According to data released on Monday by the Institute of Tourism Studies (IET) under the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, the low cost airlines carried 24.1 million passengers through to August, representing an increase of 3.2% over the same period of last year.
In contrast, the traditional airline companies transported more than 20 million passengers in the first eight months of the year, an increase of 2.2% over the same period in 2012.
Thus, Cinco Dias reported that, between January and August 2013, the low cost airlines accounted for more than half of the air traffic, with 54.6%, compared with the traditional airlines, which represented 45.4% of the travellers.
The United Kingdom and German markets led in the arrivals via low cost airlines, with 33.5% and 18.7% of passengers, respectively. The British market recorded an increase of 4.4%, to more than eight million passengers, and the German market rose by 9.6% (to 4.5 million passengers).
Arrivals from Italy, the third source market, reduced by 14.3% to 2.2 million passengers, and accounted for 9.3% of the total arrivals via low cost airlines. France was fourth, with 7% of the total and 1.6 million passengers, 2.7% more than last year.
After the French market, came the Netherlands, with their arrivals dropping by 0.6% (to 1.3 million passengers), representing 5.6% of the total.
Denmark registered the largest percentage increase, up 37.9% so far this year with a total of 471,389 passengers. In addition, travellers from Norway increased by 36.7%, to 593,362 visitors.
The Spanish airports most used by low cost airlines up until August, were Barcelona-El Prat, with 4.8 million passengers and an increase of 5.6%; Palma de Mallorca, with 4.3 million passengers and an increase of 8.1%; Malaga, up 9.2% to 2.8 million passengers, and Alicante, which received over 2.4 million passengers, representing an increase of 12.1%.
Madrid-Barajas Airport, however, experienced a drop of 19% to August, registering 1.9 million passengers, and Valencia airport recorded a decrease of 3.7%, with a total of 759,635 passengers.
Occupancy Rate of 84.3%
In August, the flight occupancy rate of low cost airlines reached 84.3%, similar to the same month of last year, and the traditional companies reached 80.8%, one percentage point more.
Ryanair, easyJet and Vueling were the main ‘low cost’ airlines in August, together transporting 58.4% of all travellers who chose low cost airlines. Vueling stood out again in August for the significant growth in their business.
By region, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Andalusia led the ranking of arrivals via low cost airlines in the first eight months of the year.
Catalonia accounted for 24.8% of arrivals and 5.9 million passengers, an increase of 5.6%. The Balearic Islands came next, with 22.9% of the total, receiving 5.5 million travellers, up 8.6%, and Andalusia, with 3.4 million passengers, recorded a rise of 6.8%.
These regions were followed by Valencia, with 3.2 million passengers (+8%), the Canary Islands, which remained stable with 2.9 million, and Madrid, with 1.9 million visitors (-19%).
4.2% More Passengers in August
In August, the low cost airlines carried more than 4.2 million passengers, up 4.2%, while the traditional airlines reached 3.3 million passengers, representing a rise of 1.9% compared with the same month in 2012.
Of the total 7.6 million passengers who travelled to Spain in August – up 3.2% over the previous year – 56.3% chose a low cost airline. In contrast, 43.7% of passengers flew to Spain during the month of August with traditional airlines.
Year-on-year the Scandinavian countries registered significant growth – 32.2% for Norway and 24% for Denmark – however, the UK, German and Italian markets remained the main source of passengers, accounting for 63.2% of the total.