Biarritz: Beating the French market for growth

The crew sporting these bright Basque berets

Volotea’s recently launched Biarritz to Strasbourg route, was inaugurated on 3 June, with the crew sporting these bright Basque berets. The twice-weekly 717 operated service, replaces a weekly service flown by Regional (now part of HOP!) last summer.

Having processed just less than 300,000 passengers in the first four months of 2013, a 3% increase over the same period in 2012, Biarritz Anglet Bayonne Airport, serving the Atlantic coast resort less than 20 kilometres from the border with Spain, is outperforming the total French market (according to data taken from anna.aero’s European Airport Traffic Trends database) so far this year. The 21 airports included in the French market data, have only delivered marginal growth of less than 0.5% in that time.

Biarritz Airport 2003-2012 Annual passengers (millions) and year-on-year growth

Source: Association of French Airports

Biarritz has just published its May traffic data on its website, and this data reveals a further strengthening of the airport’s growth, posting a 6% year-on-year increase for the month, which has also extended its year-to-date growth up to 4%. In 2012, the split of southwest French airport’s traffic between domestic and international traffic was 92% and 8% respectively.

60% of seats to Paris

With Air France offering 40 weekly flights to Paris Orly and easyJet flying near twice daily operations to Paris CDG, it is perhaps no surprise that connections to the capital commands nearly 60% of weekly capacity at Biarritz. Despite the  significance of flights to Paris for the airport, capacity has been reduced (June 24-30 2013 vs the same week in 2012) by 7.5% overall. Many of the top 12 routes show no annual changes in capacity, although seats to Lyon (-4.6%) and Marseille (-9.7%) are down, with increases registered on Lille (+63%) and Strasbourg (+230%). Overall, weekly seats are down 6% but weekly frequencies are only down by less at just below 2%.

Biarritz Airport - top 12 routes Weekly capacity

Source: Innovata Diio Mi June 24-30 2013

Last summer, Ryanair added twice weekly services to Biarritz from Manchester, Regional (now part of HOP!) inaugurated weekly ERJ-170 flights from Strasbourg, while Volotea launched twice weekly operations to both Nantes and Lille. However, only the latter route is on-sale again this June. This summer, Volotea added Strasbourg to its Biarritz route portfolio on 3 June, and SAS is starting a twice weekly A319 service to Copenhagen on 28 June.

Biarritz – a “good” airport

Entering Biarritz’s monthly passenger data for 2012 into anna.aero’s Seasonal Variation in Demand (SVID) calculator, the airport performs well, generating a score of 8.67, giving it a “good” rating. Given the fact that Biarritz is a holiday resort airport, its 2012 creditable score compares favourably to other nearby French airports, although being marginally worse than French Connect hosts Bordeaux (2.49), and region’s largest airport Toulouse, which posted an “excellent” result of 1.40.

SVID Calculator - Biarritz Airport  Seasonal Variation in Demand factor

Source: anna.aero European Airport Traffic Trends database

Analysing Biarritz’s domestic and international traffic “peakiness” reveals a significant variance between the two when referring to 2012 data. While the airport processed 62% more domestic passengers in the peak month of July versus its lowest month of January, in terms of international traffic, Biarritz handled 15 times more international traffic in August last year, than it did in February 2012.


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