Swiss International Air Lines will no longer fly from Basel airport from the beginning of next year. The Lufthansa Group is replacing Swiss with its new budget airline Eurowings.
Lufthansa’s new CEO, Carsten Spohr, said it had been agreed that Swiss would concentrate on the hubs of Zurich and Geneva.
The plan is for two to four Eurowings A320s to put pressure on EasyJet, which last year flew 54% of passengers at Basel, Lufthansa said on Wednesday. Swiss had a market share of 5%.
Lufthansa spokeswoman Claudia Lange added that Basel would become Eurowings' first location outside Germany. The number of jobs created and destinations offered is still being discussed.
For its part, Swiss said no jobs would be lost as a result of the shuffle since Swiss planes would be shifted to other routes. Currently Swiss flies to 11 destinations from Basel and employs some 300 staff.
The move is part of Lufthansa’s plans to expand its budget airline operation, which includes offering long-haul flights, possibly in cooperation with Turkish Airlines.
Germany’s biggest airline has been trying to cut costs amid tough competition from European budget carriers and aggressively expanding government-owned Gulf airlines.
It is expanding its European budget offshoot, and said on Wednesday it also planned “to create a competitive new long-haul platform ... for the price-sensitive segment".
Lufthansa said it was considering whether to do that alone or with a partner and was in advanced talks with Turkish Airlines. It said the new long-haul operation was expected to launch in winter 2015, with a fleet that would gradually be built up to nine Boeing 767 or Airbus A330 aircraft.