Darwin Airline – ‘the Origins of a Network’ continues to evolve with new Cambridge and Leipzig bases

Launching the first of four routes to Amsterdam (the inaugural service), Paris CDG, Geneva and Milan Malpensa from the airline’s newest operational base at Cambridge Airport was Darwin Airline’s CCO Christian Schneider (right) along with Robert Marshall CEO Marshall Group. The airline specialises in serving regional airports which have the ability to offer fast passenger processing, like its home base in Lugano, Switzerland.

Darwin Airline is a regional airline with its head office and major base at Lugano Airport, Switzerland, as well as a further main base in Geneva. It continues to grow at break-neck speed, 165% in terms of weekly seats in the last 12 months, and as of this week, it has added the UK back onto its route network (opening a Cambridge base), along with Germany (opening a Leipzig base). Also being added to the route map this week is Netherlands (Amsterdam is served from both Cambridge and Leipzig), alongside existing country markets like Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain and Serbia. Rounding off the airline’s current service offer are the domestic services it flies within Switzerland and Italy.

Launch date Route Aircraft type WF
2 September Cambridge (CBG) – Amsterdam (AMS) S2000 12
Cambridge (CBG) – Geneva (GVA) 3
Cambridge (CBG) – Paris (CDG) 6
Cambridge (CBG) – Milan Malpensa (MXP) 4
Leipzig (LEJ) – Amsterdam (AMS) 12
Leipzig (LEJ) – Paris (CDG) 12

In November 2010, Darwin saved fellow Swiss regional airline baboo from bankruptcy. As a result, the combined airline currently operates nine Saab 2000s, with one of baboo’s Dash 8 Q400s in storage (Source: planespotters.net). In addition, Belle Air Europe provides the Swiss carrier with A319 equipment to operate its routes from Zurich (10 times weekly) and Geneva (twice-weekly) to Pristina.

Top routes in constant flux

To say the route network at Darwin is fluid is perhaps an understatement, with only two of this year’s top 12 routes having made it through from this time last year — namely its Lugano to Geneva service, as well as it Geneva to Rome Fiumicino route. That said, both have seen the network planning doctor in that time, with capacity on the former down by 8%, while the latter has seen a double-digit trim in weekly seats of 12%. Another telling sign of the state of network flux is the fact that three of the top 12 routes are also taken up by services being launched this week (Cambridge and Leipzig to Amsterdam; Leipzig to Paris CDG).

Darwin Airline Top 12 routes Weekly seats

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi 10-16 September

This year’s network of services for Darwin includes 26 destinations on the route map, up from 17 a year ago. Of those 17 flown last September, 13 airports are still receiving Darwin’s aircraft this summer, although Genoa, St. Tropez, Nice and Rimini have been dropped. Joining the previously mentioned Amsterdam, Cambridge, Paris CDG, Leipzig and Milan Malpensa are Ancona, Bolzano, Lampedusa, Palermo and Trapani in Italy, Prague in Czech Republic, Pristina in Serbia, as well as Toulon in France to make-up the 26 points on Darwin’s seemingly ever-changing route map. For further information on this interesting airline, check out our 30-second interview with CCO Christian Scheinder.


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