develops Copenhagen base as Dutch market falters; Innsbruck winter niche

Image: Transavia
Strengthening its position in Denmark, gained a Danish AOC (Air Operators certificate) on 13th August – enabling expansion to destinations outside the EU. To qualify, the carrier has formed an entirely Danish company – Transavia Denmark ApS, with a Danish model similar to’s successful set-up in Holland and France. The message from staff reads: “Good luck to our colleagues in Denmark.”

Without much hype Dutch-based has managed to evolve from a charter airline into one of Europe’s more successful low-cost/charter hybrid airlines reporting a profit for each of the last 10 years. During that time the KLM subsidiary has grown its base fleet only modestly from 24 to 29 aircraft, but passenger numbers have increased by almost 60% to almost 5.5 million in 2008. Although passenger numbers grew by just 1.5% in the financial year ended 31 March 2009, capacity as measured by ASKs (available seat kilometres) grew by 7.6%. The load factor in 2008/09 was 84% down fractionally from the previous year.

Chart: 99-09
Source: Transavia

Last December the airline started a new base in Copenhagen, its first outside of the Netherlands. This was in responses to the perceived opportunities created by the collapse of Sterling last autumn. This summer is operating 12 routes from the Danish capital and with 38 weekly departures the airport is now the airline’s third biggest base of operations behind Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

Chart: Top 12
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 August 2009

Big in Innsbruck in winter

Image: Transavia

Looking at which country markets are served from the airline’s Dutch and Danish bases reveals that Spain (124 weekly departures), Italy (47), France (38) and Greece (33) are the biggest destination markets for the airline. Lesser served markets include Portugal, Turkey, the UK, Egypt, Morocco and Germany. There are also weekly scheduled flights to Bulgaria and Tunisia. Routes to Paris Orly (from Rotterdam) and Milan Bergamo (from Amsterdam) were dropped during the last year.

Focussing on the leisure market means that demand is much lower during the winter period so the airline has developed a number of niche routes appealing to the winter sports market. In its latest annual report states that it was the second busiest airline at Innsbruck last winter (after Austrian) with 27 weekly flights from not just Amsterdam and Rotterdam but also Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen and Hamburg.

Leases help airline match capacity with demand

The airline operates a fleet of 737s (-700 and -800s). The base fleet consists of 28 aircraft but during the 2008 summer peak season an additional six aircraft were leased in creating a fleet of 34 aircraft, up from 32 in summer 2007. This summer the base fleet consists of 29 aircraft with three aircraft based in Denmark. Again several aircraft have been leased in for the summer peak including aircraft from Transavia France, Gol and Spicejet.

In June the airline received its first new 737-800 from Boeing, part of an order for seven 737s (with three further options) which are expected to be used primarily for fleet replacement rather than growth. The airline has operated a number of so-called ‘logojets’ in recent years including one for T-Mobile. The latest is for DelfSail, a major sailing event featuring tall ships, square riggers and traditional sailing vessels, which took place this week in the Ems estuary.

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  1. rob van dijk says:

    Copenhagen isn’t Transavia’s first ‘foreign’ base. In cooperation with Air France – a 40/60 percent split of ownership, Transavia has set up a French subsidiary in 2007, based in Paris Orly. In contrast to Copenhagen, the French subsidiary operates it’s own fleet of (now) six aircraft. Because it is a separate entity you won’t find Orly in the graph, presumably.

    And not only has Transavia made a profit for the last 10 years, it has never made a loss in it’s 40+ years existence

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