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Route Development

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #261
World Routes 2018

A post in the CWL forum reminded me that I've read nothing about BRS attending this year. I presume they went to the event in Guangzhou, China which, incidentally, is one of Bristol's twin cities although I'm expecting Bristol City to win the European Champions League before BRS gets a route to China. Being of ancient vintage I still think of Guangzhou as Canton from my geography days at school.
 

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Marko1

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Given the lacklustre offerings so far from both Ryanair and EasyJet and today's withdrawal of BA , any idea where growth is coming from next year ?
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #263
Given the lacklustre offerings so far from both Ryanair and EasyJet and today's withdrawal of BA , any idea where growth is coming from next year ?
Er....no, at the moment.

The new CEO hasn't brought much luck so far as we know. He seems very quiet publicly. On that other forum Southampton regulars seemed pleased last year when his departure from there was announced.

Napoleon was supposed to have said something about preferring lucky generals to good ones. Perhaps the new man at Lulsgate is one of the latter.

I was never expecting more than 300,000-400,000 more passengers next year anyway which would just about reach the 9 mppa mark. With easyJet already having said they will carry 200,000 more there could 'only' need to be found another 100,000 or so from other sources, but with BACF dropping out that might mean having to find another 15,000-20,000 on top. There is also the possibiity that TUI will replace their two 757s with 189-seat 738s next summer which will reduce available seat numbers considerably.

Reading the BHX forums, it seems that BRS is struggling to retain airlines as is BHX, although in BRS's case they've lost fewer airlines because they had fewer to lose in the first place.

I'm still finding it fascinating to speculate how the airport will find another million passengers in total in the years 2020 and 2021 which is what they are forecasting.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #265
Perhaps not so much route development, more like route undevelopment. BRS has lost a lot of airlines in the past decade. I thought I'd do a brief summary of the scheduled ones that have gone. Have I missed out any?

British Airways City Flyer

Operated at weekends in summer 2017 and 2018 (E175 and E190 aircraft) to Malaga, Ibiza, Palma and Florence. Axed along with a similar BHX service at the end of summer 2018. Loads very good on Florence; the others impossible to establish as other airlines also flew the routes. In 2018 the BRS-FLR sector was cancelled a number of times apparently because of crew being out of hours.

WOW

Operated to Keflavik in 2016 and 2017 (A320 aircraft) both as point to point and as feeder to the airlines transatlantic routes. At times it competed with easyJet on point to point so not always able to calculate loads. When it operated alone the loads seemed middling (typically 60-80%). The final season was put into the booking sysetem very late. On occasions the route suffered very long delays (8 hours or more) leading passengers to miss their transatlantic connections.

Helvetic

Operated to Zurich 2011-2014 (Fokker F100 aircraft). Originally the route was CWL-ZRH but BRS was added nine months later to make the route ZRH-BRS-CWL-BRS-ZRH. The CWL end was later dropped and the monthly load factors on BRS-ZRH began to improve noticeably to the mid 60s%. Initially, CWL-ZRH was operating at 20% load factor but the BRS addition raised the overall loads to a ratio of 2:1 BRS-CWL. None of this saved the route in the end.

SAS

Operated an eight-week summer season to Stockholm in 2007 and 2008 and a full summer season to Oslo in 2008 (Boeing 737-600 aircraft). Following its near financial meltdown the airline axed the routes for summer 2009 as part of a 40% reduction in its overall flying programme. Returned with identical summer season to Stockholm in summer 2014 and 2015 (again with Boeing 737-600 aircraft) but did not return in summer 2016. Monthly load factors were always in the high 80% levels.

Isles of Scilly Skybus

Operated to Scilly Isles (DH-6 aircraft) in summer from 1995 until 2012. Route axed when airline decided on a different strategy following the closure of the helicopter link to Scilly Isles from Penzance.

Eastern Airways

Operated for a number of years (J41 Jetstream aircraft) to Isle of Man, Durham-Tees Valley (2005-2006) and on some of Air Southwest's routes after it purchased that airline in 2011. Ceased to fly from BRS in in its own right in 2013 although it still operates E145s from the airport under contract to Airbus for its corporate shuttle.

