Study on air traffic Lufthansa dominates the skies over Germany

Düsseldorf/Cologne · A study from the German Aerospace Research Center reports that the market share of Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings has increased significantly. This affects ticket prices on some routes.

Although Air Berlin went into bankruptcy in August of last year, overall there will not be a decrease in flights offered from Germany this summer. However, the market share of Lufthansa Group in domestic German air traffic is increasing dramatically. These are the two most important results of a previously unpublished study on the German aviation market, released by the German Aerospace Research Center (DLR). "Air travel offers continue to increase overall," says author of the study, Peter Berster, "and the Lufthansa Group dominates even more business flights from Germany."

The results in detail: As of February 15, there were 87,736 flights offered for July; this is 0.4 percent higher than in the previous year. However, flights offered within Germany are down 1.5 percent, while there is a two percent increase of flights offered from Germany to European destinations. Within Germany, Lufthansa's market share increased from 50.3 percent to 55.6 percent. Eurowings, including Germanwings, increased its market share from 20.1 percent to 31.5 percent. That means parent company Lufthansa and its subsidiary low cost airlines together control 87.1 percent of the market. In the summer of 2017, it was 70.4 percent.

Lack of competition has consequences

From the point of view of passengers, the most dramatic consequence is the strong control over individual routes within Germany. Of the 122 routes within Germany, according to DLR's calculations, this summer 94 of them will be covered by Lufthansa / Eurowings. Each trip to and from the destination is calculated individually. 18 flights are offered exclusively by other companies. Only ten are offered in direct competition. These are the round-trips from Berlin to Dusseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart, because in Berlin the British budget airline Easyjet took over part of the business of Air Berlin.

The lack of competition on heavily flown routes means prices on many flights from Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn are usually relatively high, including flights to destinations such as Munich and Hamburg where Lufthansa group has a monopoly. In contrast, there are still a number of cheap flights offered to Berlin, especially at midday.

“Easyjet as a new competitor puts lots of pressure on Lufthansa and Eurowings when it comes to the Berlin route,” said the Hamburg aviation expert Gerald Wissel, "this is also possible because Easyjet has low costs and a good image."

The bankruptcy of Air Berlin has strengthened Lufthansa and Eurowings not only within Germany. Just a year ago, they handled 44.4 percent of all flights, including international routes, now this number is well over 50 percent.

Orig. text: Reinhard Kowalewsky, Translation: ck

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