Slovakia now belongs to Ryanair; has 67% of Bratislava’s seat capacity

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.
Slovakia map

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.

Chart: Airport Traffic 01 - 08
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.

Chart: Seasonality
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
30-Mar-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Basel BSL 4 ATR72
30-Mar-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Kosice KSC 21 ATR72
31-Mar-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Poprad/Tatry TAT 6 ATR72
31-Mar-09 Ryanair Brussels Charleroi CRL Bratislava BTS 3 B738
01-Apr-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Bologna BLQ 2 ATR72
02-Apr-09 Ryanair Pisa PSA Bratislava BTS 2 B738
03-Apr-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Bologna BLQ 2 ATR72
15-Apr-09 Sun D’or Tel Aviv TLV Bratislava BTS 1 B757
05-Jun-09 Ryanair Alicante ALC Bratislava BTS 2 B738
18-Jun-09 DanubeWings Kosice KSC Rijeka RJK 1 ATR72
26-Jun-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Split SPU 1 ATR72
27-Jun-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Zadar ZAD 2 ATR72
01-Jul-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Split SPU 1 ATR72
04-Jul-09 Ryanair Dusseldorf Weeze NRN Bratislava BTS 3 B738
20-Sep-09 Wizz Air Rome Fiumicino FCO Bratislava BTS 4 A320
25-Oct-09 DanubeWings Kosice KSC Milan Bergamo BGY 3 ATR72
25-Oct-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Warsaw WAW 3 ATR72
27-Oct-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Brussels BRU 4 ATR72
27-Oct-09 Ryanair Liverpool LPL Bratislava BTS 3 B738
29-Oct-09 Ryanair Bologna BLQ Bratislava BTS 3 B738
31-Oct-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Basel BSL 1 ATR72
03-Nov-09 Ryanair Bratislava BTS Rome Ciampino CIA 3 B738
25-Nov-09 Ryanair Paris Beauvais BVA Bratislava BTS 4 B738
01-Dec-09 DanubeWings Bratislava BTS Manchester MAN 2 B734
01-Dec-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT London Luton LTN 3 B734
02-Dec-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Manchester MAN 2 B734
05-Dec-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Dublin DUB 1 B734
05-Dec-09 DanubeWings Poprad/Tatry TAT Basel BSL 1 ATR72
Source: 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.


  1. Paul Brooman says:

    So why no Kosice to London route then, when you fly Stansted to BTS you then get on the IC train to Kosice that takes 4hrs, and most of the pax are from the Ryanair flights!

    I think a 3 x weekly Kosice – London service would give Ryanair good load factors all the year round.

    Chceme Kosice – London prosim!

  2. Marek L says:

    We could talk for hours about underestimated potential of Kosice airport.
    KSC served almost 600,000 pax in 2009. I beleive there is a potential of 1,000,000 easily.
    It is not understandale why the management of Kosice Airport( owned y austrian owners of wiena airport) manage the airport in such way, that they are trying to get rid of those airlines already operating from KSC instead of attracting new airlines and opening new routes.
    Even danubewings chose Poprad as its base, instead of KSC.

    I am also surprised Ryanair havent starte its operation from Kosice, as it was mentioned above, routes to London, Dublin, Manchester, Paris, some spanish destinations and perhaps local route to Bratislava, would all generate huge profits.
    We can only hoper for better future.!!

  3. Senor LT says:

    Eastern Slovakians should fly from Rzeszow, free parking at the airport 365 days and the cheapest connections. Always special offers. Check out at replies: According to OAG data for December Rzeszow offers nine scheduled services. LOT flies three-times daily to Warsaw, Lufthansa has five-times weekly flights to Frankfurt while Ryanair operates seven routes to Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, East Midlands, Liverpool, London Luton and London Stansted. All of these operate just twice weekly apart from Stansted which is served four times weekly. Rzeszow and Kosice are around 170 kilometres apart.

  4. Frequent Flyer says:

    More and more Slovakians are now taking the regular shuttle bus to Budapest Airport to fly. They run several times a day from Koscice and Bratislava, stop right at the departure hall of the airport, and are reasonably priced, something like 44 Euro return. It’s even published in the Reservation Systems with a Malev flight number.

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