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Sweden’s airports finally breaking records once more

Image: ABBA Album - Arrival
Until last year there had been fewer arrivals at Swedish airports since 2000.

This year’s annual global Routes conference takes place later this month in Stockholm so this week anna.aero takes a closer look at developments in the Swedish market. Between 1996 and 2000 traffic had grown by an impressive 30% across all of Sweden’s airports. However, after ‘9/11′ demand for air travel declined and total airport traffic fell in each of the next three years.

Chart: Swedish Airport Traffic 1996-2006
Source: LFV, Luftfartstyrelsen

Since 2003 traffic has finally picked up again and passenger numbers have grown 16% in the last three years enabling 2006 to be the busiest year yet for Sweden’s airports. Traffic at those airports operated by Luftfartsverket (LFV) has still not quite rebounded back to 2000 levels but thanks to higher growth at other private airports, notably at Stockholm Skavsta, total traffic was nearly 33 million in 2006.

So far in 2007 traffic is up slightly thanks to growth in international traffic. Domestic traffic is down year-on-year not helped by the collapse of Gothenburg-based low-cost carrier FlyMe earlier in the year.

Stockholm Arlanda handles half of all traffic

Stockholm’s major airport at Arlanda handles over 50% of all Swedish airport traffic and processes two-thirds of all international traffic. Thanks to major investments in the last decade, including a third runway, capacity is not an issue at the airport.

Chart: Stockholm Arlanda Top 10 Scheduled Airlines
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 10 September 2007
Image: ARN to STO in 20 Minutes
Despite the cheaper alternative ‘Stockholm’ airports preferred by Ryanair (almost 100km distant) anna.aero estimates that LCCs account for around 20% of Arlanda’s scheduled traffic. SAS has not announced many new routes this year but will begin thrice weekly services to Bangkok from October.

SAS and its regional partner Skyways currently account for over half of all scheduled flights and capacity at Arlanda. Three local low-cost carriers (Sterling, FlyNordic and Norwegian) make it into the top 10. Norwegian’s acquisition of FlyNordic will help make the airline the second largest at the airport in 2007.

Europe’s ‘big 2′ LCCs are conspicuous by their absence and third-ranked Air Berlin has only recently started daily flights to Berlin Tegel. Germanwings has daily flights to Berlin Schönefeld and Cologne/Bonn while TUIfly operates four times weekly to Hannover and Stuttgart. In total LCCs account for around 17% of all scheduled capacity and with higher average load factors probably represent around 20% of scheduled passenger traffic. Curiously no UK LCCs currently serve Arlanda.

SAS has not announced many new routes this year but will be starting thrice weekly service to Bangkok from Arlanda at the end of October.

Gothenburg and Malmö only other major travel centres

Once the traffic figures for Stockholm’s other airports at Bromma, Skavsta and Vasteras are added in the importance of Stockholm becomes even clearer. Traffic at Sweden’s busiest airports (annual throughput of at least 100,000 passengers) is shown below.

Airport Domestic International Total
Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) 5,319,845 12,180,505 17,500,350
Gothenburg Landvetter (GOT) 1,346,135 2,933,112 4,279,247
Malmö Sturup (MMX) 1,181,970 700,458 1,882,428
Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) 462 1,772,868 1,773,330
Stockholm Bromma (BMA) 1,505,877 126,321 1,632,198
Lulea (LLA) 861,054 52,341 913,395
Umea (UME) 764,624 37,011 801,635
Gothenburg City (GSE) 89 535,908 535,997
Ostersund (OSD) 374,953 21,347 396,300
Angelholm (AGH) 363,407 360 363,767
Sundsvall (SDL) 325,250 12,485 337,735
Visby (VBY) 281,803 8,182 289,985
Skelleftea (SFT) 211,470 8,949 220,419
Ronneby (RNB) 209,804 35 209,839
Stockholm Vasteras (VST) 752 181,948 182,700
Kiruna (KRN) 170,376 1,148 171,524
Vaxjo (VXO) 133,757 24,307 158,064
Kalmar (KLR) 134,003 23,016 157,019
Ornskoldsvik (OSK) 127,943 3,714 131,657
Jonkoping (JKG) 68,979 57,145 126,124
Halmstad (HAD) 112,416 4,719 117,135
Karlstad (KSD) 71,896 41,165 113,061
Total Top 22 (>100,000 pax) 13,566,865 18,727,044 32,293,909
Source: Luftfartsstyrelsen

Gothenburg’s two airports combined handled close to five million passengers last year and Malmö is the third and last city in Sweden with airport traffic of over one million annual passengers. At most of the smaller airports traffic is predominantly domestic, usually consisting of a number of daily flights to Stockholm Arlanda or Bromma.

SAS and its partners still dominate the domestic market but competition is growing steadily with LCCs now having a 14% share of capacity

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share
SAS 35.3% 46.3%
Malmö Aviation 12.1% 16.5%
Skyways 28.0% 15.5%
FlyNordic 4.6% 9.1%
Sterling 3.2% 5.5%
Golden Air Flyg 5.2% 2.8%
Nordic Regional 3.4% 1.7%
Avitrans Nordic 2.6% 1.1%
Direktflyg 4.0% 0.9%
All other carriers 1.6% 0.5%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 10 September 2007

While Ryanair may be studiously ignoring Arlanda it has established a major base at Stockholm Skavsta which will see six aircraft based there this winter. Ryanair also flies to Gothenburg City (from nine airports), Stockholm Vasteras (from London Stansted and Dublin) and a new route from Düsseldorf Weeze to Vaxjo starts in October. However, the airline recently announced plans to withdraw all five routes from Malmö Sturup airport from the beginning of November.


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