German airport traffic down 7.9% in 2009 H1; Lübeck, Memmingen and Weeze buck trend

Image: Wizz Air this week began serving Munich West/Memmingen from its Kiev base
Wizz Air this week began serving Munich West/Memmingen from its Kiev base – helping to feed traffic away from Germany’s major hubs as they see falling passenger numbers. A twice-weekly service from Katowice to Memmingen will begin on 22nd September.

Germany, like most of the other major countries in Europe, has seen passenger numbers fall by between 5% and 10% during the first half of 2009. The drop was greatest in February which suffered the additional fate of being one day shorter than in 2008. Since last October only Berlin Schönefeld among the top 10 airports has consistently reported growth.

Chart: German airport traffic growth 2008-09 - Monthly passenger growth versus previous year
Source: ADV

Looking at Germany’s top 20 airports for the first six months of 2009 reveals that only three of them have reported growth. Weeze (Ryanair’s most recent German base which is around 60 kilometres from Dűsseldorf) leads the way followed by Lübeck (around 50 kilometres from Hamburg) and Berlin Schönefeld. Germany’s two major hubs at Frankfurt (down 8.2%) and Munich (down 9.4%) have performed marginally worse than the national average (down 7.9%).

Chart: Top 20 German airports - Passenger growth January to June 2009 versus 2008
Source: ADV

While LCCs can claim to be the drivers of growth at the fastest-growing airports, they are also responsible for the fastest-shrinking airport. Dortmund has lost several routes previously flown by easyJet as well as some Scandinavian services offered by now-defunct Sterling.

Memmingen heads for top 20 ranking

Just outside the top 20 is the new airport at Allgäu-Memmingen (also promoted by some airlines as Munich West) which handled 265,000 passengers in the first half of 2009, an increase of 23.2% on the previous year. The two main airlines serving the airport at present are Ryanair and TUIfly though Wizz Air this week starts its first service there from its Kiev base.


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