Today I will talk about a small company and you may probably not know a lot about it, but most probably you will have gotten in touch with one of their products. If you have ever taken a plane to go somewhere, and I’m sure you did, you will have used a COBUS 3000 or a similar bus for transportion from the terminal building to the aircraft or the other way around. In case you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a picture:
The Cobus Industries GmbH, a german company founded in 1983 in Wiesbaden, is a highly specialized producer of buses used for transportation of people at aiport airfields. Having only 49 employees currently contracted, the company generates 58 million € annual turnover and holds a worlwide market share of around 90% in its niche market. For comparison: The three largest manufacturers of buses in the world are the chinese manufacturers Yutong and Kinglong on the first two places and Daimler on the third position. These big players produced 47. 474, 33. 924 and 32 888 buses in 2012, while Cobus only produced about 400 buses at the same time.
Cobus is successful, because the company has found a niche market. Buses that are used at airports are special in a way that they require certain characteristcs which normal buses from the streets do usually not have. I will just name some of these:
- Big capacity: A Cobus 3000 can carry up to 112 passengers, while a standard bus of the same size has only a capacity of 50.
- Increased width: Since airfield buses don’t leave the airport area, they don’t need to fit street regulatory framework
- More and bigger doors on both sides of the bus: Allows passengers to enter and leave the bus quickly. This is important due to strict time schedules at airports
- Fewer seats: Bus rides at the airport usually does not take more than a few minutes. So the number of seats is reduced to a minimum to increase capacity
- Separate storage place for heavy luggage
Cobus buses are not produced in own factories, but by third party manufactures in different regions of the world. By doing so, production can be closer to the target market and maintanance can provide a better and more cost effective service. Since 2011, there is also a electric version of buses available. The first airport that shifted airport transportation completely from fuel consuming buses to electric buses was Schipol Airport in Amsterdam in 2014.