Denver-Paris is Skyscanner “Unserved Route of the Week” with 90,000 annual searches; Air France’s next US destination??
Airlines attending ACI-North America’s JumpStart® Air Service Development Conference, hosted by Denver Airport 13-15 June, should take a close look at the unserved Denver-Paris route. 90,000 travellers searched for direct services on this route in the last year making it the Skyscanner for Business-anna.aero “Unserved Route of Week.” This special award for viable, unserved, new air services is based on a powerful analysis made possible by capturing aspirational data from the Skyscanner.net flight comparison site used by +50 million unique visitors per month.
anna.aero advises Air France to consider this city pair
With more traffic originating from the French end of this route ‒ a 70/30 split – this city pair looks like an obvious contender for Air France, which is also the #1 airline in terms of weekly seats between France and the US, according to OAG schedules data for the week commencing 23 May. The SkyTeam carrier would clearly be able to leverage its hub connections at Paris CDG, in addition to point-to-point traffic, particularly as the US airport is currently underserved in terms of European routes, with direct flights to Frankfurt (daily with Lufthansa), London Heathrow (daily with British Airways), Reykjavik/Keflavik (six times weekly Icelandair) and the recently-launched service to Munich (five times weekly with Lufthansa). The last route Air France launched to North America was its thrice-weekly service to Vancouver, which started in March last year. But expansion to the US is clearly on the the Air France agenda, as next week, on 6 June, it will re-start daily 777-200 operations from Paris Orly to New York JFK, an airport pair it last served in the mid-70s when Gerald Ford was still President.
United Airlines is the airport’s biggest carrier in terms of weekly seats (252,442, or a 41% share), but presently only has operations to three international markets: Canada (5,375 seats), Mexico (3,595 weekly seats) and Tokyo Narita in Japan (1,533 weekly seats) – which is also its only long-haul service from Denver. Southwest Airlines (183,005 weekly seats; 30% share) and Frontier Airlines (72,388 weekly seats; 12% share) are Denver’s second and third largest serving airlines, but neither low cost carrier is very likely to start European long-haul from Denver (if we’ve got this wrong anna.aero will happily make an annoucement at JumpStart and ski down the mountains wearing only hats). anna.aero is a partner of ACI-North America and will be in Denver with one of its famous Show Daily publications for all delegates. We recently caught up with Kevin Burke, President and CEO of ACI-NA, as he prepares for the event.
Seasonality: Reasons for travel – not skiing apparently!!!
While the peak ski months of January-March are robust performers, unbelievably ski-mad anna.aero found that the busiest month for potential traffic flows (for both directions on the route combined) is October with over 11,500 searches, nearly 8,000 higher than the lowest monthly figure. Perhaps this is because Parisians prefer the reassuringly expensive Courchevel; or perhaps because Aspen does hold a “John Denver” week in October (and we didn’t make that up; it’s a real thing).
The seasonality profile of this search data is slightly less extreme than last week’s Unserved Route of the Week (Shannon to Amsterdam), with the low-month traffic representing 33% of the highest month. According to OAG Traffic Analyser, because there is no direct service, the top three connecting options chosen by those passengers who did book travel between Denver to Paris in the last 12 months were Atlanta (17%) Reykjavik/Keflavik (17%) and London Heathrow (11%). Looking at Paris-originating traffic, the top three connecting airports are slightly different, with Keflavik leading the pack thanks to the success of the Icelandair hub (19%), Atlanta (18%) and Chicago O’Hare (11%).
An O&D that is not served by a non-stop flight will typically display a low purchase rate and low traffic. In this instance Skyscanner’s Travel Insight indicates a monthly average of just 4.1% for the Denver to Paris route (see graph below). Therefore, if there was a Denver to Paris route, and if bookings performed in line with the “Skyscanner market average” for direct services at both airports (9.4%), the airline operating this route could immediately expect an improved purchase rate of 129% without any increased marketing spend. However, with close to 90,000 annual searches, the potential city pair should already be very sustainable.
About this anna.aero analysis and Skyscanner for Business data
“Unserved Route of the Week” is a cooperation between anna.aero and the B2B branch of the Skyscanner.net consumer flight comparison site and is a new kind of analysis harnessing an entirely new resource: the amazing power of the aspirational data captured from Skyscanner.net flight comparison site which has +50 million unique visitors per month.
“Skyscanner for Business” packages this amazing B2C data into a suite of business products which offer comprehensive data solutions – our specific need to identify unserved routes uses the Skyscanner Travel Insight product, a comprehensive, unique ‘big data’ set that can accurately predict future demand by telling you where 50 million real living-and-breathing travellers actually want to fly to. (And bear in mind that there are other significant search volumes that could also be added to the Skyscanner totals – from dedicated airline websites, competitive search engines etc, underlining the value of Skyscanner data as a conservative indicator of market route demand.)