|The Slovakian market may be down on last year, but Ryanair does not scale down. The airline now has a 60% share of the whole country’s seat capacity, in spite of only serving Bratislava. In May, Ryanair transported its two millionth passenger from the airport (Tina Anzinger from Austria, centre), as is seen being celebrated here.|
Having lost its former national carrier ČSA to the Czech Republic, and this year also seen the demise of the de facto new national airline SkyEurope, Slovakia has again been left without a strong local carrier. In the last two weeks, however, the regional carrier DanubeWings has grown its network, both by expanding to Basel and by wet leasing 737 capacity from ČSA on new routes to London Luton, Manchester and Dublin.
|Source: Airports’ websites|
The main Slovakian airports, Bratislava and Košice, both have shown consistent growth over the last decade. In 2008, Bratislava’s passenger numbers increased by 10%, while Košice grew by as much as a third. The substantially smaller Poprad-Tatry had its peak in 2007 and fell by 3% to 58,154 passengers in 2008.
|Source: Bratislava Airport|
For Bratislava, the monthly seasonality profile does, however, show that passenger numbers have fallen since October 2008, when the global economic downturn had an effect on air travel. In September 2009, when SkyEurope – then the airport’s largest carrier – was declared bankrupt and suspended operations, passenger numbers in Bratislava fell by 35% on the previous year.
28 routes launched in 2009, yet capacity down 25% on 2008
Since SkyEurope left a void in the Slovakian market, others have been eager to fill the gap in the market. During 2009, a period during which either SkyEurope was struggling or had departed from the market, the following 28 routes have been started out of Slovakia:
|Start date||Airline||Origin airport||Destination airport||WF*||A/c|
|15-Apr-09||Sun D’or||Tel Aviv||TLV||Bratislava||BTS||1||B757|
|20-Sep-09||Wizz Air||Rome Fiumicino||FCO||Bratislava||BTS||4||A320|
|Source: anna.aero databaseWF*: Weekly Frequency|
With 60% of Slovakian seat capacity, all at Bratislava, Ryanair now has taken a firm lead as the country’s biggest airline. Marketing Bratislava as a secondary airport to Vienna, the airline operates 17 routes. Rapidly expanding DanubeWings has climbed to second place and offers 10 routes out of Bratislava and Poprad-Tatry.
Notably, the Central and Eastern European low-cost carrier Wizz Air has not chosen to make a grand entry on the Slovakian market, operating just a single route at present from Bratislava to Rome Fiumicino only.