Nuremberg-Warsaw is “Skyscanner Unserved Route of the Week” with 30,000 annual searches; LOT’s next German link??

Albrecht Dürer’s house in Nuremberg. The Renaissance painter (1471-1528) lived in a picturesque house which not totally unlike some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites more recently frequented by Warsaw’s favourite son (and Poland's greatest composer) Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) who could often by seen on Krakowskie Przedmieście or Miodowa streets.

Albrecht Dürer’s house in Nuremberg: The Renaissance painter (1471-1528) lived in a picturesque house which is not totally unlike some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites frequented by Warsaw’s favourite son (and Poland’s greatest composer) Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). Both men would bequeath their native city with a considerable cultural heritage and, with great foresight, their names so they could be adopted by the airports that would later be built to serve them.

With nearly 30,000 searches in the last 12 months, a potential new route from Nuremberg to Warsaw has been identified as this week’s “Skyscanner for Unserved Route of Week” – a powerful analysis based on aspirational data captured from the flight comparison site used by +60 million unique visitors per month. “Within the past two years we saw a significant growth to Eastern Europe, driven by Wizz Air – nevertheless Poland is unfortunately unserved,” confirms Christian Kaeser, Head of Aviation Marketing & Business Development at Nuremberg Airport.

Source: Skyscanner for business.

Source: Skyscanner for business. wants LOT or Ryanair to start flights

Skyscanner demand on this week’s unserved route shows a slight bias in favour of the Polish end, a 55/45 split, so the potential carriers in Warsaw were therefore considered first, starting with the city’s main airport, Warsaw Chopin. The Polish airport is unsurprisingly dominated by LOT Polish Airlines, commanding 48% of weekly seats, according to OAG data for the week commencing 12 January. At the moment, the national carrier operates to 57 global destinations from Chopin, including four in Germany – namely to Frankfurt, Munich (both served three times daily) Düsseldorf and Hamburg (both operated 19 times weekly). With the bigger German airports (2015 passenger figures) of Berlin Tegel (fourth largest German airport; airberlin – 18 times weekly) and Cologne Bonn (seventh; Ryanair – four times weekly) both already served, Nuremberg (10th) is probably in a battle with Stuttgart (sixth) and Hannover (ninth) to become the next airport in the country to have a Warsaw link (Berlin Schönefeld is also bigger (eighth) and not served, but the Berlin market is already flown).

The second-largest carrier at Chopin is Wizz Air, with a 13% share of weekly capacity. Despite having a broad network of 34 destinations from the Polish city, none of them are to a German airport. Looking ahead to the ULCC’s route launches from Chopin later this year, this situation is seemingly not going to change in 2017 – as it plans to start flights to Billund (27 March) Santander (31 March), Bratislava, Bucharest, Lyon (all 30 June), Kiev Zhulyany, Nice (both 1 July), Lamezia Terme (2 July) and Vilnius (18 September). On this basis, a link to Nuremberg is perhaps off the radar for Wizz Air at the moment – although it will add links to the German airport from Tuzla (28 March), Belgrade (19 May) and Zhulyany (25 August).

Famous sons and now famous airports.

The artists and their airports: Albrecht Dürer’s Nuremberg Airport and Frédéric Chopin’s Warsaw.

Heading across town to Warsaw Modlin, Ryanair is the only airline serving the airport. Europe’s biggest carrier offers a network of 35 destinations from its 17th largest operation (in terms of weekly seats), but the ULCC only operates from Modlin to one German city at the moment, Cologne Bonn. So Ryanair does at least have experience in linking the Polish capital and regional German airports, so it may well consider a Nuremberg service in the future.

Considering the German end of the route, the potential carriers at Nuremberg were contemplated next, and it is evident that the facility’s largest airline is currently Ryanair, a base which opened in November 2016. The Irish ULCC heads the serving airlines (with 21% of weekly seats), ahead of its nearest rival Lufthansa (mainline only) with 15%. Of Ryanair’s six routes presently operated from the German airport, none are in Poland. As the airline is planning to add more routes to one of its youngest bases later this year, including Madrid, Palermo (both 26 March), Porto (28 March) and Bari (29 March), it would therefore not be out of the question for it to take on this potential route to the Polish capital as it adds more sectors to its operation.

“Besides the VFR potential – 73,000 people with Polish roots live in and around Nuremberg – we see a significant potential for high yield business traffic,” adds Kaeser. “The business share to Warsaw [based on indirect services] is above 70% at the moment.”  Large corporations such as Siemens, Schaeffler, GFK and Leoni all have an interest in a non-stop connection between Warsaw and Nuremberg being established.

Frankfurt, Munich lead transfer market

When looking at the previous year of search data, the busiest month for potential traffic flows (for both directions on the route combined) is November 2016, with over 3,200 searches, more than 1,300 higher than the lowest monthly figure, which was recorded in May 2016 (1,900 searches). The seasonality profile of this search data is less extreme than the last Unserved Route of the Week (Katowice to Venice) with the low-month traffic representing 58% 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 Nuremberg and Warsaw in the past year indicates that the majority of connecting travellers use Frankfurt (49%), Munich (23%) and Tegel (16%). Passengers looking to fly between the two cities used 10 different hub airports as a means of completing their journeys by air. “The leakage to Poland is massive – 25,000 people from Nuremberg use different airports for their trips to Poland each year,” concludes Kaeser.

Indeed, 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 3.4% for the Nuremberg to Warsaw route (see graph below). Therefore, if there was a Nuremberg to Warsaw route, and if bookings performed in line with the “Skyscanner market average” for direct services at both airports (4.9%), the airline operating this route could immediately expect an improved purchase rate of 44%, without any increased marketing spend. However, with 30,000 annual searches a twice or three times weekly service should be immediately viable for the airline selecting to start this potential city pair.

Source: Skyscanner for business.

Source: Skyscanner for business.

About this analysis and Skyscanner for Business data

“Unserved Route of the Week” is a cooperation between and the B2B branch of the 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 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.)

Check next week’s newsletter for another great for Business “Unserved Route of the Week” – or browse in’s Route Shop where there are 3,100 more unserved routes.


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