AirBerlin continues to use Palma as Spanish gateway

While Air Berlin’s flirtation with a UK hub at London Stansted was short-lived, its Palma de Mallorca (PMI) hub continues to be the airline’s busiest airport for passengers. In 2006 Air Berlin transported 5.1 million passengers to and from PMI out of a total of 22.4 million. In 2006 it carried twice as many passengers as the next busiest airline at the airport, Air Europa.

Image: Air Berlin Palma de Mallorca
Air Berlin’s Palma de Mallorca (PMI) hub continues to be the airline’s busiest airport with 5.1 million passengers last year against PMI’s total 22.4m throughput. The hub consists of three ‘waves’ of flights – the second of which has over 20 arrivals from Spain in one hour. Half of these head back to Germany while the rest return to the Spanish mainland to operate another domestic service before headling back to PMI and then Germany in the third and final wave of the day.
Chart: Top 15 airlines at Palma de Mallorca
Source: AENA

The list of leading airlines is dominated by airlines that primarily operate in the leisure market. Iberia ranks only sixth in the list while German carriers occupy three of the top five poitions. Ryanair only began serving the airport earlier this year but now operates to five destinations with Dublin being added next spring.

Year-round services provided

Overall Air Berlin’s share of passenger traffic was 23% for the year but this varies between 17% in the peak summer period of August and 36% in the off-peak winter month of January. Palma’s peak-to-off-peak ratio of 4:1 reflects the highly seasonal nature of the demand to Spain’s most popular island destination.

Chart: Palma Airport Traffic and Air Berlin share 2006
Source: AENA

Air Berlin: a real hub of three ‘waves’

Table: Air Berlin Palma Hub Operations

Air Berlin’s Palma hub consists of three ‘waves’ of flights. The morning wave sees flights arriving from Germany with most of these aircraft then operating a return service to somewhere in Spain (or Portugal). The second early afternoon wave sees the Spanish domestic flights returning to Palma and additional flights arriving from Germany (and other Northern European destinations).

This is the busiest time of the day with over 20 arrivals in one hour. Half of these arrivals head back to Germany while the rest return to the Spanish mainland to operate another domestic service.

Image: Palma - Peninsula 2008
Harnessing the waves: For full details of routes, timings and aircraft types for Monday 5 November, click here for the downloadable spreadsheet.

The final wave sees these domestic flights return to Palma and then head home to Germany. On the day analysed one aircraft appears to night-stop in Seville. A mix of A319s, A320s, 737-700s and 737-800s operate these services.

During the summer season operations get considerably busier with more destinations served and higher frequencies. The latest spoke to be added to the Palma hub was Copenhagen in May. In summer there are normally around twice as many flights to/from Germany as there are Spanish internal flights, but in winter capacity is increased on the domestic routes while frequencies to Germany are reduced.

Map: Germany Routes
Palma is an actual hub and not just a busy place for Air Berlin (although it is that too). Three waves allow travellers in Germany to pass through PMI to get to desired destinations in Valencia etc. Copenhagen was the latest spoke to be added to the Palma hub in May.

Comments

Comments are closed