Airline packages

More competition for tour operators

Leisure airlines such as Eurowings, Sun Express and Ryanair are expanding their package holiday programmes in Germany to generate additional revenues and fill seats.

April 20, 2017
Eurowings has big package holiday ambitions.
Photo: Eurowings

Both Eurowings and Sun Express used last month’s ITB to launch their new ‘Holidays’ programmes following Ryanair’s launch last autumn and in the footsteps of Air Berlin, which has sold package holidays for nearly a decade. As in-house carriers, Condor and TUIfly have seat-only sales but do not offer their own holiday packages.

Experts estimate that the German ‘airline package holidays market’ could be worth as much as €300 million a year. This would make it a sizeable chunk of the overall tour operator market and make airlines into direct competitors to tour operators as well as business partners in their role as flight capacity providers.

The key player is dynamic packaging specialist HLX, run by former L’Tur owner Karlheinz Kögel. He pioneered ‘airline package holidays’ in Germany with Air Berlin and now also provides ‘white-label’ holidays for Lufthansa, Swiss, Sun Express and Ryanair. In contrast, Eurowings is cooperating with rival dynamic packaging specialist Tropo, owned by TV group ProSieben-Sat1.

Lufthansa budget airline Eurowings appears to have the most ambitious targets for its new package holidays offer. Katrin Flöther, head of Customer Experience & Product, said the offer is part of its aim to make Eurowings.com into a travel platform to complement the core airline business.

“Our target is 120,000 package holiday customers in the third year,” she disclosed. The pricing will be “very aggressive” with cheap headline offers for hotels with high satisfaction ratings in consumer portals.

In contrast, Sun Express is more cautious. “We’ll use the next few months to gain experience,” commented Commercial Director Peter Glade.

For its part, Ryanair wants to become ‘a travel Amazon’ with an online marketplace offering a wide range of travel products, including hotels and car rentals, at low prices. Its Ryanair Holidays offers are currently available in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Spain. Rival Easyjet also offers its Easyjet Holidays programme to customers in Germany.

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