Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, has put on sale a five-weekly service between Frankfurt – the carrier’s main airport – and New York JFK. Revolving around weekend breaks to the Big Apple, it won’t be the first time it has served the route. It has been lured back from surging demand, almost 10,000 fewer weekly seats from no Singapore Airlines or Delta at the moment, and its partnership with JetBlue.
Starting on November 11th, the 3,351 nautical mile route – ordinarily the 15th-largest non-stop market between the US and Europe – has the following schedule, with all times local.
- DE2016: Frankfurt-JFK, 11:10-14:00
- DE2017: JFK-Frankfurt, 16:25-05:50+1 (the next day)
It’ll operate Thursdays to Mondays, designed for long weekend getaways to the Big Apple as Christmastime approaches, until January 9th. The B767-300ER will be used. Although which specific configuration will be deployed isn’t known, the type has three layouts, each with 35 seats in premium economy, between 18 and 30 in business, and from 180 to 202 in economy.
Why is it happening?
Condor’s JFK route is happening for three main reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, the US will welcome fully vaccinated citizens from most of Europe, including Germany, from November, which has resulted in burgeoning demand.
Secondly, despite this surge, 54% fewer seats were planned each week in November than previously – a drop of almost 10,000 every week. This is from neither Singapore Airlines nor Delta operating then (see later).
Thirdly, to benefit from wider US travel via JFK with partner JetBlue, with multiple connecting opportunities now bookable. Of course, United and Lufthansa, key Star Alliance members, are focused on nearby Newark for transit passengers.
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The US opening up once more should help Europe’s stalled recovery and boost the performance of the major US and European network carriers. After all, in normal times, the transatlantic market to the US contributes a significant proportion of their overall profitability. This opening up wasn’t lost on Condor’s CEO, Ralf Teckentrup, who said:
“After the announcement that people from the EU would be able to travel to the USA without any complications the demand for US flights has more than doubled.”
Frankfurt to JFK; a one million seat market
Frankfurt to JFK is a highly mature market that, by definition, has seen very little growth or change in airlines in the past 17 years. It has had more or less one million seats for a long time. The lack of development is such that in 2019 it had just 1% more non-stop seats than in 2004. No real change normally means strong performance.
In the week that Condor begins, it’ll compete head-to-head with a 14-weekly offering by Lufthansa, with seven-weekly flights by both the 255-seat A330-300 and 364-seat B747-8s. Its 747-8s have eight first-class seats, 80 in business, 32 in premium economy, and 244 in economy.
Singapore Airlines and Delta will be returning
Singapore Airlines has operated Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK – with fifth-freedom traffic rights – for many years, and since 2014, it has been solely by the A380. It is currently bookable from January 2nd, a week before Condor ends the route, again by the A380.
Delta, meanwhile, had a 15.4% share of the market in 2019. Its once-daily service is bookable from Frankfurt on December 6th, with the 234-seat A330-200 – Delta’s least-used aircraft – plying the route. Condor is benefiting from this capacity gap, but mainly from no Singapore Airlines.
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