Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Lufthansa Mulling Berlin as Base for Long-Haul, Low-Cost Flights

  • German capital could get discount routes using Airbus A330s
  • Carrier ended intercontinental services from city in 2001

Deutsche Lufthansa AG may offer long-haul flights from Berlin for the first time in a decade as Europe’s second largest carrier expands its low-cost arm.

Eurowings is looking at stationing Airbus Group SE A330 wide-body jets in the German capital, Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr said at the city’s Tegel airport Monday. It’s already due to get seven of the planes by the end of next year for flights from Cologne to destinations including Dubai and Mauritius.

While Berlin is “one of the fastest growing air-travel markets in Europe,” three in four passengers fly for private rather than business reasons and are more price sensitive, making the Eurowings model ideally suited, Spohr said. Lufthansa’s last long-haul route from the city, to Washington, was scrapped in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

In the short-haul market, a Berlin base would help Lufthansa take on Ryanair Holdings Plc, which re-introduced domestic German flights this year, as well as local rival Air Berlin Plc. Spohr, who last month split the company’s airlines into premium and low-cost groups, said completion of the new Berlin Brandenburg airport, delayed until 2017, is not a prerequisite for the plan.

Eurowings is set to take over all of Lufthansa’s European flights away from Frankfurt and Munich as Spohr seeks to sharpen competition with both low-cost carriers and rivals from beyond Europe led by the big three Gulf airlines.

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