10% fewer low-cost flights in 2022 over 2019

In the 2022 summer season, growth among low-cost carriers has declined. At the same time, airlines are struggling to reach the same levels of service compared with pre-crisis levels. Meanwhile, low-cost carriers have raised prices and are withdrawing from major airports; low-budget long-haul offerings are increasingly hard to find. In this mixed environment, Eurowings holds its own as the market leader in Germany with 44 percent market share, followed by competitor Ryanair with 23 percent. Together with Wizz, Easyjet and Corendon, the five carriers account for around 95 percent of the German low-cost market. These results are in the "Low Cost Monitor 2/2022" recently published by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

"The airlines looked at in our study offered 824 different routes from Germany in the low-cost segment, in one week in July 2022," says study director Dr Peter Berster of the DLR Institute of Airports and Air Transport. "However, this is still 116 fewer than the record set in the summer of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic."

Eurowings with largest route network

Eurowings is ranked first in July 2022 with 322 routes offered from Germany, with the company's strongest offering being Düsseldorf Airport with nearly 100 routes and 583 takeoffs per week, ahead of Cologne with nearly 70 routes and 312 takeoffs followed by Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Ryanair follows in second place with 246 routes. The Irish company saw a sharp decline in flight offerings after strong growth in the period following summer 2019. After an almost complete suspension of air traffic during the pandemic, flight numbers offered by Ryanair and its subsidiaries in 2022 increased significantly. The network focussed on airports in Berlin and Cologne, but smaller airports such as Weeze are also being served, while the company has stopped serving Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich. Easyjet has taken a much more restrained approach t othe post-pandemic recovery, offering only around 30 percent of the flight capacity in summer 2022 compared to 2019.

Domestic German routes now play only a minor role overall. After peaking at around 120 domestic German routes in 2010, long period of decline followed. Currently, 24 routes remain open. This figure is even smaller than the number of domestic routes offered in the previous year. Overall, the low-cost segment accounts for around 28 percent of air traffic from German airports. Berlin offers the largest number of flights in this segment, with over 770 planned departures per week, followed by Düsseldorf with around 700, Cologne, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Prices rise significantly

"The difficult situation on the market has led to significant price rises in the low-cost segment in 2022," explains Berster. "The price range is around 68 to 119 Euros in the fall of 2022 for the average prices of the airlines considered, Ryanair, Easyjet, Eurowings and Wizz." In autumn 2019, this range was still around 44 to 111 Euros.

According to the current analysis, Wizz, with an average ticket price of around 68 Euros, is the airline with the lowest-priced offers, including all taxes and fees in the German market, ahead of Easyjet, Ryanair and Eurowings. While the final airfare for a short-term next-day trip can now exceed 300 Euros, a flight scheduled three months away costs an average of around 61 to 75 Euros. On average, prices have increased sharply for short-term bookings. In contrast, there has been little change in longer-term advance bookings.

The price range shown summarizes the average gross airfares for a representative selection of routes operated by Eurowings, Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz, the major low-cost airlines operating in Germany. The average prices are determined in the Low Cost Monitor for a booking day on the basis of various advance booking periods ranging from one day to three months.

via: DLR