Lufthansa Eurowings holiday unit to ramp up faster than planned

BERLIN, June 17 (Reuters) - Lufthansa’s new holiday flights-focused subsidiary, Eurowings Discover, will ramp up operations faster than expected this year, starting at the end of July with a flight from Frankfurt to Mombasa, Kenya, the airline said on Thursday.

The German flag carrier said Eurowings Discovery will have a fleet of 11 aircraft this year, growing to 21 by the middle of next year, including 10 Airbus A320s and 11 A330s from its existing fleet.

Previously, it had only planned to launch about six planes this year and focus on long-haul routes, in contrast to Lufthansa’s European low-cost airline Eurowings.

Now, Eurowings Discovery has decided to add short and medium-haul destinations such as the Canary Islands, Egypt and Morocco from November, in addition to long-haul destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Cuba or Mauritius.

As it seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Lufthansa is focusing on holiday flights, as it expects more lucrative business trips will recover more slowly.

Eurowings Discover is initially set to employ around 350 staff.

Germans are booking holidays again at rates higher than in 2019 before the coronavirus hit, TUI Group , the world’s biggest holiday group, said on Wednesday.

European Union countries agreed last week to an easing of travel restrictions over summer that will allow fully vaccinated tourists to avoid tests or quarantines and broaden the list of EU regions from which it is safe to travel. (Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)