The new holiday airline wants to conduct its flights to the USA in codeshare with other Lufthansa airlines. Condor is resisting the Eurowings Discover plan.
With Eurowings Discover, Condor has got a new competitor. And it serves the same goals and the same audience. The German holiday airline was always relaxed and emphasized that the new competitor from Lufthansa should be taken seriously, but that they have been in business long enough to be able to deal with it.
But that obviously does not mean that Eurowings Discover simply wants to be granted, as a complaint from Condor to the US Department of Transport shows, which was first reported by the aviation data portal CH Aviation. It was filed on August 13th. In it, Condor asks the ministry to investigate whether the competitor is not violating competition law.
Lufthansa feeder flights are important
Specifically, it concerns the planned codeshare flights of Eurowings Discover on transatlantic routes with the sister airlines Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian and Brussels Airlines. It is currently planned that the airlines of the Lufthansa Group can set their codes on the flights of the holiday airline – and can therefore also sell them directly on their own.
This is a problem for Condor because the Lufthansa Group has concentrated sales power. But above all, because up to now a good number of passengers have been traveling on long-haul flights with feeder flights operated by Lufthansa subsidiaries. Eurowings Discover confirms to aeroTELEGRAPH that it has submitted a request for codeshare flights to the USA.
Condor demands one condition
Lufthansa canceled these feeder flights for Condor at the end of 2020. But the holiday airline sued against the termination of the contract, which had been running for many years. And the German Cartel Office agreed with her. In May Lufthansa announced that the contract would run for a year longer – until the end of May 2022. What happens then is unclear.
Since Lufthansa now has a subsidiary with Eurowings Discover with a very similar offer, it is unlikely that the group will continue to serve as a feeder for Condor. But that is exactly what the traditional holiday airline does not want to allow. That seems to be the real intent of the complaint to the US Department of Transportation. Condor demands that the approval of the codeshare flights be linked to the condition that Lufthansa continues to offer the feeder for Condor.
Condor argues with higher prices for US passengers
Eurowings Discover initially argued that the US authorities had no jurisdiction to judge German competition. But in one answer from Condor, it is said that that is not the case. If the market share of the Lufthansa airlines on the routes from Frankfurt to the USA, which is already between two thirds and three quarters, continues to increase, American customers would also feel this in the ticket prices.
Condor explains that abandoning the feeder flights would mean that traffic would go directly to Lufthansa and other Star Alliance providers. From Frankfurt this is United Airlines. Since the alliance is already responsible for around 80 percent of the capacity between Frankfurt and the USA, approval could not be in the interests of the competition authorities.
Eurowings is annoyed
On August 16, Eurowings Discover responded in a fairly clear tone: The “misdirected and irrelevant applications” would represent a “transparent attempt to delay the approval of the application from Eurowings Discover”, according to a letter. Therefore one will not go into it further.
In the winter flight schedule 2021/22, Eurowings Discover Las Vegas is planning to fly to Frankfurt from Frankfurt. From the summer flight schedule of 2022, the casino city will also be served from Munich. In addition, flights from Frankfurt to Anchorage, Fort Myers and Salt Lake City are to be added.