Germanwings GmbH is a low-cost airline based in Cologne, Germany, and is wholly owned by Lufthansa. Cologne Bonn Airport, Stuttgart Airport, Hamburg Airport and Berlin Tegel Airport are the main hubs in the airline’s network of approximately 86 destinations, further Germanwings bases are at Hannover Airport and Dortmund Airport as well as Düsseldorf Airport starting in March 2014.
In January 2013, Lufthansa started to move its entire short-haul operations outside of its main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich to Germanwings. In 1997, Eurowings set up a low-cost department, which became a separate company under the name Germanwings on 27 October 2002. On 7 December 2005, the airline signed an agreement to purchase 18 Airbus A319 aircraft (with a further 12 options), with deliveries scheduled from July 2006 until 2008. During winter 2004–2005 Germanwings leased two Boeing 717s from Aerolíneas de Baleares to test this type of aircraft, but no order was made afterwards. Even though operating as a no-frills airline, Germanwings allows for guaranteed connecting flights. Germanwings operates the Sky Bistro (Bord Shop in German), a buy on board programme offering food and drinks for purchase. Germanwings also provides an inflight magazine, a bi-monthly German and English magazine called GW. While the primary editorial focus is rooted in Germanwings destinations, the content is not exclusively about travel. Germanwings has been wholly owned by Lufthansa since 1 January 2009, so formal reporting since then has been within the Group Accounts. In the 2012 accounts, Germanwings figures were reported only within the ‘Lufthansa Passenger Airline Group’, and are not generally available separately.
Germanwings provides a unique option called Blind Booking that allows passengers to choose a hub airport, select a category of destination (e.g. Party or Culture), and then purchase a round-trip ticket via a random lottery process from among the cities in the category.