What do the German airports in Nuremberg, Münster-Osnabrück, Erfurt and Rostock-Laage have in common? In the past decade, it was extremely painful to cope with the loss of Air Berlin and less than 1,5 years later of Germania, both of which were the local “big player” in their day. After the bankruptcies, the fillet pieces were quickly distributed, while the airports in particular from the second row urgently had to look for replacements. In the meantime, the airports mentioned above have one thing in common again in the current winter flight schedule: a Maltese charter airline - "Corendon Airlines Europe".
This is an offshoot of the Turkish Corendon Airlines and is either strongly represented or even a monopoly at all four airports. But who is this (currently) pure Boeing 737 operator, who advertises with the slogan “Your Holiday Airline” in the striking colors of blue, white and yellow? In 2017, Corendon Airlines' second subsidiary, after the founding of the Dutch charter subsidiary, was launched with its official headquarters on the enchanting Mediterranean island of Malta. According to its own statement, Corendon Airlines currently operates 27 type 737 aircraft on three AOCs, including 26 type 737-800 and one 737-Max8. Four more 737-Max are waiting for their delivery in the USA, one of which is also intended to expand the Maltese Corendon as the “9H-MAX”. Time to take a closer look at the airline, which plans to fly south from 2022 airports in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the coming summer 26.
Hanover Airport is one of the few German airports that has approved 24-hour flight operations. In the DACH area, it is directly connected to the Frankfurt and Munich hubs; Vienna and Zurich can also be reached non-stop. Overland there is a connection by rail to the S5 S-Bahn, which connects the airport terminus with Hanover's main train station and the city in just 24 minutes and was therefore my first choice for the journey.
For the ticket I had booked in the Flex tariff, I had the option of both the previous online check-in and the airport check-in. I decided to sleep for a good hour more, so the relaxed variant the evening before from home. My choice fell on a seat in the front third of the machine and I could already see from the seat map that only a few seats were reserved or already taken at this point in time. So I wasn't expecting a fully booked flight. A subsequent look at the booking mask confirmed this impression, as I could have made a new booking less than 24 hours before departure for just 50 euros. The online check-in was quick and smooth.
After entering the passport data, the boarding pass was already created, a previous upload of a test result or a corona vaccination was not possible and was only checked at the airport in Hanover during boarding. When I showed up at the check-in counter in area “C” of Hannover-Langenhagen Airport almost an hour before departure on the day of departure to check in my luggage, only one counter was open. Since there were only 3 passengers in the "queue" in front of me, the baggage check-in was still done quickly and in a friendly manner within less than 5 minutes.
Boarding on this day was via a (bus) gate in the basement. The Boeing 737-800 9H-TJF, the latest addition to the fleet, a 13-year-old aircraft, was already waiting on the apron. The "Juliette-Fox", which was delivered from the factory in 2008 to the Indian "Jet Airways" and after their bankruptcy switched to the direct competitor "SpiceJet", did not find its way into the Maltese register and thus to Corendon Europe at the end of September 2021.
For the non-stop flight to Fuerteventura there were only 58 passengers on board on this cold winter day, which means that the 189-seat jet was only occupied by around a third and there was enough space available. The crew greeted the guests in a friendly and multilingual manner at the front door of the aircraft, disinfectants or the like were not given out.
Since all passengers had been brought to the aircraft in a fully occupied bus and only a flight of stairs had come up to the front door, the entire boarding process should take less than 5 minutes. The last aircraft door was also closed too punctually when the captain reported with a German-language announcement and announced a flight time of around 4 hours and 20 minutes that day.
The categories “Seat” and “Entertainment” are a little more difficult to assess, since Corendon has apparently different seat models in its range due to the purchase of machines. Since only a snapshot is possible, it should be mentioned that the "TJF" has received light blue, very thin leather seats in its all-economy seating. All armrests, also in the aisle and at the window, can be raised, and there was also a small recline function. You won't find any electrical / USB connections.
