Eurowings (EW, Düsseldorf Int'l) is planning to increase its number of active aircraft from less than 30 at present to 80 by the peak of the summer 2021 season, and will add its first A320-200Ns in 2022, Chief Executive Jens Bischof said during a webinar organised by the Aviation Week Network.

"In our darkest days, we operated around 20 aircraft, down from over 100 before the crisis. Right now, we operate 25-28, depending on the day. We will now ramp it up very quickly until the peak of summer to 80 aircraft. We have the ambition to grow to over 100 the next year and the A320-200neo will play a key role. We plan to take more than ten A320neo in 2022," Bischof explained.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Eurowings currently operates nineteen in-house A319-100s, forty-two A320-200s, and five stored A321-200s. It confirmed that the A321s would not be reactivated as the airline will focus on A319/A320/A320neo types going forward. A further ten A319s and ten A320s are operated on its behalf by its Austrian production carrier Eurowings Europe.

"The crisis facilitated the shrinking of our fleet to the core. We cancelled all wet-lease obligations, which was a huge portion with old germanwings. We ended the wet-lease and shut down the AOC. We also cancelled our wet-leases from LGW - Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter, CSA Czech Airlines, and others. Becoming smaller helped us a lot in the time of depression,

Lufthansa Group's low-cost carrier plans to focus on the leisure market going forward. Bischof said that two-thirds of its fleet will be dedicated to leisure routes, although, to the extent that there will be demand, Eurowings will continue to cater to domestic and European business traffic as well.

The CEO underlined that the airline was well-positioned to benefit from pent-up leisure demand in Germany. It recorded the first surge over the Easter period after the German authorities lowered the Canary Islands' risk category, Germany's European leisure destination of choice. Bischof underlined that the number of bookings rose by 700% in a short span of time, and demand for the Munich-Palma de Mallorca route, for example, quadrupled. To respond to this unexpected explosion in demand, Eurowings added 350 extra flights over the holiday period.

"We know that literally entire Germany is sitting on packed suitcases. And as the largest leisure airline in the country, we are the favourites to benefit from that," he said. "With mass vaccination progressing, with new testing concepts, we believe we are going to see a very strong rebound in tourism."

The carrier also plans to increase its European presence. It has announced the entry into the Palma-United Kingdom market with two new routes from the Spanish island to Manchester Int'l and Birmingham Int'l. Outside of Germany, Eurowings also has bases at Palma, Salzburg, and Pristina airports.

"Eurowings has a pan-European ambition and we want to grow our business across Europe in short- and medium-term. We can certainly do more and we will do more in the future. We will increase our European footprint in the years to come," he explained.

Bischof underlined that the European focus would not lead to Eurowings neglecting its home market. On April 1, 2021, the LCC opened a new base at Berlin Brandenburg Int'l airport.