Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings has been long rumored to be starting service to Fort Lauderdale from its Cologne/Bonn hub. Eurowings is a low-cost leisure oriented airline who does not offer the same level of service on board as mainline Lufthansa. According to a report Eurowings will begin service to Boston, Las Vegas and Fort Lauderdale in May. This will be the first service for the airline in the United States.
However, unions may not look kindly upon Eurowings entry to the crowded and lucrative USA to Germany transit market. In June, Lufthansa applied to the US DOT to offer service to Fort Lauderdale from Cologne/Bonn. As soon as the application was filed, active speculation began that the pilots union was likely to object to the manner in which Lufthansa sought to lease planes and flight crews for the service.
Controversy has surrounded Norwegian Air Shuttle who has implemented a similar “bait and switch” method to lowering crew costs to serve transatlantic destinations including Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Norwegian set up an Irish based subsidiary to skirt Norway’s (and EU) labor laws and base it crews for transatlantic flights in the United States (either Fort Lauderdale or New York). Norwegian also hired Asian non-union pilots for these flights.
No word from the pilots union yet on whether or not they fill fight Eurowings move but the US unions fought the Norwegian entry to the US market, which has limited the ability of the airline to expand operations to the US. So perhaps another battle is brewing.