Flight (including meals)
The flight was calm, unspectacular and on time. Since the Boeing 737 used that day did not have any AirShow or monitors, the German-speaking cockpit made 3 announcements during the flight with details on the current course of the flight. The on-board service, which was carried out several times (mostly in English), was friendly and attentive, but not intrusive. Upon request, the crew had a printed menu card with them, as this is not unplugged due to the corona, as is currently the case with most airlines. The Corendon "FlyBistro" (see slideshow) includes a range of hot and cold snacks. On some flights, kebab is also offered at a price of € 7, but this was not available on the flight from Hanover to Fuerteventura, like most of the food listed.
The prices for soft drinks are around € 2-3. A “Capri Sun” drink package is available from € 2, water is available from € 2,50, coffee, black tea or other soft drinks such as cola, Fanta etc. are available on board for € 3. A selection of sweet and salty snacks and alcoholic beverages are also available on the flights. A special feature that should be mentioned is that Corendon only accepted cash payments on the flight.
Entertainment (including wifi)
There was no entertainment whatsoever on the machine used on the test day. It is better to take this with you in advance on your own electronic device or you can simply use the flight time for a little "detox" time and in the classic way to read a good book or travel guide. Since no daily newspapers / magazines or the like were available, neither digital nor printed, the preparation here is also personally with each individual before the flight.
Tariffs / Price (s):
Corendon regularly offers three different tariffs, which are based on the current (Light / Classic / Flex) system. In the course of a promotion a few weeks ago, in which tickets were sometimes offered at a net flight price of just one euro (plus taxes and fees), the three basic tariffs were supplemented by a fourth called “Promo”. This includes nothing except a small handbag and a maximum weight of 3 kilos. However, as mentioned, this tariff is not offered by default. You can only choose from the three tariffs listed below.
The “economy tariff” includes large hand luggage weighing a maximum of 8 kilos as well as an additional personal item such as a handbag or laptop bag weighing a maximum of 3 kilos. In addition to the checked baggage that is not included, check-in at the airport is also not included in this tariff when booking via the Corendon website and prior online check-in is mandatory. Seat reservation is also chargeable.
The product referred to as the "Flex tariff" at Corendon corresponds to the current "Classic" tariffs and includes free seat reservation for standard seats (rows 18-33 behind the emergency exit) as well as checked baggage weighing 23 kilograms and free check-in at the airport. Both the larger and the smaller piece of hand luggage are also included.
In the product known as the “Premium Tariff”, the baggage allowance increases to 32 kilos. The carrier also includes numerous services in this tariff, although these are offered depending on availability. For example, a “priority package” with priority boarding is included as well as selected catering on board. Seat reservations can be made in the entire plane free of charge, with the exception of the first row and the overwing rows. In ALL tariffs, reservations must be made for these rows of seats separately and for a fee. For my flight, I opted for the medium “Flex” tariff, which cost me just under 70 euros one-way at the time of my booking.
In my opinion, Corendon Airlines Europe has a construction site in the DACH area that should not be underestimated: the largely inconspicuous brand. Apart from the Turkish business and the deeply rooted Dutch subsidiary, the brand is still relatively unknown to the masses in this country. With constantly new discount campaigns on the homepage, the airline is apparently trying to at least increase occupancy this winter and to collect a little extra money in the weak winter half-year.
Corendon doesn’t need to hide with the European medium-haul product offered, which is customary in the industry. This can be described as absolutely solid, but does not have any unique selling points. By far the biggest plus point is the large number of departure airports in the DACH area, so that there is always a departure airport in the immediate vicinity. The prices of the F&B offer are competitive and relatively diverse and there was no excessive “sales show” on board.
Should the airline work consistently on its brand awareness in the future and also rely on contemporary services such as an application / app, I definitely see potential here to build up its own "fan base". This should also be possible in the less competitive regional markets, where “word of mouth” should still not be underestimated.
For a large number of airports from the 2nd or 3rd row, Corendon is above all one thing: the white-red savior, which offers a very stable and reliable flight plan on non-stop flights “from the front door”. Even with seasonal lower loads, Corendon currently flies the offered program cleanly and reliably. Like many other carriers, the program for the weak months of January / February was adjusted and reduced for a few weeks, which is quite legitimate. Anyone looking for a carrier for the next flight to the Mediterranean away from the major hubs will find an alternative that can be booked in Corendon.