Ryanair helping Bremen back to profitability

Image: Flying from bremen

Earlier in the year, we reported on the launch of Ryanair’s new base at Bremen in Northern Germany on 1 April. At that point it was already clear that the airport had received a major boost to its traffic numbers, but only one month of route specific data was available to examine which routes were performing best (and worst).

Thanks to Ryanair, total traffic at Bremen has risen by between 20% and 46% during the April to September period, with existing airlines and routes not noticeably affected in terms of traffic numbers.

Chart: Breman Airport traffic 2005-07
Source: Flughafen Bremen

In late September, Ryanair placed a third 737-800 at the airport and launched a further six new routes to Alghero, Bratislava, Malta, Milan Bergamo, Paris Beauvais and Trapani. This resulted in year-on-year traffic growth in October of 53%. The airport is now on course to handle 2.25 million passengers in 2007, around 30% more than in 2006.

Barcelona and Tampere proving popular

With data now available for the first six months of operations, it is possible to see which routes have achieved the highest, and lowest, load factors.

Chart: Ryanair load factors at Bremen 2007
Source: Derived from Destatis data

Average load factors across all routes reached 70% in July and August, but the launch of more new routes at the end of September dragged the load factor back down to 63%. Only two routes have failed to achieve a 70% load factor in any month – London Stansted (served twice daily) and Pisa. During the summer, Ryanair competed with easyJet, which operated to London Luton, but easyJet pulled the route at the end of the summer season and now has no presence at Bremen.

Oslo Torp, which began as a daily service, was quickly reduced to four flights per week and Stockholm Skavsta was introduced to use the freed up capacity. However, this route also appears to be struggling. Star performers based on estimated load factors are Barcelona, Malaga and Tampere – the only three routes to have averaged over 75% in terms of flown load factor during the summer.

London Stansted has generated the largest number of passengers, some 80,000 in the first six months, more than double the 31,000 who have flown between Bremen and Girona (Barcelona). By the end of 2007, Ryanair should have carried around half a million passengers through Bremen Airport and expects to double that figure in 2008.

For the current winter season, the routes to Murcia, Pisa and Verona have been suspended and replaced by new services to Alicante, Budapest and Palma, leaving a total of 18 destinations still on offer.

Airport converts losses to profits

According to German press reports, the airport is delighted with the extra traffic Ryanair has generated and expects to report a profit of around €1.2 million in 2007 having endured a loss of €992,000 in 2006 (Source: fvw). Ryanair has paid €10.4 million for the exclusive use of a low cost terminal for a 20-year period. The building was a former warehouse, which was converted between September 2006 and March 2007 at a cost of €4.6 million.

According to Ryanair, Bremen airport has the potential to be a bigger base than Frankfurt Hahn, as the city is larger and airport access is better. It believes that one day the airport could sustain between five and eight million Ryanair passengers.


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