’s Copenhagen base serves 13 destinations; local LCCs compete on all but one

Image: Transavia
When Copenhagen’s new low-cost terminal CPH Swift is completed next year, the airport is likely to attract even more low-cost carriers, increasing the level of competition in the leisure market that competes in.

When Sterling was declared bankrupt in late October 2008, Denmark’s leisure market was left drastically underserved. Three airlines quickly moved in to fill the gap in the market. Norwegian was first and set up a Copenhagen base within hours of Sterling’s collapse. In early December, Air France-KLM’s low-cost subsidiary moved back into the Danish market by also setting up a base. A month later, the Danish regional carrier Cimber Air, which had bought parts of Sterling and rebranded as Cimber Sterling, also started Copenhagen based low-cost leisure operations. had previously served Copenhagen from its Dutch bases. Daily flights from Rotterdam started at the end of February 2004, however, after Sterling commenced flights between Copenhagen and Amsterdam in May 2005, moved its service over to Amsterdam Schiphol from the following August. In March 2008, the route was dropped, meaning that Copenhagen was left unserved by the airline until the new base was set up there eight months later.

Chart: Top 15 airlines
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 18 January 2010

Of the airlines based at Copenhagen, has a more conservative presence in the market, ranking in 13th place by capacity this winter.

Only one route this winter without competition; all summer routes facing competition

Winter schedule 2009-2010

Destination WF Competition (weekly frequency)
Innsbruck 5  
Malaga 4 Norwegian (4), Cimber Sterling (4), Spanair (2)
Nice 4 SAS (3), Norwegian (2)
Barcelona 3 Spanair (13), SAS (4), Norwegian (3), Cimber Sterling (2)
Salzburg 3 Norwegian (1), Cimber Sterling (1)
Gran Canaria 3 Cimber Sterling (3), Norwegian (1)
Rome Fiumicino 2 SAS (4), Cimber Sterling (5), Norwegian (3)
Tenerife South 2 Cimber Sterling (2)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 18 January 2010
WF: Weekly Frequency

This winter, operates one monopoly route out of Copenhagen. Innsbruck is at five weekly flights also operated with the highest frequency of’s eight destinations. Of the remaining routes, all but Tenerife is in competition with two or more other scheduled airlines.

During the summer season, the two Denmark-based aircraft are complemented by yet another sibling from other bases.

Summer schedule 2010 

Destination WF Competition (weekly frequency)
Barcelona 7 Spanair (13), Cimber Sterling (7), SAS (5), Norwegian (4)
Malaga 7 Norwegian (7), Cimber Sterling (7), Spanair (2), SAS (1)
Nice 5 SAS (8), Norwegian (5), Cimber Sterling (4)
Rome Fiumicino 4 SAS (9), Cimber Sterling (9), Norwegian (4)
Naples 3 Cimber Sterling (1)
Pisa 3 Norwegian (2)
Montpellier 2 Cimber Sterling (2)
Palma de Mallorca 2 airberlin (7), Cimber Sterling (3), Norwegian (3)
Chania 2 Cimber Sterling (2)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 2 August 2010
WF: Weekly Frequency

Fare level on par with other LCCs, yet more consistent

This winter, the route where meets the most competition is to Barcelona. When studying the fares until the end of the year and once weekly (Thursdays; the day of the week that all five carriers operate) for the first four months of 2010, it is clear that manages to closely compete with its fares.

CHT: BCN fares
Source: Airline websites
Note: Spanair and SAS fares presented include code share flights and are half of the return fares for one-week stays; all other airlines’ fares are one-way

In our study,’s average fare of €76.70 is close to fellow low-cost carriers Cimber Sterling at €75.62 and Norwegian at €75.92. The airlines’ revenue management techniques do, however, seem to differ. Whereas many of Cimber Sterling’s and Norwegian’s departures have lower fares than in the upcoming month, forward bookings later in the new year show an opposite trend. In March and April, compensates by offering fares at the lower end. As a consequence,’s fares are the most stable of the airlines operating the route.


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