Germany's Airport Association (ADV) said German airport executives were meeting on 20-Mar-2013 to discuss the difficult market situation of German airports. ADV CEO Ralph Beisel noted: "German airports had the worst start to the year since the financial and economic crisis of 2009. The current traffic development at the airports is alarming". ADV noted passenger numbers in the two months to 28-Mar-2013 declined 3.6% year-on-year while cargo declined by 0.3% year-on-year. Aircraft movements declined by 8.6%. ADV noted consolidation in the sector is having an impact on airports, with regional and small/medium sized airports especially feeling the impact. ADV also said it is seeking dialogue with policy makers on the issues facing the sector, noting: "Airports must currently cope with unseen revenue losses due to traffic declines and lower charges" adding: "We are hoping that after the election the abolition of the air travel tax will be back on the agenda". Another focus will be the commitment of airports in the improvement of aircraft noise protection and public participation. [more - original PR - German]
ADV notes challenges in sector amid declining traffic and cost pressures
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When Lufthansa began to transfer point-to-point short haul routes to its LCC Germanwings in 2013 it specifically excluded routes to/from its two main hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Although its two main hubs have been less penetrated by LCCs than many other major European airports, this is changing. Moreover, competitor LCCs are growing rapidly across Germany and in other Lufthansa Group home markets. Even Air France-KLM established a Munich base for its LCC Transavia in summer 2016 (but this is under review). More ominously, Ryanair is to enter Frankfurt in summer 2017.
Lufthansa first revealed in summer 2016 that it was considering opening a Munich base for its LCC operations, now grouped under the Eurowings brand. On 21-Dec-2016 it announced plans to base four A320 family aircraft at Munich for 32 Eurowings routes from summer 2017.
Perhaps it was always inevitable that Eurowings would eventually extend to selected routes from Frankfurt and Munich, but agreements with pilots were understood to have limited the group's flexibility. Confirmation that the operation of Eurowings routes at Munich will be outsourced to airberlin under wet lease appears to have loosened this restriction. Eurowings routes from Frankfurt are also being considered.
Airport pairs: Western Europe-US shows the value of open skies as routes and new entry proliferate
For Western Europe there is no bigger long haul market than North America. In terms of the number of airport pairs between the countries of Western Europe and long haul destination countries, connectivity to the United States dominates. There are more direct routes between Western Europe and the US than there are between Western Europe and the whole of Asia Pacific.
This report presents high level data on the numbers of airport pairs between each Western European country and the US and how these number have changed. EU-US liberalisation in 2008 has stimulated growth in the number of direct connections, although the global economic downturn impeded this for a while. However, the additional routes have not been spread evenly across Western European countries.
Since 2010, additional route numbers from Western Europe to the US have been greatest from the largest markets – the UK and the US – and from the smaller countries, particularly Ireland, Iceland and Norway. Countries in between, including France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, have hardly added any new US routes at all.