The CEO of Aarhus Airport outlines the ambitions of the network

Following the announcement that the Danish city of Aarhus will host Routes Europe 2024, Routes met with the Executive Director of Aarhus Airport (AAR) to learn more about the airport’s pandemic recovery and network priorities.

How is the recovery in the summer season?

We are seeing a recovery of around 85% per month compared to the level of traffic before the pandemic, and there are strong signs that it will improve further over the summer, as we expect more planned work and leisure routes to return during this period. in the future. It takes months. We saw that the recovery in Scandinavia was slower to return at full speed, as in southern European markets, but the local boom led by SAS was very strong.

However, due to available capacity constraints, this service is moderately limited to the smallest ATR 72 and CRJ-900 equipment, which means that many rush hour trips reach 100% load or are resold. This has a dampening effect on capacity when connecting to larger markets, as well as some problems with customer service, with passengers being delayed from one flight to the next. SAS is aware of the situation and is working with the airport to optimize peak capacity in the future.

What new routes are starting this summer? Are there any destinations that have not yet been reopened and that you hope to return to??

The new routes for the summer season of 2022 include new Ryanair summer destinations to Spain, Italy, Poland and Latvia. The airline has significantly increased its presence in the AAR and now offers services to Lauda, ​​Buzz and Malta Air, as well as Ryanair itself. Flights to Malaga (AGP) operate twice a week and are the longest airline-operated segment from Aarhus (approximately 3.5 hours). Duration, while Warsaw Modlin (WMI) is serviced twice a week, as is Milan Malpensa (MXP), which is operated by Air Malta using Boeing 737-8200 equipment.

Also new is Riga (RIX), which runs three times a week from the Latvian capital. Ryanair Zadar added (ZAD) [in Croatia] Corfu (CFU) [in Greece] In the summer of 2021, the season’s two most popular holiday destinations in terms of volume, Aarhus welcomes the further expansion of the Irish carrier.

Wizz Air is a new airline in Aarhus. The Aarhus-Bucharest (OTP) airline, Romania’s first destination from Aarhus with a relatively large emigrant community, will open for the first time on September 29th. Flights will be operated twice a week with Airbus A320 aircraft. The airport hopes that the Hungarian-based airline will continue to expand over time, as Aarhus is the largest city in the north not served by Wizz Air.

In addition, Egypt will be included in the summer destination map for the first time in 2023, and weekly flights to Hurghada (HRG) and Sharm el-Sheikh (SSH} will be operated by the Air Cairo A320 with the Danish tour operator Atlantis).

However, the return to the Aarhus runway from the pandemic period, but hoping to resume in the coming seasons, are flights connecting the city with Berlin, Munich, Oslo and Stockholm. It is hoped that SAS will resume flights to Oslo in the near future and thus reconnect with the Norwegian capital, while the airport would like to see the return of the Lufthansa group and flights to and from Germany previously served by Air Dolomiti. Meanwhile, the Swedish carrier BRA (Brathenes Regional Lines) opened services to Aarhus from its base in Gothenburg (GOT) at the end of 2021, and ATR 72 flights will continue without a change of aircraft to Stockholm Bromma (BMA). Aarhus is the first destination for a network of airlines outside Sweden.

What does the vision for 2022/23 look like? for the winter season?

We expect a strong winter season and a net improvement in traffic beyond 2020, and it is hoped that COVID’s omicron diversity will be a thing of the past and new life will emerge, especially in the ski markets and throughout Scandinavia in general. to travel. Leisure services to the Sun will cover the Canary Islands, Madeira, southern Spain and two destinations in Egypt, while new flights to Milan, Warsaw and Riga will continue throughout the winter. The continuation of additional flight volumes and total capacity in the Nordic countries would also be welcome, as the market is recovering and early signs are that the Nordic markets are beginning to return to normal.

What are the long-term goals of web development?

We explore all routes, literally, because Aarhus is the largest metropolitan area in the north, with no direct traffic to multiple destinations. As the expansion of passenger capacity based on construction, with the new terminal building soon to be completed, there is much room for growth in many directions. Turkey is a very large untapped market in Aarhus, but there is also the potential for the development of a hub delivery service on many of Europe’s major airline and alliance networks.

Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Zurich, Vienna and Lisbon are among the most sought-after business centers and have a population of 1.38 million in Greater Aarhus, while Istanbul and the Nordic centers in Helsinki are located in the Far East and Reykjavik. [in Iceland] In the case of the United States, they all show very strong indirect traffic figures, but they are not yet linked. This is a really exciting show, given the market opportunities for the most accurate statistics and those that have yet to be fully exploited.

Can you tell us more about the AAR terminal reconstruction project?

The development of the terminal is in fact a new terminal located above the old terminal, with a doubling of the overall size and several international departure gates, a much larger duty-free retail area and a significantly improved passenger experience for all types of customers – leisure and business. , providing a very fun and sophisticated atmosphere in which all passengers benefit from the comfort of a lounge, a soft seat and a sense of HAY “Danish design”, as well as food and drink offered by the Aarhus catering establishment in Martin Ib. There is also a games center and an indoor football pitch, covered in a Nordic-inspired atmosphere that provides a sense of peace and relaxation at property level.

To complete things, a brand new indoor hotel will complement the stunning new front façade, providing residents and visitors with a comfortable, quality stay just steps away from early check-in and a late night, late night arrival area. visitors. An expanded car park is also under construction, as well as the completion of a new car rental arena in Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

What is the AAR doing to help the Danish domestic market get rid of fossil fuels completely by 2030?

Aarhus Airport is part of a sustainable fuel development and supply initiative in cooperation with Shell Denmark, as well as 16 other logistics partners, where the Danish Innovation Fund (IFD) has invested DKK 30 million (USD 4.2 million) and in cooperation with Energy Denmark. Group.

The project is called LowCarbFuels.dk and is based on Hydrothermal Liquefaction Technologies (HLT), which aims to develop adequate supply capacity from a plant based in Norway, but with distribution and supply solutions that work properly in both aviation and marine – the heavy transport sector, which covers the whole of Denmark, including Aarhus Airport.

The project includes best-in-class partners from university research departments to pricing experts and supply chain innovators, as well as investment partners from Norway, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and France, as well as Denmark.

It should be noted that many of the shortest and most popular services at Aarhus Airport, provided by regional flights with high-fuel turbo-prop aircraft, such as the ATR 72-600, already have a strong green travel mandate. SAS serves Copenhagen on the island of Zealand, BRA serves Gothenburg and further to Stockholm, while the regional carrier DAT connects Ron on the Danish island of Bornholm to Aarhus using ATR 72 equipment.

The region’s geography means that passengers often have to cross the bodies of water that separate the major cities in the Scandinavian region, and this is done with fuel economy by locating the best regional turbopropers. This is a strong early step in the right direction. All of our customers’ major airlines have strong and proactive sustainability programs and policies that we fully support and endorse.

Why are you hosting Roots Europe and what is your main message to carriers?

We are not organizing this road event just to showcase the legendary Danish weather. . . And we will have parachutes just in case! However, we welcome Routes Europe in the region to offer delegates a diverse, charming, picturesque and extremely hospitable destination in Aarhus and to give them a taste of why Aarhus is often regarded as Denmark’s happiest city, which in turn has often been crowned the happiest country in the world. .

Aarhus in Denmark is known as “Smilets by” (pronounced “smeelets-boo”), and we can’t wait to explain to Routes Europe why. A very friendly place to visit, we have one of the youngest inhabitants in Europe, and we combine everything a large metropolitan area can hope to offer, while merging neatly in the very pedestrianized city center of the fast-growing Minnepolis.

Greater Aarhus actually has a population of 1.38 million, the fifth largest population base in the Nordic countries after Helsinki. The region’s economy is worth more than 60 billion euros (63 billion US dollars), and we are home to some of the world’s largest companies by industry, as well as the largest academic footprint in Scandinavia.

It is a collection of first-class talent and has thus become a fast-growing, fast-growing Aarhus with a fast-growing demographic and strong internal migration. The region is characterized by a prosperous market with some of the highest values ​​of disposable income, and this is reflected in a compelling travel trend, while Aarhus is also a fast-growing destination for foreign visitors. The city was recently ranked as the 24th most popular conference destination in the world (ICCA) and also the third most sustainable business tourism destination.

Since 2017, when Aarhus was named European Capital of Culture, the city and the region have flourished. Not only tourism – Aarhus is also considered the capital of wind energy, scientific research and innovation in food technology, home to one of the largest hospitals in the world and the capital of entertainment, which hosts several important annual music festivals, the Danish National Festival. The Opera and the Largest Concert Hall in Scandinavia Now houses the tallest building in Denmark.

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