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AIRLINES Manoeuvres


for the launch of long-haul flights next year. These, he said, would initially be to the US, with Asia following, although company sources have since downplayed this, saying nothing will happen “for the next few years”.


New deals


Whenever it happens, Norwegian has form here, having raised its profile at Gatwick through short-haul expansion before branching into long haul. In which case, Lufthansa can expect something at some point, as Dusseldorf and Cologne/Bonn are of interest to both carriers, being in one of the largest catchment areas in Europe. Eurowings was able to bolster its fleet


following a deal with downsizing Air Berlin that will permit 32 new routes from Munich in 2017 (among them Stansted, Edinburgh and Glasgow). Lufthansa Group will use Eurowings to protect its position against foreign no-frills carriers at Munich and, perhaps, to prepare for the launch of a long-haul network. For now, Eurowings’ long-haul ambitions are confined to Cologne/Bonn, where 10 Airbus A330- 200s operate to 14 destinations. Last year, the airport added 1.6 million passengers to reach 11.9 million, due mainly, it says, to Eurowings’ long-haul flights and in July, Seattle, Windhoek, Las Vegas and Orlando will start. Lufthansa Group is in theory able to


transfer more Airbus A330 and A340s – some 50-plus aircraft - over to its subsidiary if Eurowings expands at Cologne and elsewhere, (perhaps beginning with Munich), but is not, of course, confined to Germany. One clue to its thinking came in January when Lufthansa bought the remaining 55% of Brussels Airlines it did not already own and revealed that the Belgian carrier would retain the Brussels Airlines brand but with the strapline “member of the


w


Narrow bodies in the new age of long haul


Low-cost long-haul will be driven further by two new


aircraft types, providing passengers can be persuaded that narrow bodies


are an acceptable way to fly long distances. The evidence is that they can, as even before carriers like Wow Air proved that price is the driver, legacy carriers had been using the Boeing 757 on thinner transatlantic routes for decades. Norwegian is likely to put the Boeing 737 MAX


into service first and Edinburgh-New York will be a coup. The MAX 8 variant Norwegian will use has a range of 3,515 Nautical Miles, covering the 2,830NM sector with ease. Westjet and Ryanair also have the MAX on order, but Norwegian will trump Ryanair’s transatlantic ambitions with it. Things move on a stage further in 2019 when Airbus introduces its A321LR, boasting a range of 4,000NM and carrying around 220 passengers; making it the longest-range single aisle aircraft and meaning that the US eastern seaboard can be reached from most of Europe. The aircraft is mooted as the nearest thing to


a 757 replacement and can also reach Asia from northern Europe, South East Asia from Australia and most of South America from Florida. Norwegian has 30 on order, and Azores Airlines will use it to expand transatlantic routes. New York’s JetBlue agreed to buy 30 in July, with the airline stating that it “will give us transatlantic range”. The carrier has already shaken up transcontinental routes with its Mint premium cabin and will outline its transatlantic intentions by the end of this year.


The Boeing 737 MAX is mooted as the nearest thing to a 757 replacement


26 ISSUE 1 ROUTES NEWS 2017 routesonline.com


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