|Depending on your definition of a ‘base’ and a ‘legacy carrier’, this week’s launch of services by Lufthansa Italia from Milan Malpensa to Barcelona and Paris represents the first time a European flag carrier has set up a foreign base. (And unlike the other cheap airlines there will be overnight stops in Paris and London.)|
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Low cost airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair, SkyEurope and Wizz Air have built overseas bases for many years but Europe’s legacy carriers have failed to embrace this opportunity made legally possible over a decade ago by European liberalisation.
But after this week’s launch of services by Lufthansa Italia from Milan Malpensa, to Barcelona and Paris, during the next two months Lufthansa Italia will launch a further six routes using a fleet of A319s it has borrowed from its partner Germanwings, though with a revised cabin configuration.
|Destination||Launch date||LH weeklyfrequency||Competition|
|Barcelona (BCN)||2 February 2009||19||Clickair (12), easyJet (14), Vueling (10)|
|Paris (CDG)||2 February 2009||20 to 27||Air France (42), Alitalia (14), easyJet (37)|
|Brussels (BRU)||2 March 2009||14||Brussels Airlines (29), easyJet (13)|
|Budapest (BUD)||2 March 2009||6||Malev (14)|
|Bucharest (OTP)||2 March 2009||7||Alitalia (6), easyJet (5)|
|Madrid (MAD)||2 March 2009||13||easyJet (14), Iberia (29)|
|London (LHR)||29 March 2009||26||British Airways (28)|
|Lisbon (LIS)||29 March 2009||7||easyJet (6), TAP Portugal (14)|
|Source: Lufthansa and OAG Max Online|
On six of the selected eight routes Lufthansa will compete head-to-head with Malpensa’s busiest airline, easyJet, although only indirectly on the London service where Lufthansa has chosen to operate to Heathrow while easyJet operates four times daily to London Gatwick.
Night-stops in London and Paris
By the start of the summer season the six A319s will each be operating the equivalent of three daily rotations. Two A319s will be departing from low-cost matra and night-stopping – one each in London Heathrow and Paris CDG. Three of the other A319s will depart Malpensa at 07:00 in the morning.
|Lined up with the crew in the new uniform, Lufthansa Executive Vice President Services and Human Resources Karl Ulrich Garnadt: “For the first time in the history of Lufthansa, we are launching a new airline outside Germany.||Signing the christening certificates for the Airbus jets in the Lufthansa Italia fleet –
(from left: Edoardo Croci, City Council of Milan; Karl Ulrich Garnadt; Attilio Fontana, Mayor of Varese)