Analysis: Spain's phenomenal international growth

With Routes Europe 2018 fast approaching, Routesonline looks at the growth of Spain's international aviation market.

The data is all supplied by OAG Aviation using its OAG Schedules Analyser tool.

Scheduled international capacity from Spain (2008-2017)

Routesonline’s analysis of published schedules for the past ten years shows that international air capacity from Spain rose from 65.1 million available seats in 2008 to 98.5 million in 2017. This represents growth of 51.3 percent across the period. In the last calendar year, international capacity increased by 8.3 percent after adding more than 7.5 million available seats.

International traffic trends in Spain during the first-half

A closer look at flight schedules for the first half of 2018 shows that international air links from Spain are continuing to grow. According to OAG Schedules, more than 44 million seats are on offer during the six months to June 2018, compared with 42.1 million for the same period a year ago. In June 2018 there will be in excess of 10 million departure seats from Spanish airports, up 6.4 percent on the same month in 2017.

Top ten international airlines in Spain

A total of 139 airlines offered international flights out of Spain in 2017, with European budget carrier Ryanair accounting for almost 18.3 million - or 18.6 percent - of the 98.5 million departure seats on offer.

Ryanair had most capacity at Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas, with 2.69 million seats, closely followed by Barcelona El Prat with 2.67 million seats. Alicante (2.16 million), Malaga (2.15 million) and Palma de Mallorca (1.67 million) completed the top five.

The second largest number of departure seats by airline was offered by Ryanair’s low-cost rival EasyJet, with more than 8.4 million seats, with Spain’s flag carrier Iberia in third. Vueling, the sister airline of Iberia, ranked fourth and Norwegian fifth.

Top ten international airports from Spain

The UK is Spain’s largest international market by departure capacity, with more than 25 million available seats in 2017, well ahead of Germany in second with 16.1 million.

This is reflected in London Gatwick being the main international destination for flights from Spain. More than 5 million available one-way seats to LGW were on offer in 2017, equivalent to 13,821 departure seats per day.

Twelve airlines offered Spain-London Gatwick services last year, led by easyJet with 2.1 million seats. British Airways was second with 546,228 and defunct leisure carrier Monarch Airlines third with 532,986.

Elsewhere in the top ten, two other UK airports featured (Manchester in second and London Stansted fifth) alongside three airports in Germany (Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich).

Fastest-growing major airlines in Spain’s international market (2016 vs 2017 - more than 100,000 available seats)

Austrian carrier NIKI ranked as the fastest-growing major airline in Spain’s international market during 2017 after taking over the holiday destinations from Air Berlin in March of last year.

Prior to its insolvency in December 2017, it offered up to five daily flights from Dusseldorf, Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Frankfurt to Palma de Majorca.

The carrier also added Málaga and Alicante to its route map, as well as Tenerife and Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Palma.

Eurowings ranked second, after taking over many routes previously operated by Germanwings, with Primera Air in third.

Main aircraft in operation on international flights from Spain in 2017

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.