Oslo leap-frogs Stockholm as Norwegian helps Norway’s airports to record 10% growth

Map: Norway airports

With a widely dispersed population of just 4.77 million people Norway’s airports still generated an impressive 38 million passenger movements in 2006, up 10.3% on 2005. According to the IMF Norway’s GDP per capita is the third highest in the world (after Luxembourg and Ireland). The recent emergence of Norwegian as a serious home-grown competitor to the regional might of SAS has also encouraged more air travel as fares have fallen.

Chart: Norwegian Airport traffic 1999 - 2006
Source: AVINOR

Norwegian airport traffic is dominated by Oslo Gardermoen airport which has in recent years increased its market share of all Norwegian traffic from 42% in 1999 to 46% in 2006. Between 1999 and 2003 air traffic actually fell by 8% but since then traffic has grown by 24% culminating in last year’s record double-digit growth.

2007 growth running at 7%

Based on data up to the end of October growth in 2007 is averaging 6.7% across all airports.

Chart: Norwegian Airport Monthly Passengers
Source: AVINOR

Norway’s peak to off-peak ratio of around 1.45 (June versus January) is not too extreme highlighting the importance of the business-driven domestic market which is less seasonal. In 2006 Norway’s domestic market accounted for 20 million passengers compared to 12 million on direct international flights. The rest are transit and transfer passengers.

Oslo four times bigger than Bergen

Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen was opened in 1998 after Fornebu was closed due to impossible expansion possibilities. In 2006 Oslo overtook Stockholm as the second largest airport in the Nordic countries, though it still lags some way behind Copenhagen with 20.9 million passengers. Norway’s top 12 airports in 2006 were:

Airport Passengers 2005 (m) Passengers 2006 (m) % change
Oslo (OSL) 15,895,722 17,672,256 11.2%
Bergen (BGO) 3,863,198 4,358,038 12.8%
Stavanger (SVG) 2,785,031 3,109,920 11.7%
Trondheim (TRD) 2,935,799 3,167,601 7.9%
Bodo (BOO) 1,329,843 1,430,302 7.6%
Tromso (TOS) 1,459,686 1,557,255 6.7%
Sandefjord Torp (TRF) 1,210,501 1,295,612 7.0%
Kristiansand (KRS) 761,760 820,150 7.7%
Alesund (AES) 684,155 732,614 7.1%
Haugesund (HAU) 437,963 490,709 12.0%
Harstad/Narvik (EVE) 469,721 486,425 3.6%
Molde (MOL) 357,062 444,677 24.5%
Source: AVINOR

In 2007 all of these airports (apart from Molde) are experiencing traffic growth though only Sandefjord Torp is managing double-digit growth (around 21%). In total Norway has 50 airports with scheduled services according to OAG data for this winter.

SAS, Norwegian and Widerøe share domestic market

Norway’s considerable domestic network is dominated by three main carriers. SAS, Norwegian and SAS partner Widerøe between them operate over 90% of all domestic flights and carry over 95% of all domestic passengers.

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share Average Aircraft Size
SAS 42.1% 58.6% 125
Norwegian 13.0% 21.4% 148
Widerøe 36.9% 17.0% 41
Danish Air Transport 2.2% 1.2% 46
Coast Air 2.3% 0.7% 28
Avitrans Nordic 1.5% 0.6% 34
All others 2.0% 0.5% 20
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 19 November 2007

Image: Norwegian.netNorwegian, which recently celebrated its fifth birthday, operates up to 14 flights per day on the Oslo to Bergen route and 13 flights per day between Oslo and Trondheim. Stavanger is served eight times per day and Tromso four times. Routes to Alesund and Molde were less successful and dropped after less than two years of operation.

Widerøe operates nearly as many flights as SAS in the domestic market but is having to come to terms with the recent decision to scrap the use of its four Q400s. However, the airline will continue to operate its seven 50-seat Dash 8-300s and its 17 39-seat Dash 8-100s. In 2006 the airline transported around 1.9 million passengers.

Map: Wideroe

SAS: one-third of international traffic

Most of Norway’s airports only serve the domestic market and only 10 offered scheduled international services in 2006 with Oslo accounting for nearly 70% of all international passengers. Bergen, Sandefjord Torp and Stavanger are the only other airports with more than 500,0000 international passengers.

SAS Norway was created in 2004 when SAS completed the takeover of Braathens, and the airline operates a fleet of over 50 737s and a handful of Fokker 50s and Avro RJs. SAS has around one-third of all international capacity from Norway this winter followed by Norwegian and KLM, which serves Amsterdam from six Norwegian airports. The top 10 scheduled airlines serving the Norwegian international market are currently:

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share Routes Operated
SAS Norway 31.0% 33.3% 36
Norwegian 14.7% 18.7% 56
KLM 8.0% 7.3% 6
Sterling 4.8% 6.4% 16
Ryanair 3.7% 6.0% 11
Lufthansa 5.7% 5.1% 4
Widerøe 7.5% 3.8% 7
British Airways 4.1% 2.8% 4
Finnair 2.0% 1.6% 1
Air Baltic 1.4% 1.5% 4
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 19 November 2007

Two of Europe’s biggest LCCs easyJet and Air Berlin are conspicuous by their absence though Ryanair operates 10 routes from Torp and one from Haugesund (to London Stansted). Europe’s LCCs have around a one-third share of Norway’s international market with Sterling, FlyNordic (now part of Norwegian), Wizz Air and Jet2.com also represented.

Image: AdvertApart from Oslo, Norwegian also operates mini-bases from Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim. International routes from these airports focus on the UK and summer-sun destinations such as Alicante, Malaga and Nice. The development of Moss Airport Rygge to the south-east of Oslo will add another international airport. Norwegian plans to base aircraft there from February next year and will serve 14 destinations by the end of March.


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