Lisbon Airport to Surpass Ten Million Departure Seats in 2014

Airports are small cities with a unique atmosphere. More than just points of departure and arrival, they are meeting places, places of excitement and discovery. Cosmopolitan spaces, where people and cultures cross each other and Portuguese airport operator, Aeroportos de Portugal (ANA), has that philosophy built into its strategy for growth as it brings Portugal to the World and brings the World to Portugal.

The company, part of the Vinci Airports Group that encompasses 23 airports across France, Portugal and as far afield as Cambodia, has already seen notable network successes this year among them British Airways introducing flights between London Heathrow and Faro and Porto and more recently national carrier TAP Portugal launching operations between the Portuguese capital Lisbon and the Brazilian cities of and Manaus and Belém. From the beginning of July 2014, TAP will also launch nine further new routes: Panama and Bogota in Central America and Asturias, Belgrade, Nantes, Hannover, St Petersburg, Gothenburg and Tallinn across Europe.

This follows a successful 2013, in which the ten ANA network airports served 32 million passengers - a year-on-year growth of five per cent - as an additional 1.52 million passengers where handled. This growth came through a mix of new services, increased flight frequencies on existing routes and by increased usage of existing flights as average aircraft load factors rose by 2.2 percentage points. Although there was notable traffic growth at Faro (5.4 per cent) and Porto (5.3 per cent), it was Lisbon that caught the eye with a 4.6 per cent growth – above the industry average for airports its size - increasing annual traffic beyond 16 million for the first time ever.

Lisbon Airport accounted for almost exactly half the total passengers served by the ANA network in 2013 and this share will likely rise in 2014 after Irish budget carrier Ryanair opened up a base on April 1, 2014. The low-cost carrier is initially stationing just a single Boeing 737-800 at the airport, its third Portuguese base, and has used the 189-seat jet to open seven new routes, increasing its network to eleven destinations adding to the flights to Brussels (Charleroi), Frankfurt (Hahn), London (Stansted) and Paris (Beauvais) introduced in 2013. The new points on the route map comprise Bremen, Dole, Dublin, Eindhoven, Faro, Manchester, Marseille, Milan, Pisa, Porto and Rome and will generate an additional 900,000 passengers per annum into the Lisbon Airport system, according to Ryanair.

But there are more opportunities for further network expansion from Lisbon as its dedicated business development tool, RouteLAB highlights. This B2B offering has been designed to offer each of the airport’s business partners and stakeholders latest detailed information about services, infrastructure, the surrounding region through catchment area maps and route development business opportunities.

In Europe, ANA is currently targeting unserved routes to Birmingham, Glasgow, London City and Sofia and underserved markets such as Oslo, Stockholm and Stuttgart for growth. In Africa, a continent that has historical links that ties it to Portugal, major markets such as Cairo, Egypt in the North, Johannesburg, South Africa in South and Lagos, Nigeria in the west are high on the list of target markets, as is Tel Aviv, Israel in the Middle East. In North America, Lisbon is looking to secure new air links to Chicago, New York JFK and Washington and boost capacity in the underserved markets of Boston, Montreal and Toronto.

In our analysis, below, we look at growth in capacity from Lisbon Airport over the past ten years. In 2004, airlines offered 7.7 million seats from the airport but this rose to just under ten million seats last year, a 27.7 per cent rise. This year, based on existing published schedules, this is expected to rise above the ten million figure for the first time with capacity set to rise 7.8 per cent.

According to the data from OAG Schedules Analyser, Air Algerie, Air Canada rouge and Luxair are all new arrivals at Lisbon for 2014, while Air Europa, Emirates Airline, Germanwings, Norwegian, Ryanair, Transavia France, Tunisair, Turkish Airlines, US Airways and Vueling will all boost capacity by more than ten per cent this year.

TAP Portugal is the dominant published carrier at Lisbon Airport and will increase its share of capacity from 56.9 per cent to 59.7 per cent this year, based upon released schedules for 2014 thanks to a 4.9 per cent growth in available seats. Ryanair, thanks to the opening of its new base, will be the second largest operator from Lisbon by capacity in 2014 with a 4.2 per cent share.

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…