airberlin’s ‘virtual’ hub at Nuremberg currently serves 33 destinations

Image: airBerlin plane at Nuremberg
airberlin dominates Nuremberg and uses 737-800s and A320 – Lufthansa uses smaller aircraft, operated by its regional partners. This summer it is adding Rimini and Rijeka and Split (both in Croatia) to its ‘virtual’ Bavarian hub.

Nuremberg Airport (NUE) in northern Bavaria handled 4.27 million passengers in 2008, a small increase of less than 1% on 2007. It thus maintained its position as the 10th busiest airport in Germany. Traffic at the airport is dominated by airberlin which has established the airport as a regional hub. At present the airline operates over twice as much scheduled capacity at the airport as the next biggest airline, Lufthansa.

Logo: Airport Nuremberg

While airberlin operates primarily 737-800s and A320-series aircraft, Lufthansa uses smaller aircraft, operated by its regional partners, on its high frequency flights to five domestic airports, Brussels and Paris CDG.

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Number of routes
airberlin.com 36.8% 56.3% 33
Lufthansa 36.3% 24.4% 7
Swiss 5.8% 5.0% 1 (ZRH)
Air France 6.9% 4.0% 1 (CDG)
KLM 4.3% 2.9% 1 (AMS)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 16 February 2009

Over 50% of capacity on domestic routes

Over half of airberlin’s flights and capacity at NUE are allocated to domestic routes. On its three busiest routes it competes directly with Lufthansa.

Weekly frequency Destination
22 Dűsseldorf
17 Berlin Tegel, Hamburg
14 London Stansted
10 Palma de Mallorca
7 Las Palmas, Tenerife Sur
6 Budapest, Milan Malpensa, Vienna
5 Dortmund, Fuerteventura, Hannover, Paderborn/Lippstadt
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 16 February 2009

Another 19 routes (including seven domestic ones) are currently served at frequencies of four flights per week or less. Bremen, Milan Malpensa, Paphos and Ponta Delgado (in the Azores), are the most recent network additions, all of which started last November.

Hub operation generates two daily peaks

A closer examination of a day’s operation reveals that airberlin operates two main ‘waves’, one in the early morning and one in the evening. According to airberlin’s own flight data on Friday 20th February 2009 there will be 33 arrivals and 33 departures by airberlin aircraft at NUE.

Chart: airberlin aircraft movements at NUE
Source: derived from data from airberlin.com

Between 07:00 and 08:00 11 flights arrive at NUE, 10 from German destinations plus one from Vienna. Between 08:30 and 09:30 there are 12 departing flights to a range of foreign destinations such as Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Monastir, Sharm El-Sheikh and Tenerife (North and South). Between 18:45 and 19:15 the aircraft operating these flights arrive back at NUE and then between 20:10 and 20:40 they head back to a range of domestic destinations (and Vienna). As a result only about five aircraft are left to overnight at NUE, making it something of a ‘virtual’ hub.

Three new routes for summer 2009

This summer airberlin is adding three new destinations to its NUE network. Rimini in Italy will be served weekly (Saturday) while Rijeka and Split (both in Croatia) will also both be served weekly, Split on Saturdays and Rijeka on Sundays.


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