The public private owned airport Oslo Torp has skyrocketed its number of passengers by 40% during the first 10 months of 2017.
By Hans Jørgen Elnæs
Located 120 kilometers south of Oslo, Sandefjord Airport Torp is growing faster than other airports in Norway. It has reported 60.3% passenger growth in October, reaching 183,981, and year-to-date the small airport has pushed its passenger numbers up by 40% to 1,670,095 versus the same period in 2016.
It has been a remarkable rebound after years of decline in traffic.
Oslo Gardermoen, located 50 kilometres north of Oslo and the largest airport in Norway and run by Avinor, reports a 6.4% passenger increase for October, totalling 2,493,930, making the growth so far this year 7% to reach a total of 23,448,251 passengers.
The interesting aspect here is that the small airport is outperforming its big brother by five times measured in percentage passenger growth for the January to October period.
The main reason behind the massive growth at Oslo Torp is the closure of the nearby competing airport Oslo Rygge on 31 October 2016. Due to Rygge closing down, the sole operator at the airport, Ryanair, transferred eight of its 16 routes to Torp effective from 1 November 2016. Rygge and Torp airports had coexisted since 2007, until the implementation of a passenger tax in Norway on 1 June 2016 forced Ryanair to shut down its base at Rygge.
Above two million in 2017
There are five scheduled and one charter airline operating at Torp and the airlines’ seat capacity is split like this: Wizz Air (34.3%), Wideroe (29.1%), Ryanair (27.0%), KLM (4.8%), Norwegian (3.9%) and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia (0.9%).
It is expected that Torp will surpass two million passengers in 2017, the highest number in the history of the airport and a good example of how low-cost carriers can drive up passenger volumes in a very short space of time, even at secondary airports with a limited catchment area and heavy competition from other airlines. The main component for the growth in 2017 is Ryanair, and the Irish low-cost company will have transported approximately 600,000 passengers by year-end.
The Torp case is a timely example of the positive impact of low-cost carriers, even in marginal markets, and it is not unlikely more capacity will be assigned to Torp by both Wizz Air and Ryanair in the coming years, as Oslo Gardermoen does not have any plans in the short or medium perspective to attract a significant increase in LCC volume.
The main plans at Oslo Gardermoen are to extend the non-Schengen terminal to handle A380 operations and to construct a third runway, these facts giving a clear signal to Torp to keep on working to attract more low-cost carriers to continue its impressive growth.