Will Toulouse’s new Hall D attract more foreign airlines? Paris 50% of current demand

Image: Jean-Michel Vernhes
January 21: Jean-Michel Vernhes – Président du Directoire opens the €104m Hall D: “Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is currently working to develop new routes to Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Indian Ocean and North America.” (Historically, most growth has come from international services.)

Last week’s opening of the new Hall D terminal at Toulouse-Blagnac airport represents the next phase in the airport’s attempts to grow passenger numbers beyond the current level of around 6.3 million. Passenger numbers have grown by an average of just 3% per annum since 1997 with the majority of growth coming from the introduction of more international services. While domestic traffic has grown by less than 20% in 12 years, in contrast international demand has more than doubled and now represents 37% of the total traffic.

Toulouse airport traffic 97-09
Source: Toulouse Airport

London flights now operate to both Heathrow and Gatwick

The two routes to Paris Orly and CDG account for 48% of the airport’s total traffic. Air France currently offers 170 weekly departures to Orly while easyJet offers modest competition with 29 weekly services. The route to CDG is currently an Air France monopoly (with over 40 per week), but easyJet begins twice-daily flights at the end of March.

Image: Opera
Anne Berthet sings Hall D’s praises. Opera-loving Mme Berthet was no doubt disappointed to see Iberia start and then withdraw a Seville service, but would no doubt has been even more thrilled when Alitalia began serving Milan Malpensa.
Top 10 routes: Annual passengers (millions)
Source: Toulouse Airport

Apart from serving the two main Paris airports Air France also operates daily flights to seven other domestic destinations, but its only international services are to Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino. Apart from Paris CDG easyJet also competes with Air France on the Lyon route where easyJet provides 10 weekly flights to Air France’s 36.
London is the busiest international route with both Heathrow and Gatwick currently being served. Until last summer only Gatwick was operated (by both British Airways and easyJet) before British Airways shifted its flights to Heathrow.

easyJet leading foreign carrier

Image: easyJet at Toulouse
Toulouse is not an easyJet base, but it will operate seven routes this summer including three domestic services. Recently, British Airways moved its London service to Heathrow, away from easyjet’s competition at Gatwick, giving Toulouse a rich choice of traffic from the London area – connections which should be well marketed by the airport and tourist authorities.

Although not a designated base easyJet will this summer operate seven routes from Toulouse. This makes it the airport’s second busiest carrier with around 15% of scheduled seat capacity compared with 55% for air France. Apart from the three domestic routes it also serves Bristol, Geneva, London Gatwick and Madrid. The Bristol route enables Airbus employees to travel between two major sites, while germanwings’s Hamburg route is another that staff at Airbus are likely to take advantage of.

Many of Europe’s major flag carriers are present including Aer Lingus, Air Malta, Alitalia (serving Milan Malpensa but not Rome), British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa and TAP. Other regional and low-cost carrier serving the airport include Baboo (to Geneva), bmibaby (to Manchester), Flybe (to Birmingham), Jet2.com (to Belfast, Edinburgh and Leeds/Bradford), OLT (to Bremen) and Tunisair (to Tunis). Atlas Blue, jet4you and Royal Air Maroc all serve the Moroccan market while Air Algerie operates thrice-weekly flights to both Algiers and Oran.

During the last two years the airline has seen a number of services start and also end. These are summarised in the table below. As host of this year’s Routes Europe event in May the airport will be among many hoping to persuade airlines to begin or add more services to their airport.

Gained Barcelona (Iberia), Calvi (Air France), Catania (Wind Jet), Geneva (Baboo and easyJet), London Heathrow (British Airways), Manchester (bmibaby), Milan Malpensa (Alitalia),
Lost Brest (Twin Jet), Düsseldorf (Lufthansa), Geneva (Air France), London Gatwick (British Airways, moved to LHR), Seville (Iberia)
Source: Derived from OAG Max Online for w/c 5 July 2010 and w/c 7 July 2008

Of the ‘gained’ routes Calvi, London Heathrow, Manchester and easyJet’s Geneva service were launched in 2009. Just two weeks ago Chalair replaced Regional as the provider of Air France’s capacity on the route to Clermont-Ferrand.

Image: Toulouse Airport aerial
Sensationnel! And it’s even “D” shaped. (All the photos in this article are by our colleague Philippe Garcia/Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac)

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