The German flag carrier, Lufthansa, is set to roll out a brand new regional airline, known as “City Airlines”.
What is City Airlines?
City Airlines will join the mainline brand and their existing regional subsidiary Lufthansa CityLine. With this being said, City Airlines has said it will look to combine “the quality of Lufthansa” and “the experience of Lufthansa CityLine”.
Lufthansa has stated that the launch of the airline is expected in Mid-2023 and will be based out of Lufthansa’s secondary hub, Munich.
The airline was founded in Munich in the Summer of 2022 under what is known as the “CityLine 2.0” project.
City Airlines will aim to offer routes in the short and medium-haul markets and operate an all-Airbus fleet (presumably A319s).
No routes have been announced yet, but it may be possible the airline focuses on flying to secondary markets around Europe, boosting the Lufthansa Group’s presence on the continent.
Despite this, hiring is underway for ground staff, meaning the airline is making progress toward its planned launch this year.
City Airlines: Reviving ex-Germanwings crew
Lufthansa CEO, Carston Spohr mentioned last year that developing the new carrier will “offer an opportunity to employ some 250 captains that were active with Germanwings”.
However, Lufthansa’s plan was to employ ex-Germanwings aircraft under contracts with a cheaper wage than other airlines in the group. This, of course, has been met with some opposition.
Whilst this planning was underway, the Lufthansa Group was already in deep talks with unions about the pilot wage scheme within the mainline brand of Lufthansa. These talks are what became the many strikes seen at the airline last year.
Following these strikes, in September last year, Lufthansa and the union reached a deal that pays would increase. On top of this, a “peace obligation” was put in place that would mean no strikes would be allowed to go ahead until at least June 30th, 2023.
As part of this peace obligation, Lufthansa agreed no strategic decisions would be made, and as such this meant the plan for City Airlines had to be put aside, hence why the group has been very quiet on the development of the airline.
New year, new developments
With the new year in full swing, it appears Lufthansa is keen to continue the build-up to the launch of City Airlines.
As mentioned, the hiring process has begun for ground staff and intriguingly, the website for the airline has also launched. The website however doesn’t contain many details as of yet, simply because the airline is still relatively early in development.
Ideally for the airline, the next significant steps will be assembling a fleet and of course, acquiring an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) as well as negotiations with the Cockpit union to be successful, so the likes of cabin crew and pilots can be hired.
A spokesperson for Lufthansa said in an email that the hiring of onboard personnel likely won’t begin until a bit later in the year.
As for the fleet, we mentioned that the fleet would likely be made up of an all-Airbus fleet, most notably the A319, which Spohr has confirmed. Spohr did mention that a “campaign will begin this year and run out in 2024” to find a manufacturer to supply the airline with aircraft.
This means that the development of the fleet won’t necessarily come solely from aircraft transfer within the Lufthansa Group as we see happening very often at the moment. Instead, it could very well mean the likes of the Airbus A220 might find their way into the fleet matrix.
With all this development in mind, it seems Lufthansa is relighting the fires on getting City Airlines up and running after putting the project aside last year and could prove an interesting fit into the Lufthansa Group with what they will offer.