DATA: What are the Fastest Growing Airlines in Western Europe?

Ahead of this year's Routes Europe forum, Routesonline is providing a snapshot on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across the region. Here we look closely at the airlines serving Western Europe and highlight the region's top performers.

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

Scheduled Air Capacity From Western Europe (2005 - 2014)

Our analysis of published schedules for the past ten years shows that air capacity within and from Western Europe has risen from 749,403,411 available seats in 2005 to 955,743,285 available seats in 2014. This represents a growth of 27.5 per cent across the period, an average annual increase of 3.1 per cent. In the past year capacity increased 3.8 per cent.

Top Ten Airlines in the Western European Market (2014)

The legacy European network carriers continue to hold a strong position in the Western European market but the low-cost carrier have an increasing influence across the region, including holding the position of the first and third largest operators within and from Western Europe.

Ryanair leads the way with a 9.6 per cent share of available capacity within and from Western Europe in 2014, ahead of Lufthansa which has seen its own capacity share reduce to 7.4 per cent following its network realignment and transfer of its non-hub flying to its Germanwings business. easyJet is the third largest operator in the region (7.2 per cent share), ahead of the fast-growing Turkish Airlines (6.0 per cent share).

After Lufthansa, Air France is the second largest flag carrier by capacity in Western Europe (5.1 per cent share), followed by British Airways (4.4 per cent), SAS Scandinavian Airlines (4.0 per cent) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (2.8 per cent).

Fastest Growing Airlines in the Western Europe Market (2010-2014)

Looking at capacity data in the region across a five year period, it is Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines that has grown capacity by the biggest margin with capacity up 153.0 per cent from 2010. Notable growth during this timescale was recorded by other LCCs including Germanwings (up 81.4 per cent), Vueling (up 71.4 per cent) and Norwegian (up 70.5 per cent). Turkish Airlines was the fastest growing network carrier within and from Western Europe by capacity between 2010 and 2014 (up 76.6 per cent), while Iberia reported the biggest fall in capacity among the top 20 operators (down 32.2 per cent).

Data comparison between 2013 and 2014 shows a steady level of growth among the top ten airlines in the region by capacity, but with a dominance from the low-cost carriers in this regional analysis: that sector is repsonsible for six of the top seven fastest growing airlines among the top twenty operators in this region.

However, among the ten largest operators in Western Europe, it is Turkish Airlines that reported the largest rise in capacity between 2013 and 2014 with growth of 12.7 per cent: one of only two airlines among the ten largest carriers in the region to report double-digit year-on-year growth - the other was Norwegian with a 10.9 per cent rise in capacity.

Looking at the wider top twenty airlines in the region it is Germanwings that recorded the largest year-on-year capacity growth between 2013 and 2014 with a rise of 56.7 per cent following the continued switch of Lufthansa's non-hub flying to its former low-cost unit. Double-digit growth was also recorded by Vueling Airlines (up 22.2 per cent) and Pegasus Airlines (up 15.9 per cent).

Air France reported the largest decline in capacity in 2014 versus 2013 within and from Western Europe (down 8.5 per cent), while Flybe reduced capacity by 8.4 per cent). Lufthansa (down 6.2 per cent), Aer Lingus (down 4.2 per cent), Iberia (down 2.8 per cent), Swiss International Air Lines (down 1.2 per cent) and Austrian Airlines (down 0.2 per cent) also reduced capacity in the region between 2013 and 2014.

Scheduled Western Europe Capacity by Aircraft Type

The chart below shows which aircraft types were most prevalent in the Western European market during 2014. The schedule data shows the Airbus A320 (320) is the most widely used aircraft type in this market with a 19.6 per cent share of available seats with overall network capacity up 9.0 per cent between 2013 and 2014 to 187.08 million seats.

The second most utilised aircraft type in this market is the Boeing 737-800 (738) with a 16.8 per cent share, while third most widely operated type by network capacity is the Airbus A319 (319) with a 12.7 per cent share.

The biggest rises in annual capacity among the top ten aircraft types were recorded by the Boeing 737-700 (Winglets) (73H) with a 49.5 per cent rise in available seats in 2014 versus 2013 and the Boeing 777-300ER (77W) with a 18.5 per cent rise. The largest decline in annual capacity was recorded by the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 (DH4) with a fall of 1.8 per cent versus 2013.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…