Post by Thames Gateway on Jan 15, 2015 17:48:15 GMT
It was bound to happen at some time. December passenger figures from CAA show the first monthly decrease in airport pax (73,768), since March 2011.
Dublin figures for Nov and December lowest since Jan 2013, despite most other London airports showing significant growth on the Dublin route throughout 2014, SEN Dublin figures have reduced rapidly since October. Flybe has 4 flights a day to Dublin out of LCY. The Southend -Dublin service is reduced to 1 flight a day most days, now mainly also flown by Flybe. Co-incidence?
On the plus side, Munster/Osnabruck did 1879 pax in December, compared to 777 last December from LCY. Antwerp also had a good increase to 2561 in Dec - I can't help feeling this route in particular was not given enough time to establish before being culled. Another few months and I reckon it would have come good at LCY's expense.
In March 2014 SEN had routes to EDI, JER and KRK, plus PMI all month whereas in March 2015 the last had only three flights in the lead up to Easter. Those routes contributed 14,118 more pax in March 2014; some 17% of the total. In March 2014 easyJet operated some 68 weekly rotations compared with 53 in March 2015.
"Must try harder" is a good maxim for SEN to follow as to date they seem incapable of replacing airlines which leave seemingly viable routes (EDI and DUB; the latter being very much an own goal) and attracting other operators to SEN who will provide meaningful extra capacity. Niche routes such as Bern and the current Stobart Air network is all very good but they will never provide the number of pax that an A319/320 operator will. The obvious path is to persuade easyJet to add additional capacity for 2016 in the form of a 4th based aircraft. Whether or not that can be achieved is, of course, outside of SEN's immediate control.
Much of SEN's future success will depend of their ability to attract new operators of substance in the next six months and/or by extra easyJet activity for 2016.
The individual routes indicate mixed fortunes: Caen 418, Rennes 2279, Berlin 4939 (-7%), Munster 1127, Dublin 1294 (-74%), Venice 4637 (-8%), Amsterdam 19020 (+34%), Groningen 1383, Faro 4364 (-20%), Alicante 9402 (+2%), Barcelona 7880 (-31%), Malaga 5963 (+15%), Palma 405 (-85%), Tenerife 2583 (+7%), Bern 828, Geneva 7550 (+13%). (There are no % changes for the flyBE/Stobart routes because they did not operate in March 2014, of course)
Post by Thames Gateway on May 18, 2015 13:53:01 GMT
The dire April provisional figures show pax down 25.7% and ATM flights down 15.5% over 2014 figures, in an environment where all the other London airports are growing: serves, I think, to demonstrate the lack of momentum by the airport in signing up significant new business this last year.
At least they have finally removed the slogan "London's fastest growing airport" from the website. It amazed me that the new website ever was allowed to go out online with that heading. Surely the management knew what was happening ? Or did they ?
I was somewhat taken aback by the statement accompanying the annual results to the effect they have a new increased target of 2.5 million ppa for 2018. As a broad brush indicator, in 2014 four based EZY A319s generated approx 1 million ppa. Assuming a similar utilistion and load factor performance it would take an extra six based A319 to produce the extra 1.5 million. It's all very well for management to talk of "interest from large European carriers" but even if this ever translates into reality what are the chances these non-based European carriers will produce the required number of rotations (12 per day ?) to get the numbers high enough.
Here surely is the crux of the matter. SEN lacks a based airline that will build a network centred on SEN. All the other London airports (and SOU) have a base operator. That is the surest way to build passenger numbers. For EZY, SEN is just a minor outpost.
This begs the question,where does SEN find a base operator ? It looked as though Aer Arann might have served that purpose. It would need twice the number of ATR72s compared with A319s to achieve the projected growth and of course that is unlikely to happen. But at least a bigger ATR fleet would help to move passenger numbers in the right direction, generate revenue and raise the profile of the airport by serving some destinations that people in SEN's catchment area want to fly to rather than just routes that are unserved by other operators. But sadly that is all looking very unlikely.
