24 Jan 2006
On 12 January, Wizz Air (www.wizzair.com),
the largest low fare, low cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced it is to start flights from Glasgow Prestwick to Warsaw and Gdansk in Poland. The flights will commence on March 28 and operate three times per week to and from each destination. It's the first move into Scotland for the fast-growing airline, headquartered in Budapest, Hungary. This announcement comes hot on the heels of the pre-Christmas announcement that Transavia, a substantial low cost airline in the KLM/Air France Group will operate services to and from Amsterdam six times per week from 26 March.
The new airline announcements for 2006 are pleasing given the flat ending to calendar year 2005. Total passenger numbers in December of 167,110 was only a 1% increase on the prior year. Reduced rotations, mainly on the London (Stansted) route was the main reason why the increase was not larger. Ryanair continues to have to juggle aircraft as a result of the delayed delivery of new aircraft from Boeing. Year to date passenger numbers total 1,908,811, a 12% increase on the prior year.
Freight volumes were particularly disappointing at 2,221,722 kg, 23% down on the prior year (YTD down 14% on FY2005). It is noted, however, that December 2004 was particularly strong with 385,000kg of non-scheduled freight. A tightening in the availability of dedicated freight aircraft resulted in fewer special Christmas freight flights than in 2004.
Freight volume of 1,427,545 kg is currently holding steady, underpinned by the continuation of three weekly 747 services from MK Airlines with full loads of fresh produce. A number of ad-hoc charters supplemented the MK services and development of further passenger and freight opportunities is continuing.
December 2005 was the first month of operation of Luebeck Airport with 90% Infratil ownership. Just prior to Christmas Ryanair announced that it will be commencing a daily Luebeck-Dublin service from April 2006. This additional capacity is partly reduced by the cancellation of a three per week service to Shannon and some other frequency changes, but represents a positive increase in Ryanair capacity. This follows the late November announcement that Wizz Air will be operating three weekly Luebeck-Gdansk services from March 2006.
Luebeck Airport had just under 700,000 passengers for the 2005 calendar year.
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