Air Southwest

Operated for many years (DH-8-300 aircraft) on such routes as Plymouth, Newquay, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and, for a short time, Norwich. Airline ceased to exist in 2011 when purchased by Eastern Airways.

OLT

German airline (Saab 2000 aircraft mainly) that flew to Hamburg and Bremen. It initially operated from Filton as an in-house aviation service but was moved to BRS in the early years of this century to try to pick up general passenger traffic as well. Ceased flying from BRS in 2011.

Continental Airlines

Operated to Newark (172, later 175-seat Boeing 757-200 aircraft) from May 2005 until November 2010. It was daily in summer and anything from 5 to 3 weekly in winter. In the early years its loads exceeded the publicly stated airline target but the recession then took its toll. At its height it was said it worked up to 50% US-emanating passengers. The airline gave a number of reasons for its demise from the recession to poor take-up at full fare in business-first. However, the undoubted killer was the airline's access to LHR which it didn't have when the BRS route began. Eventually the 757 was effectively moved along the M4 to become the airline's fifth daily Newark service from Heathrow.

Lufthansa

Operated for a year (Eurowings Bae 146-300) 2008-2009 to Frankfurt intially at 3 x daily every day of the week. The aircraft was too big at that frequency although in the first summer it saw a monthly load factor above 60%. The frequency was reduced in winter but axed in April 2009 at the height of the recession. It carried almost 100,000 passnegers in its year of operation. Lufthansa told the airport they'd bring it back after the recession and intended to do so using bmi regional small E-jets, an airline they then owned. However, that airline was sold and it now operates to FRA as a Lufthansa code share.

Flybe

Operated for many years (DH-8-300s, DH-8-400s, Bae 146-200s) as Jersey European, British European and Flybe. Routes included Bergerac, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Belfast City, Isle of Man and Jersey. Said to have fallen out with BRS over easyJet taking over some of their routes and pulled some of their own as a result. Did return to the airport with Jersey and Isle of Man but left entirely in 2014. Still seen on weekly charters for tour operators.

BAConnect and previous incarnations such as BACitiExpress and Brymon Airways.

Operated as BA franchisee (initially DH-8-300, later E145) from the early 1990s on such routes as Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Gatwick, Milan Malpensa, Munich, Newcastle, Paris Cdg, Plymouth, Frankfurt, Zurich. In 2007 Flybe bought BAConnect and closed the five-aircraft (E145) BRS base and its routes.

Air France

This airline, although now part of the AF/KLM Group, has come and gone on the Paris Cdg route at various times in the past 30 years. In the early 1990s it was in the form of Brit Air (Fokker F28 'Fellowship' jets) for two or three years. Air France returned at the beginning of the present century with Air France Regional (E145 aircraft) before disappearing from BRS after a few more years. By the later 'noughties' they had returned yet again, this time through Airlinair (ATR 42 aircraft, later upgraded to ATR 72). By 2012 the 3 x daily Airlinair schedule had reduced to a single daily CityJet (ARJ85) and finally an Air Hop! E190 before the final pull-out in 2013 - will they be back yet again in the future?
 

Marko1

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Such a sad list. Some of those routes I doubt we ever see again and I guess Florence will now join it. The dominance of one carrier in particular is becoming more and more obvious. I wonder what is being done to entice in particular business airlines to the airport because it certainly is not keeping the ones it has managed to attract .
 

Foxlimayankee

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A great analysis there TLY.
Although it might be questionable about the future growth figures, BRS has done remarkably well in the past 5 years, growing by about 2 million passengers. That can be ignored.
The bull of that growth has come from the current based Airlines.
Granted there have been a number of failures, but I wouldn't put that down to the larger based Airlines scaring them off. BRS is trying to tap into smaller markets which aren't served, but also may not actually be viable yet.
It does seem they are sticking by the comments regarding focusing on current based Airlines.
The majority of the routes listed as previously operated by other Airlines are still being flown, so route loss is minimal whereas airline variety has suffered.
Norwegian are closing their EDI-US routes which makes me think that's another potential Airline off the list for BRS.
As for Wizz, and u hate to use the word, I have a feeling Brexit may be the decider on that one, depending if the Polish residents stay.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #269
Thank you for the comments everyone. I realise that I omitted Air France which I've now added to the list.

