|The performance of Lufthansa’s services to the German hubs has been unexciting. By contrast, germanwings has put some zing into the routes linking East Germany to the secondary points such as Cologne/Bonn. Photo: Uwe Schoßig ©.|
Passenger numbers between the two main airports in the former East Germany and the three biggest airports in western Germany has shown little significant growth over the last seven years with one notable exception. Demand in 2008 between Leipzig and Frankfurt was down 24% versus 2001, while for Munich and Düsseldorf the corresponding figures were plus 16% and minus 12%. Dresden – Frankfurt traffic was down 2%, Dresden – Munich was up 16% but Dresden – Düsseldorf demand was up 92% thanks to dba (now part of airberlin) beginning twice daily flights in May 2006.
Lufthansa has had a virtual monopoly on all the remaining routes during this period, though dba operated double-daily Munich – Dresden flights from September 2004 to early 2007, and hlx (now TUIfly.com) operated double-daily flights between Munich and Lepizig starting at the end of 2006 and ending in 2007. The same airline also launched low-cost flights between Düsseldorf and Leipzig at the end of 2006 and through summer 2007.
germanwings replaces Eurowings on regional links to east
During the same period (2001-2008), demand for travel from non-hub airports to Dresden and Leipzig has benefited from the introduction of low-cost point-to-point services. In 2001, services from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart, to Dresden and Leipzig, were operated by Lufthansa partner Eurowings. Now all four routes are flown by germanwings and the growth in traffic has been significant.
The first germwanwings service between Cologne/Bonn and Dresden began on 30 March 2003. Flights between Stuttgart and Dresden commenced on 30 October 2004 followed by Cologne/Bonn to Leipzig services on 29 September 2005.
On the Stuttgart – Leipzig route hlx (now TUIfly.com) began twice-daily flights on 27 March 2006, but these were later abandoned and germanwings took over the route from 7 January 2008. Lufthansa’s low-cost partner now has a monopoly on all four routes. Between 2001 and 2008, annual traffic has grown by 145% on Stuttgart – Leipzig, 125% on Cologne/Bonn – Leipzig, 105% on Cologne/Bonn – Dresden and 65% on Stuttgart – Dresden.