“Value for less money, reliability, simplicity and safety are the four key issues for the success of our company,” said Andreas Engel, international communications manager for Germanwings, at a recent press conference held in Athens. He said the low cost airline plans to expand its destinations in Greece this year from four to seven, thus connecting not only Athens and Thessaloniki to Europe but also Heraklion, Rodos, Mykonos, Kavala and Corfu.
Mr. Engel also said the airlines’ aim is “growth through consolidation” as the difference between network carriers, charter airlines and low cost carriers gets smaller. The consolidation of networks would mean more destinations with an increase in the load factor for Germanwings.
The basic cost cutting method centers on point-to-point travel with a turnaround time of half an hour. When questioned about this procedure, Mr. Engel explained that half an hour turnaround is possible as cleaning of the aircraft is the responsibility of the crew, and there are no time-consuming hot meals provided.
Mr. Engel said that Athens International Airport is more than satisfactory in terms of services and quality, however, the quality of regional airports leaves much to be desired and needs improvement.
The low cost airline relies solely on e-ticket bookings with 61 million visits to their website last year. Mr. Engel claimed that thirty-two percent of their bookings are from Greece, that flights have a load factor of eighty-two percent and that forty-two percent are business passengers and twenty-four percent are holidaymakers. Bookings for 2007 are satisfactory and expected to increase as a result of the new destinations, he said.
According to Mr. Engel, the German low cost carrier has set demanding targets for the year 2007. With 27 aircraft and a new hub in Dortmund, the carrier plans to transport more than 8 million passengers by the end of this year.