Budget Airlines’ Passengers Down 4% in January

According to data released on Monday by the Institute of Tourism Studies (IET), governed by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, ‘low-cost’ airlines carried 1.6 million passengers in January, representing a fall of 4% over the same month last year, while the traditional airlines carried 1.5 million passengers during the first month of 2013, a drop of 7.7% compared to the same period of 2012.

Thus, the low cost airlines accounted for more than half of the air traffic in January, with 51%, compared to the traditional airlines, who commanded 49% of travellers.

The United Kingdom and Germany were the markets which accounted for most of the arrivals via low-cost carriers in January, with 31.4% and 18.8% of passengers, respectively, despite registering declines of 0.8% for the UK market (509,301 passengers), and 3.2% in the German market (304,428 passengers). Travellers arriving from Italy, the third largest source market, were down 20% to 180,293, equivalent to 11.1% of the total arrivals via budget airlines. France followed with 6.7% of the total and 109,128 passengers, which is down 3% from a year ago. Next came the Netherlands, with a 14% drop in arrivals, at 82,000 passengers, and 5.1% of the total.

The largest percentage increase was recorded for the Norwegian market, with 39.2% more passengers in January with a total of 49,366. In addition, travellers from Denmark increased by 26.8% to 33,599 visitors.

In the first month of the year, the Spanish airports most used by low-cost airlines were Barcelona-El Prat, with 345,296 passengers and a decline of 0.6%, Madrid-Barajas airport, with 200,438 passengers and a drop of 19.9%, and Tenerife South, with 199,121 passengers, down 1.1%. Málaga came next, receiving 154,114 passengers, up 5.4%, and Alicante, which experienced an increase of 5.7%, with 151,490 passengers. Also closing the first month of the year with negative figures were Gran Canaria airport, with 141,204 passengers (-2.5%), Palma de Mallorca, with 93,366 passengers (-5.6%) and Lanzarote, with a decline of 1% to 85,004 travellers.

In January, the low cost airlines’ flights reached an occupancy rate of 73.8%, which is 1.3 percentage points higher than the previous year, and seven points higher than the traditional companies. In addition, Ryanair, easyjet and Vueling were the principal ‘low-cost’ carriers in the first month of 2013, together transporting 55% of all the travellers who chose the low-cost option.

By region, Diario Sur reported that the Canary Islands, Catalonia and Valencia led the ranking for arrivals via low-cost carriers at the start of the year. The Canary Islands headed the list, with 30.4% of arrivals and more than 490,000 passengers, despite experiencing a decrease of 3%. Catalonia came next with 23.9%, after receiving 387,370 travellers, an increase of 0.3%, then Valencia, with 204,748 passengers, registering an increase of 0.8%. Madrid followed, with 200,438 passengers (-19.9%), Andalusia, with 190,256 passengers (+2.4%), and the Balearic Islands, with 93,928 passengers (-5.8%).