TUI’s restructuring dampens Hanover’s prospects

Image: TUIFly HQ
TUI’s impressive HQ is located in Hannover but the airline is only the third biggest at its ‘home’ airport.

TUI’s German headquarters may be located in Hanover but the airline is still only the third largest carrier at the local Langenhagen airport (HAJ). With a population of around half a million people this northern German city generates considerable airport traffic. As a former Expo venue (in 2000) the city is probably best known for its fairground (claimed to be the largest in the world) and its many exhibitions and trade fairs, such as CeBIT.

Declining share of German traffic

Hanover’s traffic grew by 25% between 1996 and 2000 but the airport has struggled to recover from the post ‘9/11′ slump in air traffic. Only in 2005 did passenger numbers finally surpass those of 2000 and last year traffic growth was just 1.1%

Chart: Hanover airport traffic 1996-2006
Source: ADV

As a share of Germany’s total airport traffic Hanover’s contribution has fallen from around 4% in 1997 to just 3.3% in 2006. Traffic in the first 10 months of 2007 has also been disappointing with passenger numbers down 2% compared with 2006 as TUIfly continues to restructure its network.

Chart: Hanover airport seasonality
Source: ADV

Germany’s second largest Oktoberfest in Hanover helps explain the unusually solid performance of traffic in October.

Ryanair’s development of Bremen (less than 100 kilometres away) as a major base will also attract some passengers from the Hanover catchment area. So far no non-German LCCs fly to Hanover, though UK regional Flybe does offer daily flights from Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton.

TUIfly’s 4th biggest base

Image: HLX.com
Before its merger with Hapagfly to create TUIfly.com, hlx operated a 737-500 in Hanover airport corporate colours.

TUIfly.com, created by the merger of two TUI in-house airlines, Hapagfly and Hapag-Lloyd Express (hlx), has bases across a range of German airports.

Chart: TUIflys Top 10 German bases
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 17 December 2007

Only around 10% of the airline’s capacity is based at Hanover with the airline operating larger bases at Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart and Berlin Tegel. In terms of market share at HAJ TUIfly ranks third this winter behind Air Berlin and Lufthansa.

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share Number Of Routes (Dom/Int)
Air Berlin 21.0% 26.4% 13 (3D/10I)
Lufthansa 25.9% 23.4% 5 (3D/2I)
TUIfly 12.6% 19.1% 21 (1D/20I)
Swiss 5.0% 4.7% 1 (1I)
Air France 6.8% 3.3% 1 (1I)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 17 December 2007

The one area where TUIfly is the undisputed leader is in the range of destinations offered. It offers 21 routes compared with Air Berlin’s 13 and has twice as many international routes as anyone else. These include destinations in Austria, Egypt, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Italy is best served with seven destinations followed by Spain with five.

The airline’s only domestic route to Stuttgart (on which it competes with Lufthansa) is the only route served with greater than daily frequency. Many of the ‘winter sun’ destinations are served just once or twice per week.

Frequency Destination
7-13 per week Stuttgart (11)
5-6 per week Manchester, Milan Bergamo, Paris Orly
3-4 per week Fuerteventura, Hurghada, Klagenfurt, Las Palmas, Newcastle, Rome FCO, Salzburg, Stockholm ARN, Tenerife TFS, Venice
1-2 per week Arrecife/Lanzarote, Catania, Luxor, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 17 December 2007

During summer 2007 TUIfly introduced just two new routes from Hanover to Valencia (twice weekly) and Rimini (weekly). Both are seasonal routes. New destinations provided by other carriers include Düsseldorf (Air Berlin partner LGW), Kaliningrad (KD Avia), Kristiansand (Welcome Air) and Warsaw (LOT).


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