Göteborg-Landvetter: Slow growth gives way to new route launches next spring; Volvo sale to China raises Asian hopes

Image: Turkish Airlines started services from Gothenburg
An airline seeing potential growth: When Turkish Airlines started services from Gothenburg to its Istanbul hub this summer, the airline’s CEO himself, Dr Temel Kotil, travelled on the inaugural flight. Since then, the frequency has been increased from three to four weekly services.

Since 2001, Sweden’s second biggest airport, Göteborg-Landvetter serving Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast, has had to come to terms with being one of two competing airports vying for business in Sweden’s second city (metro pop. 900,000). New competition comes from the much smaller Göteborg City Airport, served by Ryanair and Wizzair.

Chart: Göteborg-Landvetter traffic 1998-2008 - Annual passengers (millions)
Source: LFV

During the last decade, the airport’s traffic has been fairly flat, with minor troughs after 9/11 and around the SARS epidemic. Traffic for 2008 was only 2% higher than 2000, suggesting the major passenger growth in the area has taken place at the competing Göteborg City Airport.

However, international traffic has grown – in contrast to domestic traffic, which has been hit by improved train services and extremely strong environmental pressure on air travel over short distances.

Chart: Göteborg-Landvetter seasonality - Monthly passengers
Source: LFV

The seasonality profile for the airport reveals that a fall in total passengers for 2009 is to be expected. The total number of passengers in October was down by -12% compared to the previous year.

The monthly passenger traffic otherwise follows the typical pattern for Scandinavian airports where business-driven domestic traffic collapses during the July holiday month. With holidaymakers in the area generally travelling earlier during the summer than their counterparts on the European continent, the otherwise popular European holiday month of August is less busy for international traffic at Göteborg-Landvetter Airport than the peak-months June and July.

Germany biggest international market

Chart: Gothenburg top 10 country markets - Seat capacity
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 9 November 2009

Germany is the biggest country market dominated by Lufthansa’s links to its hubs in Frankfurt (also served by SAS) and Munich as well as to Hamburg. airberlin serves Berlin-Tegel (a service recently moved from Göteborg City Airport), while Welcome Air has a thrice-weekly Dornier 328 service to Hannover.

The major European network carriers (except British Airways) are all represented at the airport, which to a great extent relies on these airlines’ hubs to transfer passengers to onward destinations. The airport currently has no long-haul links after Delta’s plan to start a New York (JFK) service was put on hold last year.

Routes added this year include the launch of services on Turkish Airlines from its Istanbul hub and Croatia Airlines from Zagreb.

SAS leads, but local City Airline looking to grow

With 32% of scheduled capacity, SAS is by far the largest carrier. However, with only four routes (to Stockholm-Arlanda, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and London-Heathrow), several strategists have seen the potential for a local niche carrier.

First, there was the low-cost carrier Goodjet, which lasted between 2002 and 2003 and then its successor FlyMe, which was declared bankrupt in 2007. Sterling’s bankruptcy in October last year meant a loss of eleven routes out of Landvetter and a further reduction in scheduled leisure offering.

Image: City Airlines
City Airline seems ready to overtake SAS in the Gothenburg market. Its network offering is already much greater than SAS’ mere four routes.

However, Gothenburg-based regional airline City Airline, which currently offers 10 business-oriented destinations using Embraer 135 and 145s, is about to do something about the void left by these failed airlines. Next spring will see the airline add two MD-87s to its fleet. Seven new, southern European routes have been announced (including Athens, Barcelona and Rome). Another of the destinations, Milan, was even requested by the general public in a competition arranged by the airline. This local initiative could mean the end of SAS’ dominance at the airport. anna.aero will report again next year when these plans take effect.

Other future impacts to the local air traffic market will be determined by the highly topical/controversial sale by Ford of Gothenburg based Volvo Cars to Geely of Hangzhou, China. If the current rumours materialise, this increases the chances that Gothenburg’s first scheduled long-haul link in many years will be with China.


  1. RIX says:

    it seems GOT suffering under big gap between seet capacity 40% domestic, 60% international but serve 25% domestic and 75% international annual passengers.

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