Great Year at Aalborg Airport
2016 at Aalborg Airport has been an exciting year filled with records. Most importantly, 2016 has been the best year in the history of the airport with over 1.5 million passengers traveling to and from Aalborg Airport. The biggest month, the final decision of a direct rail connection and a status as one of the most recommended brands in Denmark were just some of the other highlights of the 2016.
Back in 2008, Aalborg Airport could celebrate that over 1 million passengers had traveled to and from the airport in one year. Since then, there has been a good growth at the airport year after year, where the number of direct destinations has gone from 13 to over 40 direct destinations today. Aalborg Airport has evolved to be an expansive international airport, which also has the largest Danish domestic route. In 2016, now eight years after 1,000,000 passengers became a reality, a new milestone in the airport's development was reached when the number of travelers in one year reached 1.500.000 passengers.
Thus, 2016 became a memorable year at Aalborg Airport and the best ever, where a record of 1,520,987 passengers traveled to and from the airport in one calendar year, resulting in a growth of 4.4 percent. This is due to a continuous strong growth in the charter traffic, and not least a massive increase in domestic traffic in all the 12 months of the year. It is therefore clear that the largest domestic route really has found a foothold again and follows the upward trend in the Danish business community.
- Fourteen months in a row, domestic traffic between Aalborg and Copenhagen has shown improvement. It has been a year of extraordinary growth in domestic traffic, where SAS and Norwegian compete on the price, thereby creating more travelers to Copenhagen. A survey also shows that 40 percent of those who travel from Aalborg to Copenhagen, use it as a hub to other destinations. Growth at Copenhagen Airport is therefore also of great benefit to the development of Aalborg Airport, as the many travel options offer a larger number of domestic travelers from Aalborg. On top of this, the Danish wanderlust is still unaffected and increasing, which can also be seen in the large number of charter passengers in 2016, says CEO of Aalborg Airport, Søren Svendsen.
The strengths and challenges of the international traffic
Aalborg Airport has a good position as an international airport with many direct routes. The largest international route is undoubtedly the Aalborg-Amsterdam route with AirFrance/KLM, whose popularity resulted in a fourth daily departure from the end of March 2016. In addition, the growing demand for Spanish destinations motivated Norwegian to make Alicante a year-round route and increase the number of flights to Malaga. This trend will continue into the new year as Primera Air increases the number of weekly flights to Malaga and Mallorca.
2016 admittedly also brought along challenges for the internatonal traffic, as Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines were forced to close their routes to Frankfurt and Istanbul.
- Of course it is a loss for Aalborg Airport that the internal challenges of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines have caused cuts and route closures worldwide where Aalborg Airport was unfortunately hit. This happened despite good occupancy rates for both airlines, and we therefore expected to go out of 2016 with a decline in international traffic. A positive offsetting factor was, however, a growing number of travelers to the Spanish destinations that minimizes the decline - in addition, SAS' upcomeing six weekly flights to Oslo provide great expectations for international traffic in 2017, says Søren Svendsen.
A year of great remembrance
2016 saw a sea of records - 10 of the kind to be precise: eight record-months, the biggest month ever and of course the biggest year in the history of the airport.
Besides being a record-filled year, the end of 2016 welcomed some historically good news. One good news was the Parliamentary decision of a direct train link to the airport from 2020. The link will connect Aalborg Airport to the national rail network and promote the Danish infrastructure with improved accessibility. Another thing that particularly made 2016 a good year was the great recognition from the airport travelers - as Aalborg Airport is among the 10 most recommended brands in Denmark.
- The Danes recommend us to friends and acquaintances to the extent that we are placed on YouGov's top 10 list in the company of big brands like Apple and Lego. It is the largest a brand can achieve by far - a major endorsement unlike any other. It truly testifies that Aalborg Airport is seen as an attractive airport with great service, good conditions and a strong image, positioned at the top of the Danish mentality, says Søren Svendsen.
The year in actual figures
It is charter traffic, which grows the most in 2016, with 266.602 passengers traveling to and from the airport this year against 236.241 in 2015 - an increase of 12,9 percent.
Domestic traffic is increasing by 8,8 percent, as 815.374 passengers traveled to and from the airport in 2015 against 886.818 this year.
There is a decline in international traffic of 9,2 percent compared to 2015. Thus, 367.567 flew to and from Aalborg airport this year, when the number was 404.881 the year before.
Overall, there is a passenger growth of 4,4 percent with 1.520.987 travelers in 2016 against 1.456.496 in 2015.
A promising 2017
If we take a look at 2017, it is all very promising - particularly for international traffic being lifted by a total of six weekly flights to Malaga with Norwegian and Primera Air, four weekly flights to Palma de Mallorca and up to 17 weekly flights to Oslo with SAS and British Airways. Additionally, the German-Turkish airline, SunExpress, opens a direct route to Antalya - with two flights per week in the summer season.
- SunExpress takes hold of an important market after Turkish Airlines, which is very pleasing, especially for the many Danes who have vacation homes in Turkey. With the many international flights to popular destinations and great charter destinations on the program, we therefore have a good year ahead. In 2017, we employ about 320 people in the various departments, and this figure is expected to rise during the year, when the bustle increases. One thing is always certain: All 320 employees are eager to live up to the well-deserved high expectations of the passengers - in terms of high efficiency and outstanding service, says Søren Svendsen.