Spanish airports hit turbulence in second quarter of 2008; High-Speed Rail taking 30% of MAD-BCN market

Image: Spanair opening for new route from Munich to Madrid
Spanair launched daily Madrid-Munich services on 30 March. “Today marks a special occasion for us and we are happy to be celebrating our new service from Madrid to Munich, linking these two great cities while at the same time strengthening the bond between Spain and Germany and our growth into the German market,” said Christina Schneider, Spanair’s Country Sales Manager in Germany. “We are confident that this new service will be key in providing our customers with a wider choice of connection possibilities than before.”

After a strong first quarter (which included the earlier-than-usual Easter), Spain’s airports had a tough second quarter with traffic down in both April and June. As a result traffic growth in the first six months of 2008 was just under 3% across all Spanish airports. Aircraft movements were up less than 1%.

Chart: Demand at top Spanish mainland airports
Source: AENA

Even Girona’s stratospheric growth rate fell to below 20% in the second quarter. Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia all experienced traffic reductions during the last three months.

Chart: Top 15 Spanish Airports
Source: AENA

Among the top 15 Spanish airports, two (Barcelona and Malaga) saw traffic fall in the first half of the year. Among the smaller Spanish airports Zaragoza (+20.8%) and Santander (+17.0%) reported the strongest passenger growth during the first half of 2008. Airports reporting a fall in traffic included Jerez (-3.5%), Menorca (-4.0%), Murcia (-5.1%), Reus (-5.7%) and Almeria (-7.8%).

Rail now taking 30% of Barcelona – Madrid route

The latest data from AENA indicates that the new high-speed rail service between Madrid and Barcelona has reduced air travel demand between the two cities by around 30%. In 2007 the route carried almost five million passengers. This year the figure is likely to fall to around 3.5 million.

Chart: Madrid to Barcelona air passengers
Source: AENA

This has contributed to the overall fall in traffic at Barcelona airport during the second quarter of 2008. It has had less impact at Madrid as the route has a lower share of the total airport traffic.


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