Hamburg-Bangkok is “Skyscanner Unserved Route of the Week” with nearly 400,000 searches; a route with the Thai AirAsia X factor?
With nearly 400,000 searches in the past 12 months, a potential city pair from Hamburg to Bangkok has been identified as this week’s “Skyscanner-anna.aero Unserved Route of the Week” – a powerful analysis based on aspirational data captured from the Skyscanner.net flight comparison site used by +70 million unique visitors per month. ”Bangkok is our largest offline market with approximately 97,000 annual passengers,” confirms Jörgen Kearsley, GM Aviation Marketing, Hamburg Airport. Like our Danish neighbours, who also flock to Hamburg from the southern parts of their country, northern Germans love to escape the unpleasant winter weather for destinations with sunshine guaranteed. In this respect, Thailand is the most popular country by far!”
anna.aero thinks Thai or Thai AirAsia X should give this route the X factor
Skyscanner demand on this week’s unserved route shows a significant preference towards the German end of the city pair, with an 84/16 split, so on this basis we looked at potential carriers at the Hamburg origin first. According to OAG schedules for the week commencing 24 September, the largest carrier at Hamburg is Eurowings (27% share of weekly seats). The airline’s route network from its fourth biggest operation (behind Düsseldorf, Cologne Bonn and Stuttgart) presently consists of 40 destinations, all of which are to points in Europe. The airline’s low-cost, long-haul (LCLH) services are currently scheduled to move to Dusseldorf later this year from Cologne Bonn. The Thai capital does already feature in the carrier’s network, with Bangkok being served twice-weekly from Munich and weekly from Cologne Bonn, so clearly a sector from Hamburg would fit into Eurowings’ LCLH business strategy of serving sectors with high-leisure components. For the time being however, the carrier is concentrating its long-haul development at Düsseldorf and to a lesser extent, Munich.
“Because of the fact that Hamburg has Germany’s largest GPD per capita, propensity to travel is higher than average in our catchment area,” says Kearsley. “People can therefore afford to choose long-haul destinations for their holidays.”
Thai Airways is Bangkok Suvarnabhumi’s largest airline (31% share) and its 60-destination route portfolio at the airport features 13 existing European routes in this week’s schedules. These include an 11 times weekly operation to Frankfurt and a daily service to Munich. With Emirates being the only MEB3 carrier currently serving Hamburg with a double-daily service due to restrictive bilateral agreements between Germany and these Middle Eastern nations, the Thai flag carrier should clearly be considering the gateway as its third destination in the country (assuming there are no similar bilateral restrictions in the Germany-Thailand agreement) given the minimal indirect competition.
Contemplating the operators at Bangkok’s secondary airport at Don Mueang, its most likely capacity provider on this potential city pair is perhaps its fourth largest carrier Thai AirAsia X, which offers 5% of the airport’s weekly seats. The LCLH offshoot of Thai AirAsia, and indeed AirAsia, presently flies to just five destinations from the city – serving Tokyo Narita (three times daily), Osaka Kansai, Seoul Incheon (both double-daily), Shanghai Pudong and Sapporo Chitose (both daily). So while the airline is today a stranger to the European market, it could leverage connecting traffic from its sister brand Thai AirAsia and its 55-destination network at Don Mueang to help get its first European flight operational and sustainable. Additionally, now armed with this captivating Skyscanner data, Germany could become the first European country that the LCLH commences a route to.
HAM says winter is likely high travel period from Germany
When looking at the previous year of search data (graph above), the busiest month (from Hamburg) is January 2018, with over 40,000 searches. On this basis the anticipated booking profile of the route has been allocated as long-haul leisure, resulting in 60% of travellers on this potential sector wanting to book between seven to four months before departure. This would seem to indicate that the busiest months for traffic will be between May and August. Using the same methodology for the Bangkok end of the sector, the peak months for traffic will be between September and December. “Our statistics do not agree with the traffic seasonality from Hamburg,” explains Kearsley. “Winter is definitely the peak in terms of our data.”
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 Hamburg and Bangkok in the last 12 months (year ending July 2018) indicates that the majority of connecting travellers used Dubai (31%), Frankfurt (21%) and Helsinki (9%). Passengers seeking to fly between the two cities used 34 different connecting airports to complete their respective journeys.
With a lack of direct services, travellers between these two cities have clearly become used to these one-stop alternatives. However, the market demand is extremely buoyant – as the graph above shows, with 11.0% of the Skyscanner searches for these indirect Hmaburg to Bangkok services converted into ticket sales – that’s more than the average 10.7% achieved for Skyscanner conversion rates for all direct routes available from either Hamburg or Bangkok. However, with nearly 400,000 annual searches in the past 12 months, and with the sector being operated by an appropriately-sized aircraft for the type of route, a four times weekly service should be immediately viable for the airline choosing to start this potential city pair, with the potential to increase up to daily later. “We are convinced that the Bangkok market could be stimulated even further with a non-stop service and attractive fares. Hamburg is also the largest German market to Bangkok that does not yet have a direct service, which makes it an obvious next choice,” concludes Kearsley.
About this anna.aero analysis and Skyscanner 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 +70 million unique visitors per month.
“Skyscanner” 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 70 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.)