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Germany will get a new airline in 2024: Where it’ll fly and why unions aren’t happy

Lufthansa’s new subsidiary is due to launch in July 2024.
Lufthansa’s new subsidiary is due to launch in July 2024. Copyright Julian Hochgesang
Copyright Julian Hochgesang
By Rebecca Ann Hughes with AFP
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The regional carrier will operate from the Munich and Frankfurt airports where many of Lufthansa’s long-haul flights depart.

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One of Europe’s leading air carriers is launching a new airline for short-haul operations on the continent.

Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship airline and Europe’s biggest airline group, says the new fleet will help reduce costs.

“The new company City Airlines will begin operations in the summer of 2024” after having “obtained its approval last June,” the German group said in a press release on Wednesday.

The regional carrier will operate from the Munich and Frankfurt airports where many of Lufthansa’s long-haul flights depart.

When will Lufthansa’s new airline launch?

Lufthansa’s new subsidiary is due to launch in July 2024.

It will allow the company to “strengthen its competitiveness on short-haul” in Europe, the German carrier said.

This segment is currently largely managed by another Lufthansa subsidiary, Lufthansa CityLine, whose cost structure has long been considered too expensive by management.

The two subsidiaries “will continue to operate at the same time,” according to the press statement.

Lufthansa criticised over employment strategy

The group said it will begin recruiting cockpit and cabin staff from November, favouring candidates with experience and encouraging staff from Lufthansa CityLine teams to apply.

According to the German press, former employees of the low-cost subsidiary of the Germanwings group, which closed in 2020, could also benefit.

This strategy has been denounced by unions as a legal sleight of hand. They say the move allows Lufthansa to reduce costs by hiring employees already present in the group under new, less socially advantageous contracts.

In August, the powerful pilot union VC denounced "airlines which always create new operating subsidiaries to circumvent or reduce pricing conditions."

This summer, the organisation obtained pay increases of more than 17 per cent for Lufthansa pilots. It followed a standoff with management that lasted several months and repeated strikes.

Lufthansa responded on Wednesday by assuring that it wanted to negotiate contract conditions for future employees that would be “competitive.”

"With City Airlines, we want to create prospects for the coming decades and secure sustainable jobs in Germany," said Jens Fehlinger, managing director of City Airlines.

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