Lufthansa reportedly offered several carriers, including British Airways, flybe and Virgin Atlantic, the opportunity to examine the finances of bmi and conduct limited due diligence (The Times, 08-Sep-2009). Lufthansa has made no formal announcement of its plans for its stake in bmi. Meanwhile, Unite has urged bmi and Lufthansa to informing bmi’s employees over the future of the carrier (abtn.co.uk/Dow Jones, 08-Sep-09). The union stated it also plans to approach Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.
Lufthansa opens books on bmi
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Eurowings: new Munich routes outsourced to airberlin. Frankfurt hub may be next for Lufthansa's LCC
When Lufthansa began to transfer point-to-point short haul routes to its LCC Germanwings in 2013 it specifically excluded routes to/from its two main hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Although its two main hubs have been less penetrated by LCCs than many other major European airports, this is changing. Moreover, competitor LCCs are growing rapidly across Germany and in other Lufthansa Group home markets. Even Air France-KLM established a Munich base for its LCC Transavia in summer 2016 (but this is under review). More ominously, Ryanair is to enter Frankfurt in summer 2017.
Lufthansa first revealed in summer 2016 that it was considering opening a Munich base for its LCC operations, now grouped under the Eurowings brand. On 21-Dec-2016 it announced plans to base four A320 family aircraft at Munich for 32 Eurowings routes from summer 2017.
Perhaps it was always inevitable that Eurowings would eventually extend to selected routes from Frankfurt and Munich, but agreements with pilots were understood to have limited the group's flexibility. Confirmation that the operation of Eurowings routes at Munich will be outsourced to airberlin under wet lease appears to have loosened this restriction. Eurowings routes from Frankfurt are also being considered.
Geopolitics defines much of Europe’s Uncertain outlook in 2017
Europe faces a growing range of geopolitical risks and uncertainties. These range from the presidential election in France and the federal elections in Germany to the UK’s (only) likely triggering of the formal process of leaving the European Union. Political instability in Italy and a general feeling of a move to populist politics raise a tendency towards protectionism and resistance to some of the core principles of the European Union.
They also include possible shifts in Russia’s relationship with the west under a Trump administration in the US. Indeed, Mr Trump’s presidency also raises questions over Europe’s own relationship with the US, notably his attitude towards free trade and to NATO.
The threat of terrorist activity remains real in Western Europe, where both Belgium and France were targeted in 2016. Turkey also suffered from frequent terrorist outrages and an attempted coup in 2016.
The civil war in Syria and an unstable political backdrop in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa have drawn in a number of European nations to a greater or lesser extent and contributed to an influx of refugees across Europe. The refugee crisis has fuelled wider concerns about immigration, adding to a climate of political anxiety.
Within Europe’s airline industry, lower fuel prices have provided a breathing space for the less efficient legacy airlines, but independent LCCs, long and short haul have meanwhile taken renewed strides to dominate across the market. Lufthansa and, in particular, Air France are serious laggards and enter 2017 under a dark cloud.