Eurowings, Lufthansa Group’s long-haul budget airline, commences operations to Thailand this week, making it the first European low-cost carrier to link with Southeast Asia.
Its first flight will be from Cologne to Phuket International Airport on Friday, reaching Thailand the following day.
The initial flight on the second route – from Cologne to Suvarnabhumi Airport – leaves Germany on December 21, arriving the following day.
Christian Hein, senior vice president for sales at Eurowings, said air travel in the Asia and Pacific region would continue to grow thanks to the area’s booming economy and a continued increase in the number of international travellers.
Southeast Asia in particular is becoming a true emerging market for low-cost airline business, since all nations in the region will become a single market under the Asean Economic Community from the beginning of next year, he said.
Asean is globally the third-largest region in terms of population, the fifth-largest in trading power, and the ninth-largest global economy, he added.
Germany-based Lufthansa Group wanted to expand its low-cost network to Southeast Asia and decided to make Thailand its spearhead for linking Europe and the region, he explained. The move is part of a global expansion following Lufthansa Group’s rebranding of the airline from Germanwings to Eurowings.
Eurowings currently flies to 11 destinations worldwide.
The spreading of the carrier’s wings into Southeast Asia will serve the budget segment, giving Lufthansa Group full-service capability in its operations into Thailand, which it currently serves via Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss.
"Bangkok is now the hub linking to neighbouring countries. The group has already appointed sales companies in the region, except in Laos," he said. The group has signed a code-sharing agreement with Thai Airways Interna-tional and Bangkok Airways in order to serve travellers flying from Thailand to Europe. Currently, the group operates a total of 25 flights per week from the Kingdom to Europe.