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Lufthansa to re-launch new Germanwings budget airline with a la carte service-fare concept

German major, Lufthansa will re-launch its budget airline Germanwings on July 1, 2013, with a new brand and product concept allowing all passengers to enjoy “à la carte flying”.

Passengers will then be able to create their own package and adapt it in detail to their individual needs, from low-cost flying without add-ons to a high-quality passenger experience with lots of amenities and extras.

Keeping to its motto “Reasonably priced but not cheap”, passengers will be able to choose from three basic Economy Class fare-service offerings – Best, Smart and Basic.

The Best fare, similar to GoBusiness offered by Indian low fare carrier GoAir, offers the highest product currently available on inter-European low-cost routes. Passengers will be seated in the first three rows of the cabin with a seat pitch of 32 inches (36 inches in GoAir), and with the middle seat empty. The fare includes access to Lufthansa lounges, priority check-in and the use of the fast lane at security checks, more miles in the Miles & More programme, HON Circle miles, double the baggage allowance (two items weighing 23 kilograms each), à la carte catering on board, flexible rebooking and ticket cancellation.

The Smart fare will correspond to a conventional Economy product, seating towards the front of the aircraft with the same 32-inch seat pitch as those on the Best fare. Smart includes catering in the form of a snack and non-alcoholic drinks as well as a 23-kilogram baggage allowance. Ticket changes will be allowed for a fee.

The Basic fare, is the lowest and will compete with conventional low-cost products. No food or drink, and no baggage allowance. Seating with 29 inch seat pitch, will be from row eleven back.

Basic fares start at €33 one-way, Smart fares from €53, and Best will be in the €199-€399 range.

Germanwings will also offer passengers the ability to add extras to the Smart and Basic fares to simply and flexibly build a product they desire. For example Smart fare passengers can add on lounge access for €25.

Along with the new product concept, the Germanwings logo will also change. The core element will be a stylised “W” in blackberry and yellow colours, a succinct symbol chosen to convey the wings from the Germanwings brand. All of the airline’s aircraft will gradually be painted in the new livery following the launch of the new brand concept on 1 July 2013.

The airline will increase direct interaction with customers by further developing mobile booking and information systems. All prices will be communicated fairly and without hidden costs, while a cheaper 0180 telephone number will replace the previous 0900 number.

AviationWeek reports Germanwings will operate 32 Airbus A319s and A320s that have formed the fleet of the current low-fare airline. Lufthansa is shifting over 29 A319/320s for a fleet of 61 narrowbodies. The unit also is wet-leasing 23 Bombardier CRJ-900s from Eurowings, one of the group’s regional subsidiaries. The new Germanwings is to reach €1.8 billion in annual sales and 16 million passengers with a combined fleet of 84 aircraft, slightly fewer than the 90 originally envisaged. Lufthansa has decided not to transfer all of the existing non-hub fleet to the new unit. Some aircraft are shifted to hub flying, and the company has decided to accelerate the retirement of its Boeing 737-300 and -500 fleet.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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