CGN breaks through 10 million barrier thanks to LCCs

Following last week’s report on how Geneva had broken through the 10 million passenger milestone, this week takes a closer look at Germany’s sixth busiest airport, Cologne/Bonn (CGN), which also passed that mark at the end of 2007.

Image: 10 millionth passenger for CGN
Andreas Sandberg, a 25-year-old Swede, celebrates becoming CGN’s 10 millionth passenger on 10 December 2007. Mr Sandberg had arrived from Stockholm with Germanwings and after a brief stopover in Cologne was flying on to Cairo with TUIfly later the same day. He had booked his flights through CGN’s new flight connection portal Cologne Bonn Connect.
Chart: Cologne/Bonn traffic 1994-2007
Source: ADV

Since establishing itself in 2002 as Germany’s leading airport for low-cost airlines traffic has virtually doubled from 5.4 million in 2002 to 10.5 million last year. This has been achieved thanks primarily to the creation of two German LCCs, Germanwings (which has its HQ at the airport) and TUIfly (formerly Hapag Lloyd Express, a.k.a. hlx).

Image: airline routes

Domestic passengers now represent just 35% of all airport traffic compared to 50% in 2002, despite growing by 35% during the period. However, international traffic has been the big success increasing by 150% during the same period from 2.7 million passengers to 6.9 million.

Germanwings and TUIfly have half the market

This winter these two airlines operate over 60 routes, though in summer the addition of many seasonal routes will see Germanwings alone offer over 60 different destinations and the airport as a whole will offer well over 100 destinations.

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share Number of Routes
Germanwings 32.4% 35.5% 34 18.2% 22.0% 30
Lufthansa 22.0% 19.1% 5
Air Berlin 11.3% 12.5% 7
Condor 0.9% 1.7% 4
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 14 January 2008

Until recently easyJet ranked fifth among scheduled carriers but from the beginning of January routes from East Midlands and Liverpool (both operated since June 2004) have been terminated leaving just a daily service to London Gatwick. However, bmi regional will begin almost daily services from East Midlands from 11 February using an Embraer regional jet. Other foreign LCCs operating at CGN include Wizz Air (serving Gdansk and Katowice) and Blue Air (which offers five weekly flights to Bucharest).

Continental coup for CGN

Image: Cologne/Bonn CEO Michael Garvens
Cologne/Bonn CEO Michael Garvens (centre) celebrates the launch of Continental services from the airport.

CGN’s biggest coup so far has been to attract Continental to operate daily transatlantic services to New York Newark. The service started on 11 May 2006 and is operated by a 757. Frequency is reduced to just five flights per week during the winter season.

Image: TuiFlyOther legacy airlines with a presence at CGN include Lufthansa (obviously), Turkish Airlines, KLM, Austrian, SAS and CSA. German regional carriers include Intersky (to Friedrichshafen), Luftfahrt Gesellschaft Walter (to Erfurt) and OLT (to Rostock).

Less common scheduled routes this winter are provided by Armavia to Yerevan (Armenia), BH Airlines to Sarajevo and Iran Air with twice-weekly flights to Tehran.

New winter routes to Egypt

The airport has a typical European seasonality profile though the summer peak extends all the way through to October.

Chart: Cologne/Bonn Seasonality
Source: ADV

New destinations for this winter include Grenoble (weekly with TUIfly), Cairo (twice weekly with TUIfly), Luxor (weekly with Air Berlin), Allgau/Memmingen (daily with TUIfly) and Skopje (weekly with Germanwings).

For this summer, apart from the new bmi regional service to East Midlands, there will be new scheduled services provided by Lufthansa to Istanbul (already served by Turkish Airlines) and Germanwings to Osijek (Croatia), Pula, Bordeaux and Riga while Krakow services will be redirected to nearby Katowice from the beginning of April.

Image: Cologne/Bonn Terminal
Cologne/Bonn is investing €13m on an extension to Terminal, with an enlarged shopping and catering concourse and eight new security control points which will raise the total to 18. The security checkpoints will go into operation in November 2008; the retail extension will be complete in March 2009.

Logo: Cologne Bonn ConnectCologne Bonn Connect

With its ideal location at the heart of Europe CGN makes an ideal connecting point, though this is something LCCs do not normally encourage. However, the airport has recently set up a dedicated website which offers a ‘look and book’ link where customers can find the best connections via CGN. Flight connection insurance can also be taken out via the website. If a passenger misses their connecting flight due to a delayed flight to Cologne/Bonn the insurance will make reimbursements for a new reservation up to €500. If a connecting flight is not available until the next day the insurance will also cover costs for hotel accommodation up to €100.

Flight transfers will also be easier with special transfer desks in the baggage claim area. Arriving in Cologne/Bonn passengers simply collect their baggage as usual and take it to the transfer desk. Here they can check in for the connecting flight and will be issued with a boarding pass. This transfer service is, however, not available for passengers arriving from a non-EU country, since they have to pass through customs.


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