CityJet Continues German Expansion

Irish regional carrier CityJet has confirmed plans to further expand its network in Germany with the introduction of flights from its London City Airport operational base to Dresden and Paderborn Lippstadt from April 2013. The latest route expansion follows just weeks after the carrier launched flights to Münster-Osnabrück and announced a new link to Nuremberg, starting from January 27, 2013.

The wholly-owned Air France subsidiary will introduce the only direct air services to the historic North Rhine area (Paderborn) and Saxony in eastern Germany (Dresden) from the Docklands airport. Both routes will be operated on a six times weekly basis, the Dresden route using an Avro RJ85 from March 28, 2013 and the Paderborn link a Fokker 50 from April 22, 2013. The flights have been scheduled to utilise aircraft capacity outside of the morning and evening peaks of its trunk business route designed to benefit a significant inbound market looking for easy access to the heart of London and the City.

Part of the airline’s network strategy is to make better use of its aircraft during quieter periods of the day. CityJet’s aircraft are well utilised during the morning and afternoon/evening peak so it is trying to create a schedule which additionally allows aircraft operation during the middle of the day in order to increase aircraft productivity. It is already achieving this by serving a number of leisure destinations and smaller leisure/business destination which don't require a high number of frequencies.

“There is a strong inbound demand for direct routes to the heart of London from Germany both from a business as well as a leisure perspective,” said Christine Ourmières, Chief Executive Officer, CityJet. “By expanding our German network to four destinations, including Munster and Nuremberg, we are answering that demand at a time when Germany continues to remain Europe’s economic powerhouse.”

Dresden, on the banks of the River Elbe in Saxony, east Germany is host to a vast array of museums and stunning historic architecture including the Elbe Castle, Villa Quarter, the Semper Opera House and the world-famous Frauenkirche. The ancient is juxtaposed with an extravagant array of modern architecture which gives Dresden a unique feel. The city is also home to a number of world-renowned performing arts companies based across its abundance of theatres, galleries and museums. Dresden is also home to the semiconductor industry of Germany as well as strong pharmaceutical and engineering industries.

Up until this summer the Dresden market had been served regularly from London over the past five or so years with British Airways offering direct links from London Gatwick between March 2007 and October 2008 then bmi from London Heathrow from April 2010 to March 2011 and finally Eurowings from March 2011 to March 2012. The German regional carrier had also served the London – Dresden market in summer 1998, flying to London Stansted. In late October OLT Express introduced a link from Dresden to London Southend although it is unclear if this will operate during summer 2013 at this current time.

The city of Paderborn, in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany, is situated at the mouth of the Pader river in the heart of Germany. With over 1,200 years of history that includes a medieval cathedral and university the city loves its traditional festivals and events. It also plays home to over 10,000 members of the British armed forces and their families. In addition it has a large student population and has a number of international companies based in the city including Wincor Nixdorf, Benteler, Fujitsu and Siemens.

The London – Paderborn market was most recently served by airberlin. The German carrier introduced flights to London Stansted in September 2002 but suspended the route in October 2011 after reducing capacity by switching its daily from short-haul Airbus and Boeing models to a Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprop.

“Paderborn will strengthen our offering out of Westphalia whilst our route in Dresden opens up a whole new region to British-based families and couples looking for a relaxed weekend break or business travellers seeking easy access to the Silicon Valley of East Germany,” said Christine Ourmières.

In the table below we highlight the estimated O&D demand between London and Dresden and Paderborn during the past five years. There have been some clear fluctuations in annual demand on London – Dresden city pair and the loss of direct air services is clearly evident in 2009, but since then demand has rebounded with annual O&D passenger growth of 17.8 per cent in 2011. The London – Paderborn market has been in decline since 2008 with O&D slipping by at least 20 per cent a year since 2009 as airberlin revised its capacity in this market.


London – Dresden

London - Paderborn


Estimated O&D Passengers

% Change (vs previous year)


Estimated O&D Passengers

% Change (vs previous year)



205.0 %



5.0 %



10.0 %



(-9.1) %



(-51.8) %



(-27.1) %



105.7 %



(-23.7) %



17.8 %



(-25.6) %

CityJet made its first steps into the German market from late October when it introduced a daily link to Münster-Osnabruck from London City on October 29, 2012. Like its new routes this also is part of the airline’s network strategy to make better use of its aircraft during quieter periods of the day.

The city of Münster is the sustainable energy and green capital of Germany and is a popular location for both science and technology conferences. In addition, Münster is at the heart of one of Germany’s strongest performing economic areas, with a large number of expanding SMEs based locally. As well as this, Osnabruck and Dortmund are both key university cities within easy reach of the airport, with strong science and IT based economies.

“By starting services to Münster, CityJet is expanding its appeal to the UK MiCE industry as well as facilitating a new trade corridor for the rapidly expanding British green technologies and renewable energies market,” said Christine Ourmières. “There is also strong inbound demand for a direct route to the heart of London from Münster given the large number of SMEs based in the airport’s catchment area.”

The route launch marked the return of Münster-Osnabruck to the London City Airport network map. The route was previously flown from the airport by Augsburg Airways on behalf of Lufthansa between April 2000 and March 2003. The German city has also been previously served from London Gatwick by Eurowings and more recently by airberlin from London Stansted, a route that was closed in October 2011. During 2011 an estimated 38,000 O&D passengers flew between London and Münster-Osnabruck.

CityJet will also introduce a twice-daily weekday and daily weekend service from London City to Nuremberg from January 27, 2013 using an Avro RJ85. The airline will replace airberlin on the city pair. The oneworld alliance member started flights between Nuremberg and London Stansted in February 1998 before switching flights to London Gatwick in February 2011. It currently offers an up to twice daily offering using a mix of Airbus A320 Family and Next-Generation 737 variants but will end flights on January 7, 2013.

CityJet’s decision to serve Nuremberg represents the resumption of a former link from London City, albeit one that only lasted two schedule seasons. German national carrier Lufthansa served the route between November 2006 and October 2007 using an ATR 42-500, having previously flown from the German city to London Heathrow up until April 2000.

“Nuremberg is a key business hub in Europe given its position as the capital of Germany’s industrial heartland. It is the head office location for many of Germany’s multi-nationals such as Siemens, Puma and Adidas and it plays host to several international trade fairs,” said Christine Ourmières. “Taking its business and leisure credentials together, it was a clear cut decision for CityJet to launch a new year-round service to Nuremberg.”

The new routes increases CityJet’s network to 22 European destinations across Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK. It is currently the largest carrier operating out of London City Airport with a 34.8 per cent share of flight departures this month, but it is ranked second to BA Cityflyer by seat capacity with a 28.9 per cent share.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…