Luxembourg welcomes new routes from easyJet, Turkish Airlines and Vueling in 2013; traffic to top 2 million this year?

This week sees the launch of easyJet services from Milan Malpensa to Luxembourg, the airline’s second route to the Grand Duchy, having launched London Gatwick flights last October. This is the first of three exciting new routes that the airport will celebrate in the coming months, as Vueling will begin four weekly flights to Barcelona in May, and Turkish Airlines will begin flights to Istanbul on 25 June. Neither of these two carriers have served the country before.

The opening of a new terminal in May 2008 has apparently helped stimulate the Luxembourg air travel market. Although traffic fell by 8.5% in 2009 following the economic downturn across much of Europe, passenger numbers since then have grown by a well above average 24% in just three years, with the airport handling a record 1.92 million passengers last year. With the launch of these new routes, the airport could easily pass two million passengers for the first time in 2013.

Luxembourg Airport traffic 1994-2012 Annual passengers (millions)

Source: LUX airport

Luxembourg’s seasonality profile is typical of many European airports with passenger numbers in the summer peak (July and August) around twice as high as in January, the airport’s quietest month for passenger movements.

Luxembourg Airport seasonality Monthly passengers 2009-2013

Source: LUX airport

Luxair dominates with two-thirds of seats

The national airline of Luxembourg, Luxair, operates a fleet of 17 aircraft; two 737-800s (186 seats), three 737-700s (141 seats), six Q400s (76 seats), and six ERJ-145s (49 seats). Apart from serving many major European cities (including Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Vienna) with regular scheduled flights, the airline operates a fairly extensive programme on behalf of LuxairTours, increasing the number of destinations it serves in August to around 50, though almost 30 of these are served just once or twice per week. According to the airline’s latest presentation (February 2013) it also has codeshare agreements with Air France, Alitalia, Austrian, LOT, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. The most extensive collaboration is with Lufthansa (which owns 13% of the airline) and Luxair passengers can collect Miles & More bonus miles on all services.

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Routes
Luxair 67.0% 65.5% 50
KLM 6.6% 5.7% 1 (AMS)
British Airways 3.7% 5.4% 1 (LHR)
Swiss 5.1% 5.3% 1 (ZRH)
easyJet 2.7% 4.5% 2 (LGW, MXP)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 5 August 2013

The prize for second busiest carrier at the airport is a toss-up between KLM, British Airways and Swiss each of which operates multiple daily flights from their home hubs. Other carriers present include Air France (serving London City), Lufthansa, SAS, TAP Portugal and this summer’s newcomers Turkish Airlines and Vueling.

Germany, Spain and UK fighting for #1 country market

In terms of leading country markets Germany, Spain and the UK are all fairly close during the peak summer period in terms of seat capacity, though Germany is the clear winner in terms of weekly flights. While five different cities are served in Germany and 10 in Spain, only London is served in the UK, with Air France and Luxair serving London City, British Airways serving London Heathrow, and easyJet now serving London City.

Luxembourg's top 12 country markets Frequency/seat share in S'13

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 5 August 2013

Ten things that make Luxembourg interesting

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the EU’s smallest country (at just 2,500 square kilometres), and the most prosperous, with its GDP per person two and a half times the average of all EU countries. However, most people will struggle to think of something for which Luxembourg is famous for but here at we have come up with the following:

  • Radio & TV: People of a certain age in the UK will have grown up listening to Radio Luxembourg in the 1960s and 70s, before commercial radio was allowed in the UK. Its parent company RTL Group is one of Europe’s leading entertainment companies.
  • The Eurovision Song Contest: Luxembourg has won this pan-European event no less than five times though the last time was 30 years ago in 1983.
  • City/Region of Culture: Luxembourg was the first city to be twice designated a European Capital of Culture, the first time in 1995 and then again in 2007.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: The city of Luxembourg’s Old Quarters and Fortifications are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were built between the 16th century and 1867.
  • Schengen: The Schengen Agreement signed in 1985, which led to the creation of Europe’s borderless Schengen Area in 1995, was named after the small Luxembourg village where the signing took place.
  • Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam): Designed by legendary architect I.M. Pei, this museum opened in 2006.
  • European Institutions: Luxembourg is home to the European Court of Justice, the European Commission, and the European Investment Bank.
  • Castles: Considering its small size the country has (depending on your definition) somewhere between 50 and 150 castles, some of which date back to the 11th century.
  • Andy Schleck: Possibly Luxembourg’s most famous sportsperson, the cyclist was awarded the 2010 Tour de France win after the original winner was disqualified.
  • Josy Barthel: Is Luxembourg’s only Olympic gold medal winner, having won the 1952 1,500 metres race in Helsinki. The country’s national sports stadium is named in his honour.


  1. miguelito says:

    LUX airport has a huge potential, not only Luxembourg has the highest GDP per capita in the EU, it also has the highest % of foreign residents, more than 40% – this means people more keen to fly. Luxembourg residents have a big part of the responsibility of the success of Hahn airport, a Ryanair base closer to Luxembourg than to Frankfurt.

    A revealing detail is the fact that the route Hahn-Porto by Ryanair has more passengers than Luxembourg-Porto by Luxair and TAP combined. That’s one of the Hahn routes that is clearly mainly used by Luxembourg residents – 20% of them are Portuguese. Easyjet could easily have 2 daily flights from Luxembourg to Porto, as it has from Geneva, a city/region with a comparable Portuguese population (both in number and origin in Portugal, North region).

    • Thanks for your comments Miguelito. Unusually I think Ryanair has missed a trick in not branding Hahn as “Luxembourg (East)”. As you say, it is technically closer to Luxembourg than it is to Frankfurt.

  2. Phil says:

    As a foreign resident living in luxembourg i fully agree with migelito: the potential is still huge especially considering the money spent on travels by residents. Many people are not willing to make the drive to Hahn especially in winter just to save some money. Last time I drove to Cologne to get a better connection, the highway was blocked by an accident and I missed the flight so I definitely prefer to fly from here. however the number of destinations remain too limited and the capacity of small planes make it sometimes difficult fo get a seat on a plane from Paris, Francfort or Amsterdam to Luxembourg or the other way around. I hope that Easyjet and vueling will offer new routes very soon and that we get transatlantic flights someday.

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