Luxair reports traffic growth of 10% in 2013; Porto is top S14 route

As part of its 2014 expansion, Luxair resumed services on the 961-kilometre sector to Dublin on 30 March, a route which was last operated in January 2012. The achievement was marked with a special cake by government ministers from both Ireland and Luxembourg and the CEOs of Luxair and Luxembourg Airport.

Following the reorganisation of Luxembourg Airlines, Luxair was born in 1961 to meet the growing demand for air services between Luxembourg (which had become the seat of several important institutions) and other European cities. Nonetheless, the airline began its first operations in April 1962, when it launched flights on the Luxembourg-Paris CDG airport pair utilising a Fokker F27 Friendship. The carrier (in which Lufthansa has a 13% stake) along with LuxairTours, LuxairCARGO and LuxairServices are part of LuxairGroup — a key player in the economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the surrounding Greater Region. Therefore, apart from serving many major European cities (including Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Vienna) with regular scheduled flights, the airline also operates a fairly extensive programme on behalf of LuxairTours.

Based at Luxembourg Findel Airport, Luxair serves over 50 destinations in 19 countries within Europe and North Africa. With a current fleet of 18 units, including three 737-700s (141 seats), two 737-800 (186 seats), seven Q400s (76 seats) and six ERJ 145s (49 seats), the airline has been growing remarkably in recent years, as analysis of Innovata seat capacity indicates that around 57,000 weekly seats will be offered this August, 36% more when compared to the corresponding period five years ago.

Traffic grows by 9.5% in 2013

The biggest carrier at Luxembourg (where it commands almost 70% of all weekly seats this August), Luxair handled around 1.5 million passengers last year (a new record high), representing an increase of 9.5% over 2012 figures. In fact, 2013 was an excellent year for the airline as its load factor grew by 1.9% and ASKs went up 6.4%. Furthermore, with three new additions to its network — namely the services to Dublin, Stockholm Arlanda and Lisbon launched at the end of March — Luxair is likely to continue its growth in 2014. Besides this, the carrier also commenced weekly flights on the 814-kilometre sector to Calvi on 26 April.

Chart - Luxair Traffic 2004-2013 Annual Passengers (millions) and Load Factors

Source: LuxairGroup 2004-2013.

Overall, looking at passenger development between 2004 and 2013, Luxair posted decreases of 5.9% and 3.3% in 2007 and 2009 respectively. With those exceptions, the airline has experienced growth each year, noting an annual average growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9% over this period. Also noteworthy is the fact that Luxair’s average annual load factor has improved significantly from 62% in 2004, to 73% in 2008, and last year it reached 75%.

Luxembourg-Porto is #1 route by seats

According to Innovata schedule data for this August, the carrier operates 110 non-stop services, with the top 12 airport pairs accounting for 28% of all weekly seats. With a yearly increase of almost 20%, the 1,487-kilometre route to Porto accounts for the majority of weekly seats (3.5%) in 2014, being operated with a total of 23 weekly departures from Luxembourg. In fact all of the airline’s routes are being operated from its Luxembourg base, with the only exception being the 531-kilometre German sector from Saarbrücken to Hamburg (highlighted in bright green), which is served 12 times weekly.

Chart - Luxair's top 12 routes Weekly one-way seat capacity

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 19 August 2014.

Luxair’s weekly seat capacity posted over 12% growth this August, with 10 of the top dozen airport pairs growing, when compared to data from the corresponding week last year. Therefore, the 795-kilometre link to Copenhagen is the fastest growing airport pair, having increased by 138% or 407 weekly seats in the past 12 months. This comes as a result of the airline increasing its frequency by five weekly flights to 11 times weekly. By comparison, the only route not to feature Luxembourg as an origin or destination point, the Saarbrücken-Hamburg airport pair provided the greatest capacity decrease (-3%), owing to the carrier replacing its Q400 operations with ERJ 145 flights on Saturdays.

Germany is top international country market

Luxair operates to a total of 19 countries in Europe and North Africa, based on Innovata schedule data for this August. The carrier’s top 10 country markets account for 90% of all weekly international seats this summer, representing a 2% decrease from last year’s figures. Following a modest yearly increase of 0.7%, Germany still accounts for a quarter of international seats, being served with a combined 103 weekly flights to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Saarbrücken and Berlin Tegel. Looking at this year’s top 10, Tunisia is the only country market (highlighted in the chart below) served by Luxair outside Europe. From its hub, the airline operates services to Djerba and Enfidha with six weekly and twice-weekly departures respectively.

Chart - Luxair's top 10 international country markets Weekly one-way seat capacity

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 19 August 2014.

This August, the airline’s weekly international seat capacity experienced 11% growth, with eight of the top 10 countries growing. The stand out performance is that emanating from operations to the United Kingdom, having increased by 41% or 528 weekly seats in the past 12 months. Luxair increased its frequency to London City by six weekly flights, with the country market climbing from 10th to sixth position this summer. On the other hand, Turkey witnessed the greatest capacity decrease (-6.8%).

On 31 March, Luxair celebrated with an aircraft-shaped cake at Lisbon Airport the inaugural flight to Luxembourg that is served thrice-weekly using a mixed fleet of its 737-700s and 737-800s. 


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