Low Cost Growth Has Slowed In Germany

Low-cost carrier growth has slowed to a crawl in Germany, contrary to the rapid growth the sector has experienced in other regions of the world. Bucking the global marketplace trend of a 4% increase, Germany has actually decreased by one percent.

Low-cost carrier services in Germany have decreased by 1%. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying

What are the details?

According to a report by DLR’s Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research in Cologne, the findings of which were published by AINonline, the number of low-cost carrier departures in Germany actually fell compared to the overall trend across Europe.

Specifically, the two major low-cost carriers in Germany, Ryanair and Eurowings, reduced the number of flights compared to last year by 1%. These reductions were seen on routes to Italy, England, Spain and within Germany itself. Wizz Air expanded its services during the last year, but only appear to offer a very small segment of the market (314 departures per week) and didn’t affect the data much.

“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, one of the authors of the report.

Dusseldorf Airport was the number one low-cost airport in Germany, helped by being one of the Eurowings hubs with over 1,100 departures per week. The second in the ranking was Berlin’s Tegel airport.

Lufthansa landing
Lufthansa has also reduced their departures. Photo: Simple Flying

How does this compare to the rest of Europe?

This downward trend is actually part of a bigger move to reduce services, with the overall number of flights in Germany falling by 3.5% (full service and low-cost carriers combined). The full-service carriers reduced enough flights that the ratio of low-cost flights to Germany airports actually increased from 33% to 34%.

This is the opposite of the rest of Europe, which overall saw low-cost carrier services increase by around 4% to 67,000 departures per week. The report showed that Ryanair and easyJet were the dominant players, increasing their departures per week to 17,000 and 13,100 respectively.

Transavia 737
Transavia, another low-cost carrier wants to be able to expand so that it can compete with Ryanair and easyJet. Photo: Transavia

What about the competition between carriers?

Despite Ryanair opening 500 new routes and easyJet opening 150 new routes, the amount of competition between each low-cost carrier in Europe is actually quite low. Of the 10,500 or so low-cost carrier routes across Europe, 87% of these routes actually don’t have competition.

It makes sense, with this author traveling across Europe, I would find myself looking at a flight from Bristol to Katowice entirely served by Wizz with no other options. Only 16% of routes would have one or more competitive low-cost-carriers operating. Likely these are from major cities such as London to Paris or tourist routes like Barcelona to Ibiza.

What do you think about this trend? Let us know in the comments.