October 11, 2016 / 12:58 PM / a year ago

easyJet aims to bolster market share in Berlin, Hamburg

BERLIN (Reuters) - Low-cost airline easyJet (EZJ.L) will focus on strengthening its existing bases in Germany before considering expansion at other airports such as Frankfurt, the head of its German operations said on Tuesday.

An EasyJet passenger aircraft prepares for take off from Gatwick Airport in southern England, Britain, October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

“We want to be the No. 1 and 2 in Berlin and Hamburg, respectively. That is the priority, not our market share in Germany,” Thomas Haagensen told Reuters in an interview.

EasyJet, the biggest airline at Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport and the third biggest at Hamburg, currently has a market share of around 3 percent of air traffic in Germany, while rival Ryanair (RYA.I) aims for 10 percent by the end of the current fiscal year.

Haagensen said easyJet did not have a target market share for Germany, saying it only made sense to add share if it was profitable.

Asked about whether easyJet could fly from Frankfurt, he also said fees there were still quite high for easyJet compared with other German airports.

HSBC analysts said this week that easyJet needed to establish a meaningful presence in Germany to remain a leading pan-European airline and suggested the carrier could do a deal with TUI’s (TUIT.L) TUIfly to buy German market share and compete with Ryanair.

The chief executive of Fraport (FRAG.DE), the operator of Frankfurt airport, told Reuters last week he was in talks to bring more budget flights to the hub but would not be drawn on which airlines could add routes through Frankfurt.

Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Christoph Steitz and Jane Merriman

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