|Pristina Airport’s second busiest airline terminating flights|
Germanwings will suspend all of its flights to Pristina Airport from late October, at the start of the 2014/15 winter schedule. It comes as the airline takes on a range of routes previously operated by its parent company Lufthansa. Germanwings will discontinue services from Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Berlin and Stuttgart to Pristina. Ticket sales for these routes have been suspended beyond October, with exception to Cologne, which will terminate in August, and Hanover in September. Flights from Cologne, which currently operate twice per week, will be reduced to one weekly starting next month. The final service from Cologne to Pristina will operate on August 15. Flights from Hannover will run twice per week until their termination on September 13. The one weekly service from both Dusseldorf and Berlin will continue to operate each Saturday until their final flight on October 25. Finally, services from Stuttgart to Pristina, which currently operate five times per week, will be reduced to four weekly flights from September, prior to their termination on October 25. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the airline said, “We won’t be offering any flights to Pristina this winter”.
Recently, Lufthansa outlined plans to develop its low cost subsidiary. It is already shifting short haul flights to its Germanwings affiliate to more effectively compete against European discount rivals. Germanwings, which has 20% lower costs than Lufthansa, will grow to up to sixty jets. However, at the same time, Germanwings has begun terminating some of its services in order take on more profitable Lufthansa routes. In addition, Lufthansa plans to develop Eurowings as its low budget offshoot. Eurowings will commence operations at the start of the 2015 summer season and could pick up some routes terminated by Germanwings.
Pristina is not the only regional casualty of Germanwings’ reorganisation. It recently announced it will suspend services from Stuttgart to Belgrade this winter as well. Germanings once operated flights to Pristina from up to eight different cities in Germany. However, these have steadily decreased over the years. Germanwings’ departure marks a big loss for Pristina Airport. The airline was its second busiest carrier in 2013, behind the now defunct Belle Air Europe, with 156.853 passengers handled on its flights to and from the city. Pristina Airport has faced a sharp decline in passenger numbers so far this year with a 18.6% decrease in the first five months alone.