Cologne Bonn Airport seeks connectivity to new markets in Europe and beyond
Cologne Bonn Airport has almost fully recovered its international traffic volumes to pre-pandemic 2019 levels, with the aim to expedite growth in this sector, strategically offsetting challenges posed by the subdued domestic market – a common hurdle confronted by all German airports.
Aiding Cologne Bonn Airport in its efforts is a robust low-cost presence and the swift resurgence of key players such as Wizz Air and Ryanair. Furthermore, Turkish carriers have made a major contribution to ensuring its sound recovery in international traffic. The airport’s strategic position, coupled with diversified carrier dominance, sets it apart from many of its German peers.
Identifying untapped markets, Cologne Bonn Airport is charting a course for expansion, particularly within Europe. The Scandinavian region presents an exciting opportunity, while Eastern European destinations like Romania and Poland, catering primarily to VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) traffic, are on the radar. Madrid emerges as a key focus in the west, offering substantial untapped potential.
Looking beyond the European continent, Cologne Bonn Airport has its sights set on the Middle East. With its longest route currently being Tehran, the evolving landscape of Gulf carriers opens new avenues, while Beirut in Lebanon stands out as a potential future destination.
While immediate plans involve further improving European connectivity, Cologne Bonn Airport envisions long-haul flights in the future. Speaking to Air Service One, Florian Bongard, Head of Business Development and Airline Marketing at Cologne Bonn, said: “The market is definitely there, especially for long-haul leisure flights, like to the Caribbean, Maldives and Dubai. Cologne has a big catchment and there is demand and interest from tour operators. I am optimistic we can benefit from this going forward.”
Key to Cologne Bonn Airport’s strategic goals is the enhancement of hub connectivity. Tobias Lyssy, Vice President for Marketing and Sales at Cologne Bonn Airport, noted: “Our main hubs are Munich and the Istanbul area. We are happy that British Airways launched their new service to London Heathrow, providing passengers their excellent network beyond London. However, improved hub connectivity is necessary for our business travellers, so this is an area we are active in because there is definitely room to grow.”
Operating 24/7, Cologne Bonn Airport provides airlines with the flexibility of late-night departures, an attractive prospect particularly for carriers from Middle Eastern markets.
Underlining its commitment to further developing the passenger experience, Cologne Bonn Airport has embarked on an extensive renovation project, starting with Terminal 2. Its transformation into a non-Schengen terminal is expected to offer travellers a revamped and enhanced experience. Subsequent plans include the overhaul of Terminal 1, with these ambitious projects slated for completion by the end of the decade.