New terminal should help Alicante pass 10 million mark this summer; Ryanair now accounts for one-third of traffic

While the opening ceremony for Alicante Airport’s new terminal is today and flight operations begin tomorrow, staff from the British Consulate in Alicante already visited the grand new construction. Although the share of the airport's total passengers travelling to and from the UK has declined in the last few years, the UK country market remains by far Alicante's largest and six further British routes will launch this year.

While the opening ceremony for Alicante Airport’s new terminal is today and flight operations begin tomorrow, staff from the British Consulate in Alicante already visited the grand new construction. Although the share of the airport's total passengers travelling to and from the UK has declined in the last few years, the UK country market remains by far Alicante's largest and six further British routes will launch this year.

This week sees the opening of Alicante’s new terminal, which will help the airport (the sixth busiest in Spain on an annual basis) meet the expected growth in demand, especially during the peak summer season. Last year, the airport on Spain’s east coast serving the Costa Blanca region grew by 2.7%, exactly the same as for all airports in Spain. Between 2000 and 2008, passenger numbers grew by almost 60% before the recession in Europe took its toll on leisure traffic in 2009.

Source: AENA

Source: AENA

One thing that has changed significantly in recent years is the ranking of the leading airlines at the airport. Up until 2003, Iberia was the leading carrier at the airport, but in 2004, it was overtaken by easyJet. easyJet gained a presence at the airport when it took over Go, the low-cost carrier that once belonged to British Airways, in 2002. easyJet remained the leading airline at the airport until 2009. After opening a base at the airport in 2007, it took Ryanair just two years to become the leading airline, and last year it handled one-third of all passengers, making it twice as big as the next biggest carrier, fellow low-cost carrier easyJet, who saw passenger numbers fall in 2010 after the carrier dropped flights from its abandoned base at East Midlands airport in the UK.

Just in: Earlier today, the Spanish Minister of Transport José Blanco attended the opening of Alicante Airport's new terminal.

Just in: Earlier today, the Spanish Minister of Transport José Blanco attended the opening of Alicante Airport's new terminal.

UK remains #1 country market

The UK remains the leading country market for flights to and from Alicante. Between 2000 and 2004, the UK’s share of passengers grew from 45% to 55% as the likes of Go and easyJet helped stimulate the market previously dominated by charter airlines. However, since then, the UK’s share of the markets has declined to just 42% in 2010, although that still makes it five times bigger than any other international country market.

Source: AENA

Source: AENA

The airport’s international network has become more dispersed. In 2003, the top five country markets of the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway accounted for 90% of traffic, but by 2010, this had fallen to just 80%, meaning that the number of passengers from outside of these top five markets had doubled from 10% to 20% in just seven years.

Traffic peaks in August; new record in 2011?

A look at monthly passenger figures since the beginning of 2008 shows a consistent seasonality profile with demand peaking in the key holiday months of July and August.

Source: AENA

Source: AENA

So far in 2011, passenger numbers are up 3% in January and 3.5% in February, suggesting that the airport may be on course to beat its previous annual record and may even exceed 10 million passengers for the first time, assuming that summer flights are not disrupted by industrial action either at the airport, or from air traffic control services.

Ryanair leads new route growth in 2010 and 2011

Despite modest growth of under 3% in 2010, the airport welcomed a host of new services, primarily from low-cost carriers, and in particular Ryanair as it continued to expand its presence at the airport.

Airline Destination (Service start date in 2010)
airberlin Zurich (5 November)
City Airline Gothenburg (30 March)
Norwegian Oslo Torp (6 November)
Ryanair Altenburg/Leipzig (31 March), Cork (1 June), Kerry (3 March), Krakow (30 March), Norrköping (2 May), Poznan (3 May), Seville (1 March), Stockholm Västerås (2 April), Valladolid (1 April), Växjö (1 April), Venice Treviso (2 March)
S7 Moscow Domodedovo (1 May)
Spanair Algiers (3 April)
Wizz Air Cluj Napoca (24 July)
Source: anna.aero new route database

So far for 2011, new services from the UK seem to be leading the way, with Jet2.com revealing plans to start low-frequency flights from four of its UK bases this summer, while Ryanair is adding new services from Humberside and Manchester.

Airline Destination
Icelandair Reykjavik (14 April)
Jet2.com Belfast International (27 June), East Midlands (12 May), Glasgow (31 March), Newcastle (1 April)
Norwegian Helsinki (14 May)
Ryanair Brno (16 April), Humberside (12 April), Kaunas (28 March), Magdeburg/Cochstedt (1 April), Manchester (13 April), Tampere (27 March)
Vueling Amsterdam (28 March)
Wizz Air Bucharest Baneasa (29 March)
Source: anna.aero new route database

Other LCCs adding services this summer include Norwegian, Vueling and Wizz Air, while Icelandair is the only non-LCC to be adding a new service, from Reykjavik.


Comments

  1. Gabriel says:

    Excellent summary. All indications are that this summer there will be a good response from the British tourism.

    Presentation of the new Terminal at Alicante airport (in English): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ0CM0D2wUU

    Especially for anna.aero team
    Regards,
    Gabriel

  2. Arthur Dent says:

    So Ryanair plans to “cancel” 31 routes this winter from ALC because of a dispute over the use of air bridges. However, by my reckoning only 10 of those 31 routes actually operated this winter anyway, as the rest are clearly seasonal routes. Another case of Ryanair’s spin doctors working overtime?

    Given anna.aero’s graph of passenger numbers by airline presumably the airport feels confident that any lost Ryanair demand can be regained from elsewhere. After all Ryanair seems to have predominantly taken market share off other airlines rather than grown the market overall.

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