Norwegian faces LOTs of competition in Warsaw

Image: Norwegian Airlines
To appeal to its home market Norwegian has used famous Norwegians on its tailfins – maybe it could try the same thing in the Polish market …

Map: WarsawIn July 2006 Oslo-based Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian) set up its first base outside of Norway when it based a 737 at Warsaw Okecie (WAW) airport. A second aircraft followed in mid-September. Some of the initial routes were not a success and connections to Barcelona Girona, Dublin, Milan Malpensa and Nice have been discarded. This summer Birmingham was added to the network and Rome flights were redirected from Ciampino to Fiumicino.

Logo: WarsawFour new destinations for winter

As the airline heads into its second winter of Polish operations new destinations are being added to Munich, Paris and Stavanger at the start of the season with a seasonal ski route to Salzburg starting at the end of December. A summary of frequencies and competition faced this winter is shown below.

From Warsaw to – Weekly frequency Competition norwegian fares from
S07 W07
Alicante 2 2 303 Zloty
Athens 3 3 LO 6 108 Zloty
Bergen 3 3 156 Zloty
Birmingham 4 4 108 Zloty
Copenhagen 4 6 LO 14, SK 17 108 Zloty
Malaga 2 2 303 Zloty
Munich 4 LO 19, LH 20 68 Zloty
Oslo 8 7 LO 12 206 Zloty
Paris Orly 4 LO 20*, AF 20* 108 Zloty
Rome Fiumicino 3 3 LO 7, AZ 7 203 Zloty
Stavanger 2 156 Zloty
Stockholm Arlanda 7 4 LO 19 98 Zloty
Total 36 44    
* Services to Paris CDGSource: Norwegian website, OAG Max Online for w/c 29 Oct 07

Warsaw’s leading LCC Wizz Air operates to a number of secondary airports providing additional competition. Wizz serves Paris Beauvais (four times weekly), Stockholm Skavsta (also four times weekly) and Oslo Torp (three times weekly).

Two aircraft base generates 6% capacity share

Table: Norwegian at Warsaw
Source: Derived from airline website

All of these routes will be served by two Warsaw based 737s with the exception of the Stavanger frequencies and two of the four Stockholm frequencies. Flight times begin at 06:00 and aircraft return no later than 23:05. Only Oslo and Copenhagen are served on a daily, or almost-daily, basis. Stockholm’s daily service has been reduced from daily to just four flights per week. On seven of the 12 routes Norwegian has competition from LOT and on four of those routes there is also competition from the home carrier at the other end of the route.

As a result of the schedule changes for winter Norwegian has consolidated its position as the third biggest carrier at Warsaw in terms of capacity and fourth biggest in terms of frequency.

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share
LOT 60.4% 46.2%
Wizz Air 4.9% 9.5%
Norwegian 3.5% 5.6%
Centralwings 2.9% 5.1%
Lufthansa 4.2% 4.0%
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 29 Oct 07

The sizeable Polish market has attracted many LCCs and apart from the three listed above other LCCs that serve Warsaw include easyJet, Germanwings, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, SkyEurope and Clickair. Air Berlin briefly served Berlin Tegel and Düsseldorf in 2004/05 before abandoning the Polish market. UK LCC bmibaby will be adding routes to East Midlands and Cardiff in 2008.

Cheapest fares to Munich

An analysis of currently available fares for flights in the first week of November reveals that Norwegian is offering some amazingly low fares on its new route to Munich. With Lufthansa and LOT each operating three flights per day competition is intense but Norwegian’s €16 one-way fares (including taxes) should certainly catch the attention of value-conscious travellers.

Table: Norwegian fares from Warsaw
Source: Airline website

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