Why budget airlines in Germany are getting more expensive

Budget flights are becoming offered less frequently in Germany and, at the same time, becoming more expensive, reported the German Aerospace Center on Tuesday.

Why budget airlines in Germany are getting more expensive

This year budget airlines mostly offered additional connections to Italy, but fewer flights to domestic German destinations, as well as to Spain and the UK, according to the report.

As a whole, the number of discount flights on offer fell by one percent.

Yet for some airlines there was a larger dip. German market leader, Eurowings, reduced its flights by 3.5 percent compared with the previous year, and now has approximately 3100 departures every week

At the same time, budgets airlines now operate 940 routes from Germany –  14 more than the previous year.

Some airports also bucked the trend and increased their flight offerings this year. Düsseldorf became the airport with the largest number of low-costs flights, with over 1100 departures per week, “making it the German airport to offer the largest number of low-cost flights,” stated the report.

“Berlin-Tegel comes in second place. Stuttgart has also increased its low-cost offerings and now occupies fourth place.”

Growing prices

In October, the average prices for an air ticket without any add-on services rose, the DLR reported. That's likely down to higher fuel costs.

For the major providers, the average prices range from €44.10 with the Hungarian airline Wizz, to around €55 for Easyjet and Ryanair, to €111.27 for an average ticket with the Lufthansa company Eurowings. A year ago, the range was €38 to €100.

Yet flight offerings in Europe as a whole increased this year.

With more than 67,000 departures in a typical week, the numbers of flights throughout all of continental Europe grew by four percent, above all with additional flights to Italy and Greece. 

Market leader Ryanair/Lauda and industry second Easyjet expanded their flight schedules. 

The decline in Germany can be explained by particularly strong expansion in capacity following the bankruptcy of Air Berlin, which led to a significant surplus in 2018.

With a 47 percent share of the flights offered, the Lufthansa subsidiary had been the largest provider on the German market. 

Extremely cheap flights

Ticket prices also fluctuated sharply depending on how far in advance the booking period was. 

DLR said that there were some “controversially low prices” of €9.99 at Ryanair and Wizz for connections such as Bremen-London and Dortmund-Budapest within three months of booking. 

Since flying damages the climate, extremely cheap connections have recently come under stronger criticism.


Additional connections – zusätzliche Verbindungen

Test date/target day – (der) Stichtag

The range – (die) Spanne

Market leader – (der) Der Marktführer

oversupply/surplus – (das) Überangebot

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.