What Lufthansa is aiming for with its new subsidiary, Ocean GmbH, is being kept a bit like a state secret. It is known that tourist flights are to be carried out via this platform. The main advantage is likely to be that the group collective agreement is currently not applicable. The result is lower wage costs for flight personnel.
A spokeswoman told the Aero.de portal that the flight operations of Ocean GmbH will gradually commence in the 2021 summer flight schedule. Incidentally, we are currently looking for around 300 employees for the Airbus A330 machine type. In other words, the long-haul jet operated by SunExpress Deutschland and Brussels Airlines at Eurowings. Initially, Ocean will take off from Frankfurt am Main Airport under the Eurowings brand. It is still completely open whether the product will also come to Munich, Zurich or Vienna. Lufthansa does not provide any official information on this subject.
According to current plans, the Eurowings brand will be visible to the outside world for passengers. This means that you revise the previous strategy with a new platform in the background, but do not dare to establish a new brand. In the past Lufthansa tried to aggressively enter the long-haul tourism business via Eurowings (SunExpress Deutschland and Brussels Airlines) and CityLine (“Jump”). However, it was not crowned with success, which is why one is now trying the next attempt on a much smaller scale. With the Eurowings Long Haul, Lufthansa not only gave away a lot of money, but also earned an inglorious reputation due to repeated problems in the operational process with delays of several days.
With Ocean, not only should everything get better, but also smaller. The board of directors around Carsten Spohr is currently only planning three Airbus A330s, i.e. significantly fewer than were in use for Eurowings before the corona crisis. Spohr expects that black numbers can be flown in in the coming year. Of course, this statement has big question marks, because the further development of the corona pandemic is absolutely not foreseeable.
The portal Aero.de also reports on the wages of Ocean GmbH. These are set at the level of an Irish lowcoster. Around 2.000 euros gross including 75 block hours are offered. Commissions are to be paid for sales on board. However, according to the Ufo union, only 70 percent part-time jobs are currently offered. According to the employee representatives, this means that around 1.400 euros gross will be paid. Little is known about the possible sales commissions.
The Cockpit Association is also very critical of the Ocean project. Resistance has already been announced, because the VC rightly does not believe in jobs without a collective agreement. It is therefore foreseeable that Ufo and the Vereinigung Cockpit in particular will try to make the group collective agreement applicable to Ocean GmbH or want to bring about a corresponding collective agreement for this company.
The “enemy” of the ocean platform is quite obvious: Condor. The former subsidiary benefits greatly from feeder flights operated by Lufthansa. It would not be at all surprising if the crane allowed them to switch to their own machines in the future. The frontal attack on Condor is somewhat disturbing, as both airlines have received an enormous amount of money from the German state in order to be able to stay in the air at all. At the same time, Lufthansa obviously wants to nip Tuifly's long-haul plans in the bud, because this could become an additional competitor that they simply do not want to have. It goes without saying that the Tui Group also received billions in aid from the Reconstruction Loan Corporation, and thus indirectly from the state. The Cockpit Association strongly criticized Lufthansa's approach in a broadcast, because state money is being used to try to make life difficult for two other airlines, which have also received money from the state, and at the same time demand is currently at an all-time low. Incidentally, Lufthansa wants to cut thousands of employees and has already closed its subsidiary Germanwings and the joint venture SunExpress Germany. The former subsidiary Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter was also indirectly affected, as the Eurowings wet lease orders were withdrawn. LGW is in the process of bankruptcy.