budget carrier Sterling
is considering shifting some of its operations from its Copenhagen
base to Malmo Sturup in a
bid to reduce costs as carriers using the Danish capital hub step up pressure
over airport charges.
has already been testing the potential of Malmo through a single
route to the Spanish resort of Alicante.
It argues that using Malmo is potentially more
economical and that the road bridge connection between Copenhagen
means the Swedish airport is a realistic alternative to the Danish hub.
commercial director Stefan Vilner says the carrier
will seriously consider transferring several other routes to Malmo
if the passenger loads prove strong enough.
looking at Alicante
as a testing ground,” says Vilner. “If it works well
we’ll look at the traffic patterns. But we’re not going to pull out of Copenhagen
because the market is too big to ignore.”
and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) have each expressed dismay
charges as the airport’s operator, Kobenhavns Lufthavne, seeks to reach a new agreement over fees. The
present three-year agreement expires at the end of 2005.
Kobenhavns Lufthavne chief
executive Niels Boserup
tells ATI that the airport is
suffering from a drop in transfer traffic and wants to abolish its current
charging scheme – which includes a transfer-passenger rebate – in favour of
adopting a simpler, per-departure charge.
want to remove the transfer rebate because it’s not working,” he says, pointing
out that transfer traffic accounts for only a third of passengers at Copenhagen.
Boserup says that the airport is in the “lower half” of
European airports regarding charges, adding that its strong profitability is
down to its low operating costs. He claims that a change in its charging
structure would benefit carriers.
Airlines benefits strongly from the transfer-passenger rebate and chief
executive Jorgen Lindegaard says that the airport’s
strategy is “not supporting” the carrier.
says: “We’re in discussions about whether [Copenhagen]
should support point-to-point or transfer [traffic]. For SAS as a network
carrier transfer traffic is important – but it’s pretty much up to Copenhagen
to decide what sort of traffic it supports.”
is being viewed as a possible alternative by Sterling,
Lindegaard says that SAS remains focused on primary
airports and that it is not intending to abandon Copenhagen.
But he adds: “If our competition on point-to-point is building out of Malmo then we
will have to do the same.
will not announce anything publicly as long as we’re in discussions with Copenhagen
We would hope that we would not be forced, threatened or obliged to move.”