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Copenhagen Airports A/S (CPH)

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12.11.2008 159 new frequencies out of Copenhagen Airport

In just two weeks, Copenhagen Airport has presented two new airlines that are setting up base at Copenhagen Airport. In addition, a number of other airlines announced that they are opening new routes and adding capacity on their existing routes. These new initiatives mean that the gap after Sterling’s bankruptcy has largely been closed.

By New Year, the Danes will have 92 new weekly frequencies out of Copenhagen Airport, and when the summer programme for 2009 comes into force, another 67 frequencies will be added, bringing the total number of new frequencies per week out of Copenhagen Airport to 159 within the next six months. This will bring the number of weekly flights out of Copenhagen Airport to largely the same level as before Sterling's bankruptcy. However, a few routes will still be unserved.

"It has been important to us to close the gap after Sterling as quickly as possible so that the Danes still have a broad range of destinations at reasonable fares to choose from. The airlines that are expanding are sound and well-managed, and it is important to passengers as well as CPH to have confidence in the viability of the airlines," said Brian Petersen, CEO of Copenhagen Airports A/S.

Base at Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen Airport has held talks with a number of international airlines which have all showed an interest in opening new routes out of Copenhagen. So far, two of the larger European budget airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Transavia, have decided to set up base at Copenhagen Airport.  
Over the coming month, Norwegian will open five new routes out of Copenhagen in addition to its existing route to Oslo, and the airline has announced its intention to open more routes in the course of 2009. KLM-owned Transavia will follow suit and launch an additional ten routes, including the route to Innsbruck already announced by the airline.

"The two airlines complement each other. Norwegian primarily focuses on frequent flights to Danish, Nordic and Northern European destinations, whilst Transvia primarily focuses on Southern Europe - to airports to which the airline already offers flights. Thus, they each exploit their strengths as much as possible," said Petersen.

More expansion after the New Year
In addition to the two airlines mentioned above, easyJet and SAS have also announced that they are going to launch a number of new routes after the New Year. easyJet intends to connect its largest base, London Gatwick, with Copenhagen Airport, and SAS has reacted to the situation by opening new routes to three Southern European destinations and by adding additional capacity on four existing routes.

Moreover, Cimber Air, Spanair and Air Berlin will also be adding new frequencies in the near future.

Market share
Alternative carriers already serve routes accounting for over 80% of Sterling's passengers, and in most cases Sterling's market share on these routes was well below half.


  • Seven different airlines have announced a total of 159 new weekly frequencies out of Copenhagen Airport over the coming months. Ninety-two of these frequencies will open before the turn of the year, the rest of them in the first three months of 2009

  • The 159 new frequencies mean that, in a week and a half, CPH has recovered almost the entire loss of flights following the bankruptcy of Sterling. In the week before its bankruptcy, Sterling had 163 flights out of Copenhagen

  • Before Sterling went bankrupt, Copenhagen Airport had three airlines with bases at the airport; today there are four, namely Norwegian, Transvia, SAS and Cimber Air

  • CPH estimates that the bankruptcy of Sterling will result in a decline in the number of departing passengers by a total of between 0.5% and 1.0% in 2008

  • The new flights will increase the number of weekly flights to destinations such as Rome, Malaga, Barcelona, Alicante, Nice and Aalborg; whereas the number of frequencies will fall to other destinations. A few routes will be unserved in spite of the massive inflow of new airlines