Touching on Foxlimayankee's comment about Wizz and Polish residents, that could also apply to the large number of Polish and other Eastern European routes operated by Ryanair and easyJet too.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #270
Zurich

To my mind Zurich, like Milan Malpensa (I know that flybmi has a tiny niche operation to MXP), is a glaring omission from the BRS network. easyJet flies to both from other airports.

I've come back to this today after reading that Swiss has a summer operation from Cork to Zurich that is being increased next summer from 3 x weekly to 4 x weekly using A 220-300 aircraft. A connection with Swiss that provides interlining would be better than easyJet, although the latter would certainly be better than nothing at all.
 

Foxlimayankee

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There was talk about a year or 2 ago that BMI were imminently going to start ZRH, but it never materialised. Unsure why as it would suit them perfectly.
 

Marko1

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All very quiet on the route development side at the moment with less than 4 months till the start of the summer season
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #274
All very quiet on the route development side at the moment with less than 4 months till the start of the summer season
The quietest I’ve ever known it to be.
Certainly the quietest over the past few years but BRS has seen some tremendous passenger growth from 2014 onwards:

2014 6.333 million
2015 6.781 million
2016 7.604 million
2017 8.234 million
2018 Between 8.6 million and 8.7 million

There was bound to come a time when the pace would slacken for a while. With serious expenditure on the airport showing no signs of diminishing the owners and senior management must be confident of more substantial growth. Indeed, they say they are in their master plan observations.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #275
Interesting possibilities into the purchase of Flybe by the Virgin consortium (assuming Flybe shareholders approve) in that there seems to be a school of thought that Virgin's main aim is to feed its long haul ventures, particularly from MAN.

It's likely that if that is the case a CWL-MAN operation will come about. I can't see many people from the relatively affluent West Country traipsing to CWL (or to EXT where a Flybe MAN link already exists) to catch a short flight in order to catch a long haul connection. They might as well go to LHR and fly non-stop from there with Virgin as it would be no less inconvenient.

Whilst a BRS-MAN connection with no inclusive long haul connection almost certainly would not work - Air Southwest abandoned its own link as soon as the Bristol-Manchester rail connection improved very significantly - Virgin might look at the West Country as a lost cause unless it made it easier for people to reach its long haul.
 

Foxlimayankee

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Newquay are gaining NQY-LHR replacing LGW, opening up a lot of connections to feed into VS & DL. The same could be said for MAN. There's already a daily flight in winter and double daily in summer. The timings would need to be tweaked to make it connection friendly, or even a 3rd daily early morning flight introduced.
 

Marko1

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Going back to Bristol , where’s the growth coming from this summer ? Is that it from easyJet , reductions from tui and small capacity growth from tcx?
 

TheLocalYokel

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Admin #280
Going back to Bristol , where’s the growth coming from this summer ? Is that it from easyJet , reductions from tui and small capacity growth from tcx?
It's certainly a puzzle. The winter should be better than last winter so the first three months of 2019 might add 100,000 over the same period last year, especially if there are no widespread cancellations as there were in 2018 when the so-called Beast From The East was responsible for the loss of over 400 flights in early March.

We know that the BRS management is predicting that the 9 mppa level will be reached in 2019. Having regard to the fact that BRS underplays its own figures by around 100,000 each year (for anyone unfamiliar the reason is that BRS does not count under 2s and certain other categories of passenger unlike the CAA), in CAA terms that would be at least 9.1 mppa which in turn would mean another 400,000 or so additional passengers on the likely CAA total of between 8.6 and 8.7 mppa in 2018.
 

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