German Low-cost Carrier Segment Comes to a Standstill

 - November 6, 2019, 1:41 PM

While the number of low-cost flights across Europe rose by almost 4 percent during the past summer season, Germany did not follow the positive trend and recorded a one percent fall in the number of low-cost services compared with last year, to 6,683 weekly departures, analysis by the German Aerospace Centre DLR concluded. The DLR cited a decline in flights to Italy, Spain, and the UK as well as domestically within Germany. Only Wizz Air carried out a significant expansion, even though its presence remained small with just 314 flights per week, while the two biggest budget airlines operating in the country—Eurowings and Ryanair—reduced their offerings.

“German market leader Eurowings reduced its flights by 3.5 percent compared with the previous year, and now has approximately 3,100 departures every week,” noted Peter Berster of the DLR’s Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research in Cologne. Ryanair and its Austrian sibling Lauda trimmed the number of flights year-over-year by just under 2 percent, to more than 1,500 weekly departures.

The share of the low-cost segment at German airports stood at around 33 percent, compared with 32 percent in summer 2018. The increase resulted from the overall decline in the number of flights in Germany. Other German-based airlines, full-service and charter, recorded a reduction of approximately 3.5 percent.

Counter to the general trend in Germany, low-cost flights from Dusseldorf Airport “are seeing striking positive growth”—mainly due to Eurowings—and the gateway now ranks as the German airport offering the largest number of low-cost flights, with over 1,100 departures per week, said Berster. Berlin-Tegel ranks second.

Across Europe, the low-cost carrier (LCC) market expanded by almost 4 percent, to more than 67,000 departures per week. Ryanair/Lauda and EasyJet continue to strengthen their market leadership in Europe, the DLR Low Cost Monitor showed. Ryanair now boasts some 17,000 departures from Europe per week, while EasyJet follows with more than 13,100. Ryanair added around 500 routes to its offerings in the summer and EasyJet expanded its network by about 150 routes.

The analysis also revealed that competition among budget airlines in Europe remains relatively low. Of the 10,414 routes operated by LCCs, the large majority—8,763 routes—get service from one airline and just over 1,650 routes by two or more airlines.