I certainly wouldn't dismiss EZY's SEN base as being "a minor outpost" and it is a SEN based airline. The aim must surely be to encourage EZY to expand their operations at SEN rather than go looking for a new based airline. Operationally there is no reason why SEN could not become a six aircraft base for EZY and Stobart's every effort should be concentrated into making that happen. If EZY sees the current taxiway situation as being a restraining influence (and that's a big 'if' as it was only reported as a rumour elsewhere) then it must be tackled without delay. The plans are already there to remedy the current situation and there is no excuse for delay if it an issue for EZY.
As far as Stobart's 'target' of 2.5 mppa by 2018 is concerned the politest words to describe that would be "dream on" in my opinion. At least they describe it as a target and not a projection so they can just about get away with it and it's obviously aimed at giving investors confidence in the SEN project. They certainly haven't made it easier for themselves by throwing away the DUB route which produced 60,000 ppa for SEN and was, importantly in my view, an excellent case study for use in presentations to prospective SEN users as to why they should consider using SEN. Now that SEN is base to just one ATR72 Stobart Air/Flybe are hardly likely to contribute very much towards that 2.5 million target. They have, however, just recruited a new Stobart Air management team so perhaps some positive changes might result from that.
It has to be faced that SEN is heading in the wrong direction at the moment with regard to pax numbers and it must be hoped that perhaps one or two of these seriously interested "major european airlines" they speak of actually result in a few new routes. It's difficult to be optimistic at present though.
I agree totally. easyJet is the best way forward and I would have thought that Krakow, Malta, Naples and Nice would be good routes for Stobart Air to try to sell to them. Stobart Air could revive the Dublin and Belfast routes with maybe Edinburgh and Newcastle worth a punt. Oh, and what will happen with the route to Carlisle....?
I don’t have the exact numbers of EZY aircraft based at the various London area airports but it is something like this: LGW 60+, LTN 15+, STN 7, SEN 3. By any measure SEN is but a tiny part of their operation. More significantly, EZY can and do move aircraft around in search of the better returns wherever they may be, as we have seen already.. SEN is effectively in competition for resources not just with the London bases but also with the European bases, some of which, like LTN and LGW, have been expanding in the past year. They may station three aircraft at SEN, but the agendas of the two parties are not necessarily aligned. That I would say is a general problem in the relationship of LCCs with airports.
Having said that I do agree that an increase in EZYs SEN operation would be the most likely way of seeing a quick fix to the declining passenger statistics, though how feasible it is I have no idea. I would rate the chances of an alternative carrier opening a base of A319/320 size aircraft as extremely low.
Pie-in-the-sky forecasts like the 2.5million ppa are not exactly uncommon in the city, but if the analysts are doing their jobs they should have no difficulty in identifying how far the projection differs from reality. Companies that over indulge in this sort of exaggeration can gain the wrong type of reputation and become subject to ridicule or even loss of credibility
These figures indicate that the loss of the 4th aircraft from Easy is having an impact on SEN passengers numbers, as did the french controlers dispute (along with other airports). The airport operator must try to get the Easy airframe returned along with some of the lost routes, its not only the the one lost airframe its the Flybe discontinuation of good routes and adding no replacements, this seems to be the way Airwork are going by cutting there service. The routes currently operated by Stobart/Flybe may be performing as expected? but this has not covered for the loss of routes and pasangers, the airport operator must try to woo new airlines to cover some of the lost routes and introduce new ones such as Adria. I wonder where the airport will come in this years Which Survey as the airports such as Luton/Stanstead have both shown marked improvement in pax numbers despite not doing very well in the survey.
A good point was made on Pprune about SEN management's market research. If they want easyJet to base a fourth aircraft at SEN they need to show them concrete figures for passenger demand. Are SEN commissioning surveys throughout South Essex seeking views on possible destinations?