The low cost airlines transported 10.9 million passengers to Spain in the first five months of the year, representing an increase of 10.4% over the same period last year, according to data released this week by the Tourism Studies Department of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.
In contrast, the traditional airline companies carried more than 12.6 million travellers to May, up 3.9% on the same period in 2013.
Thus, between January and May, the low cost airlines accounted for 46.5% of air passenger traffic, while the traditional companies accounted for 53.5%.
In May, the volume of travellers on low cost airlines increased by 10.6%, to 3.1 million passengers – 50.3% of the total air traffic for the month, which rose by 5.7% to 6.4 million passengers – compared with 3.21 million travellers who chose the traditional companies, an increase of 1.1%.
Among the low-cost airlines, Ryanair, easyJet and Vueling transported the largest volume of international passengers, together around 68%, and each recorded year-on-year increases.
The UK and Italian markets accounted for the largest numbers of arrivals via low cost companies up to May, with 36.6% and 11.4% of passengers, respectively, with growth of 7.8% for the UK market (over 4 million passengers), and 9.6% in the Italian market (1.24 million passengers).
Arrivals from Germany, the third source market, increased by 25.8% to 1.23 million travellers, representing 11.3% of the total arrivals via low cost companies, followed by France, with 8.2% of the total and 898,613 passengers, an increase of 7.9% over a year ago. Visitors from the Netherlands increased by 7.8% to 723,852, and accounted for 6.6% of the total.
There were 18.8% more passengers from Belgium up until May, reaching a total of 410,920. In addition, visitors from Switzerland increased by 12.3% to a total of 346,114; travellers from Norway grew by 6.1% (324,506); while there were 271,333 visitors from Ireland (+2.8%), and an additional 2.3% of arrivals from Denmark (250,902). In contrast, the volume of Swedish travellers decreased by 0.1% to a total of 247,274.
In the first five months of the year, the Spanish airports used most by the budget airlines were Barcelona-El Prat, with 2.8 million passengers and an increase of 17.9%; Málaga, with 1.4 million passengers, up 13.8%, and Alicante, with 1.22 million passengers and an increase of 8.9%.
Those were followed by the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport, which received 1.21 million passengers, up 7.8%, and Palma de Mallorca, which saw an increase of 6.2%, with 864,478 passengers. All the airports recorded increases, except for Girona-Costa Brava, which registered a decrease of 24.1% to 312,250 passengers, and Valencia, which fell by 1.9% to 387,844 passengers.
In contrast, there were notable increases for the airports of Tenerife Sur which registered the biggest increase, of 22.5%, (726,304 passengers), and Lanzarote, with an increase of 20.3% (349,703).
By region, El Economista reported that Catalonia, Andalusia and the Canary Islands headed the ranking for entries via low cost airlines in the first five months of the year.
Catalonia accounted for 29.4% of the arrivals with 3.2 million passengers, representing an increase of 10.5%. Andalucía accounted for 15.7% of the arrivals, with 1.7 million passengers, and a rise of 12.5%, and the Canary Islands, with 1.65 million passengers, recorded the biggest increase, of 22.2%. Thereafter followed Valencia, with 1.61 million passengers, an increase of 6.1%; Madrid, with 1.2 million passengers (+7.8%) and the Balearic Islands, with over a million passengers (+6.3%).