A question of balance for Transavia Netherlands

Bernie Baldwin

Transavia Netherland has weathered the tough times and is ready to grow once more, as the airline’s strategic network planner, Oliver Newton, told CONNECT 2022 delegates.

“Finding the right balance between short term profitability and long term strategy. This is our motto and every decision we make is based around this.” So declared Oliver Newton, strategic network planner at Transavia Netherlands, as he explained his airline’s position following the darkest times of the pandemic.

“We want to make to make money in the short term. We also want to invest, innovate, try new things, and open new destinations, which in the short term are risky, but in the long term, will hopefully give more rewards,” he added.

While Transavia Netherlands and Transavia France talk with each other, they are separate entities and work independently of one another. At his company, Newton operates in the team doing the long-term network planning – looking at one year to 10 years in advance – while another team takes care of short term network developments.

“The short term since Covid has been extremely important, getting way more attention than the long term. But we’re starting to see a shift towards the long term focus,” Newton confirmed.

Transavia Netherlands has 44 aircraft planned for the coming summer, 27 based in Amsterdam, nine in Eindhoven, seven in Rotterdam and, for the first time, will one in Brussels. Newton noted that the route network does not have much to the north or the east of the Netherlands. “Most of our network is to the south. About 50% of all our flights go to Spain and Portugal, huge markets for us. We also have lots of Greek destinations and Italy’s a strong market too, focused around the Mediterranean Sea,” he remarked. “Our core market is taking Dutch people on holiday. I’d say 80%-90% of our passengers are outbound leisure tourists. But we see growing inbound traffic, including the corporate sector. It’s small, but increasing especially in the regional airports.”

During the pandemic, the airline was grounded for two months, then restarted with one route at the beginning of June 2020. “Despite everything that was going on, people wanted fly. So we scaled up very quickly in summer 2020, where we reached about 40% of our 2019 capacity,” Newton recalled. Improvements continued for winter 2020 and throughout 2021, with the upcoming summer expected to be at 95% of pre-pandemic capacity. “We’re starting five new destinations. Riga, Bastia (Corsica), Bergamo, Kayseri (Turkey) and Ponta Delgada in the Azores, the last of which has been on our list for quite a few years, given its natural beauty. Then there’s our exciting news of the Brussels base, where we’ll put a 737-800 from the end of June. There will be four destinations – Heraklion, Ibiza, Alicante and Faro.”

Shortly before CONNECT, the airline announced the upgrading of its fleet, an “enormous development” moving from Boeings to an all-Airbus fleet. “We’ll be focusing on the larger type, with more A321s than A320s.

“We’re still in discussion about delivery dates,” Newton reported. “We’re hoping to get between 40 or 50 extra seats per flight from the Airbus, which will stimulate growth.”

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