This time we went to Nuremberg with Corendon's (own) Boeing 737-800.
Hardly any other trip report has subsequently caused such a large number of reactions as the trip report six months ago about the Maltese offshoot, of the Turkish Corendon Airlines. An airline (group) that will remain in focus this summer due to a massive expansion of its own operations.
Hardly any other airline in this country currently has such an exciting range of wet lease and subcharter aircraft to be able to handle these ambitious growth plans. Regardless of whether it is a Boeing 737-800 from the Ukrainian SkyUp, an Airbus A320 from the Danish DAT, or the latest coup, an Airbus A330-302 from the Maltese GetJet subsidiary - AirHub Airlines, at the beginning of the 2022 summer season, the Corendon fleet used consisted of almost 50%( !) from chartered aircraft.
But there has also been movement in the company's own fleet in recent months, so the Turkish parent company is now using a total of 6 new Boeing 737max8s. On the one hand, this brings a little relief to the heavy summer OPS this year with a large number of inconstant ones and, on the other hand, it also reduces the use of expensive subcharters a little in the meantime.
At the time of booking this flight to Nuremberg in Franconia, the exciting question arose as to which airline and which aircraft would be used on the booked flight. Fortunately, in the end it stayed with a company-owned Boeing 737-800, with the registration 9H-TJB, of the Maltese offshoot "Corendon Europe Airlines", a machine well known in Germany.
The booked fare
Corendon has not changed its booking system since the last flight in winter and is therefore still offering the opportunity to take a larger piece of hand luggage (trolleys) with you, even in the "eco tariff". In times when all LCCs only allow this for a further surcharge (Speedy/Priority/etc.), this is a positive aspect.
However, since the Eco tariff does not include any checked baggage (check-in), you must check in online in advance in the best "low-cost manner", otherwise a (penalty) fee of €10 per person and route will be due at the counter . With the other two tariffs on the Corendon homepage (Flex&Premium) and when booking through an organizer, the check-in counter is usually included thanks to checked baggage.
As mentioned at the beginning, this time the flight was carried out with the 15-year-old "9H-TJB", a Boeing 737-800 of the Maltese Corendon Airlines Europe, which has been in the airline's service since May 2019. The aircraft, which had already been in use as D-AXLD from/to Germany for a number of years in the past, made a clean and reasonable visual impression, albeit an unspectacular one, as we are used to from Corendon. Blue leather seats without any frills were also installed in the -TJB. Anyone looking for WLAN/entertainment or USB connections will still not find what they are looking for at Corendon.
The service on board
The friendly, but also on this flight not German-speaking cabin crew, was very friendly and attentive from the first moment. During the two F&B sales, which rolled through quickly due to the rather low occupancy rate, there was always time for a little English small talk, provided the fellow passenger was able to do so.
After a look at the current menu and my mobile phone for comparison, it quickly becomes apparent that Corendon has kept the prices stable with a few exceptions.
Either the card and the associated prices were printed before inflation, which had meanwhile picked up significantly, or long-term purchase prices were agreed on in the market. The prices for almost all soft drinks, coffee & tea have remained stable and the same, only the price of a children's drinking packet, which was increased by 1 € from 2 € to 3 €, caught my eye directly. Adequate for a 0,2L Capri-Sun.
Some minor seasonal changes have also been made to the area of snacks and sandwiches on board. With prices of 6€ for a sandwich (unchangeable) in winter, however, some travelers should already have reached a certain pain threshold, since this price is already at the upper end.
What was striking was the renewed very weak utilization of significantly less than 50% and thus the second time in a row for me. In the midst of the main holiday season and summer holidays in more than three quarters of all German federal states at this point in July, it was quite unusual, even if Bavaria itself was not yet on holiday. This left more than enough space and, despite the automatic seat assignment in online check-in in advance, in the end a whole row for me alone. It was only recently revealed through an Aviation.Direct report that Corendon will prematurely discontinue or reduce numerous routes from many German airports.
The aircraft used on this flight had already completed an amazingly packed flight schedule in the past 24 hours prior to this departure. This is where the locational advantage of stations without a night flight ban, such as Hanover, Münster or Nuremberg, comes into play. While the Boeing 737 takes off during the day towards Greece, Portugal or Spain, there is an additional flight in the late evening / through the night towards Turkey before starting all over again the next morning.
Therefore, the almost 30 minutes that the plane arrived "delayed" from Nuremberg was completely fine and the arrival at the Franconian airport took place within the same period. In times when you have to wait up to two hours for your luggage at some airports, I easily had the time back when a few minutes later my suitcase appeared on the baggage carousel and I was able to make my way towards the exit.
At the end...
Corendon remains a simple and friendly alternative for departure "on the doorstep" at often low prices. Also on this quiet and pleasant flight, the crew was noticed by a friendly and pleasant service. The prices on board for drinks and snacks have largely remained stable in the current summer season and are still in the good, normal mid-range.
Even though last week's industry news reported that Corendon had been completely canceled, Corendon remains one thing above all for tour operators and airports: a thoroughly reliable partner. Surely there are a few exceptions everywhere (from A to Z), like this summer, no question about it, but looking at the overall picture you should see that Corendon delivers a mostly clean performance. In view of the sporting expansion and the problems at Europe's airports this summer, this is almost a little surprising.
A simple look at one of the popular apps for tracking “live air traffic” shows that the red and white jets are on the move 24 hours a day. Whether from Amsterdam, Paris, London or the more than 20 departure airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, all important holiday destinations are headed for within a radius of 5 hours. The aspect of the 18-month wet lease operation of the Airbus A330-300 remains interesting. For the first time, this also offers the possibility to book one of the 30 "Comfort Class" seats in the front area (in a 2-2-2 configuration).
So should Corendon put his plan into action next winter to fly this aircraft to long-haul destinations, eg in the Caribbean from Germany, one could take a close look at this aircraft with an attractive price structure and suitable flight times. Personally, I will continue to keep an eye on Corendon with its concept of also expressly relying on regional airports.