Cook Group has put its airline division on the market, and Lufthansa is interested in buying back Condor, the Frankfurt-based leisure airline it owned before it became part of the travel group. Condor has based 19 long-haul aircraft in Frankfurt: three A330-200s and 16 Boeing 767-300ERs. It serves a network of leisure destinations from Frankfurt that is complementary to Lufthansa’s routes. Neither side has confirmed the plans.

According to industry sources, Condor and Eurowings are close to announcing a codeshare agreement that would further pave the way toward closer collaboration. The airlines declined to comment.

Eurowings said initial routes from Frankfurt will start in October and include Windhoek, Mauritius and Barbados. It is adding Bangkok from the Munich hub. The airline said the capacity drop in Dusseldorf will be backfilled over time.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com