germanwings turns seven; fleet of 27 A319s across five bases; Cologne/Bonn still #1

Image: germanwings route launch
Connecting two bases: This week, germanwings is celebrating its seventh birthday and suitably launched seven new routes, including a new five-times daily service between its two bases at Cologne/Bonn and Hamburg. This winter, 45% of the airline’s flights are domestic.
Image: germanwings 7th birthday

Last year, germanwings, the Cologne/Bonn-based low-cost carrier now firmly under Lufthansa’s control, carried some 7.6 million passengers across five bases. The airline started operations seven years ago on 27 October 2002 as a subsidiary of Eurowings, operating a mix of A319s and A320s. Further bases were opened in Stuttgart (September 2003), Berlin Schönefeld (June 2005), Hamburg (November 2005) and Dortmund (June 2007). Passenger numbers peaked in 2007 at just under 7.9 million and during the first nine months of 2009 year-to-date passenger numbers are down 7.7% on the airline’s current fleet of 27 A319s. Next year the airline apparently intends to grow its fleet to 31 aircraft.

Chart: germanwings route network Destinations served from each base
Source: database and OAG
Image: germanwings plane

Cologne/Bonn remains the airline’s biggest base and this winter, germanwings accounts for around 40% of the airport’s scheduled seat capacity. At Berlin Schönefeld, Dortmund and Stuttgart, the airline has around 20-25% of the airports’ scheduled capacity, while at Hamburg, it accounts for just 6%.

Chart: Seasonlity
Source: Germanwings

The airline’s demand profile follows the traditional European pattern with summer peaks and winter troughs. During this summer, the airline’s passenger numbers have consistently been between those achieved in 2006 and 2007.

Focus on Central and Eastern Europe this winter

At least during the off-peak winter season, germanwings’ focus is on less seasonal domestic routes. Almost 55% of flights from its five bases will this winter be staying within German airspace. Apart from domestic flights between some of the bases, the airline also serves Dresden, Leipzig, Munich, Rostock-Laage and Zweibrücken.

Chart: Top countries
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 9 November 2009

The leading international country markets this winter are Austria, Italy and the UK. In Austria, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna are served while in Italy four destinations are served; Bologna, Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino and Venice Treviso. In the UK, London Stansted and Manchester (starting this week) are the airports of choice for germanwings.

Among the leading country markets are several in Central and Eastern Europe, led by Croatia, Poland and Russia. Perhaps surprisingly, the airline has more weekly flights to Serbia (which in OAG data still includes Pristina) than it does to France (just Cologne/Bonn to Nice, and the Airbus-supporting Hamburg to Toulouse). Other country markets served include Bosnia & Herzegovina (Sarajevo), Bulgaria (Sofia), Czech Republic (Prague), Greece (Thessaloniki), Portugal (Lisbon), Sweden (Stockholm Arlanda), Turkey (Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen) and Ukraine (Kiev).

Countries not currently served this winter include Belgium, Finland (Helsinki was tried and dropped), Ireland (Dublin is served during the summer only), the Netherlands and Norway (Oslo was tried and dropped). Next summer will see the start of services to Copenhagen for the first time with daily flights from Cologne/Bonn.


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