Germanwings Continues to Climb Ahead of the Pack

Only two years after the first 4U-numbered flight took off from
Cologne/Bonn on 27th October 2002, Germanwings has now established a comfortable
lead in the budget flights sector. In the period from January to October 2004 alone,
the low-cost airline carried around 2.8m passengers, 44% up on the figure for the
comparable period the previous year.  Over the past few months, the airline has
continually achieved positive results, demonstrating that the business concept is
thoroughly sound and will also enable ambitious expansion in the future. ‘We have hit the targets we set for the current year in 2003 and in certain
important respects surpassed them,’ is how Germanwings MD Dr Joachim Klein summed up
the achievements of the past nine months whilst speaking to journalists in Cologne.

He added: ‘Although we have already achieved a high level of success, it is
particularly important to us that we have retained the confidence of our passengers.
Our reputation among private and business passengers alike is excellent, which has
enabled us to come out top in both our own and independent market surveys.
Germanwings is ahead in terms of price perception and also scores high in terms of
the quality of service offered.  In addition to this, our website has established
itself as one of the leading travel portals in Germany and within the other markets
that we operate in.  Every month, Germanwings.com clocks up around 2.5m visitors,
and provides the airline with sundry add-on marketing income - a welcome spin-off
business that is extremely profitable.’

 

Compared with the previous year, Germanwings has increased its turnover by more than
50%.  In the past six months alone, the proportion of business travellers rose from
38% to 42%, while the seat occupancy ratio went up by 2.2% to 82.3% compared with
the previous year.  Germanwings’s reliability, measured in terms of percentage of
scheduled flights actually flown, is 99.99% since the company started - which is
amongst the best in the industry.  Compared with the last year, this is a further
improvement of 0.14%.

 

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Germanwings is forging ahead with more plans for expansion. Additional departure
locations are currently being evaluated at Berlin-Schönefeld, Hamburg, Nremberg and
Zurich. With 30 destinations from Cologne/Bonn and 16 destinations from Stuttgart in
the winter timetable, which starts at the end of this week, Germanwings is the
market leader in the low-cost business at both destinations. At Cologne/ Bonn,
Germanwings accounts for 30% of all flight movements, making it the largest airline
at the airport, while in Stuttgart it is in second place behind Lufthansa in the new
winter timetable. In 2005, Germanwings is targeting passenger volumes of between 4.5
and 6m, which involves increasing the fleet from 16 to 20 aircraft.

 

Passengers have an outstanding impression of Germanwings. Customer surveys show that
Germanwings passengers are very satisfied with the product and would choose the
airline again. In the current survey by the business magazine Capital, the budget
airline came out in top place, and was voted Budget Airline of 2004. The overall
rating shows that Germanwings is among the front runners of all airlines in Europe
in the categories of price/ performance, safety, service, seating comfort, catering
and punctuality, and can stand comparison with the established large network airline
companies.

 

Leadership in quality, greater transparency in pricing policy than the competition
and sheer willingness to innovate are in Germanwings’s view the engines of success.
The airline was launched on the back of an internal ambition to offer the best
product among low-cost airlines - and it has achieved this aim. Germanwings is also
ahead in terms of price perception - which means flexible customers can travel
cheaply. During the booking procedure, Germanwings shows the prices for the ticket
separately from taxes and charges, so customers know at a glance what they are
really paying for the flight and what the airline has to pay the authorities and
service providers.

 

‘We are extremely transparent when it comes to informing our customers exactly what
they are paying for when they fly with us,’ comments Dr Klein, ‘so all the present
debate about hidden subsidies is irrelevant.’

 

The presence of Germanwings has done much for tourism in the catchment area of
Cologne/ Bonn airport. More than 25 per cent of passengers travel on Germanwings
flights from European destinations to Cologne/ Bonn and back again. The overnight
accommodation statistics reflect the trend. In the period between January and July
2004, the number of nights visitors spent in accommodation in Cologne rose by 5.3%,
in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg area by 4.2% and in Bergisches Land by as much as 15.3%. ‘The
figures say it all,’ says Dr Klein. ‘If everyone involved pulls together, as we are
doing, we can generate considerable added value in all areas of tourism.’ 


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