Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and British Airways perform best in EU capitals connectedness analysis
The ‘capital’ of the European Union (EU) may be Brussels from a political perspective, but here at anna.aero we found ourselves wondering, which EU capital was the best connected to all the other EU capitals, in terms of non-stop flights. Since 1 July, when Croatia joined the EU, there have been 28 members. For each member state we have identified what we consider to be the major airport best serving the political capital of the country. Then, at each airport, we analysed how many of the other EU capital airports were served non-stop by any airline, and then how many of them were served non-stop by the country’s ‘flag-carrier’ airline.
Is Amsterdam the real capital of Europe for air travel?
No airport manages to be connected to all 27 other EU capital airports, with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol coming closest with 26, followed by Vienna with 25, and Brussels, Copenhagen and Paris CDG all tied on 24. Amsterdam failed to score the maximum because it currently lacks a service to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. In fact, since the demise of SkyEurope in 2009 (which did operate flights to Amsterdam), Bratislava has been poorly served with flights to the major capital city airports of the EU, and currently only has one, with Ryanair, to Dublin. Vienna missed out on two routes; Bratislava (which is only 50 kilometres away anyway) and Tallinn in Estonia. Brussels missed out on the full set by not having direct services to Bratislava, Larnaca and Luxembourg. In the case of Luxembourg, the two airports are less than 200 kilometres apart.
Apart from Slovakia, the least well-connected capitals were Ljubljana, Zagreb, Luxembourg and Tallinn, each of which has non-stop connections to the major capital city airports in less than 10 other EU member states.
British Airways is leading airline for EU connectedness
Although London Heathrow is connected non-stop to only 23 of the 27 other EU capitals, 21 of these are served by British Airways, a total that no other ‘flag-carrier’ can beat from their home airports. Poland’s LOT comes second with 19 capitals served from Warsaw, with Air France third with 18 from Paris CDG.
Two major European carriers ranking much lower than might be expected are Lufthansa (from Berlin Tegel) and Iberia (from Madrid). In Lufthansa’s case this may not be so much of a surprise as its two major hubs in Germany are at Frankfurt and Munich, and in Berlin the country’s second carrier airberlin has its biggest base. However, the fact that Iberia’s biggest base in Madrid serves just eight other European capital airports is genuinely surprising, especially as the airport has non-stop service to 20 EU capitals when all airlines are examined.
Norwegian fastest-growing airline between EU capitals
Comparing data for October 2013 with October 2012 reveals that airlines have started 44 new services between the EU’s major capital airports. This includes four new services from Air Lituanica, the recently launched, new flag-carrier for Lithuania. However, in terms of most new routes between EU major capital airports, the clear winner is Norwegian, with eight new services, followed by SAS with six, and Wizz Air with five.
The EU 28 and their main airports and airlines
For the sake of completeness here is the list of EU member countries, the airports we selected as the capital city main airport, and the country’s leading local airline for international services. It is worth noting that Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are not members of the EU.
|Country||Capital (Airport code)||National Airline (code)|
|Austria||Vienna (VIE)||Austrian Airlines (OS)|
|Belgium||Brussels (BRU)||Brussels Airlines (SN)|
|Bulgaria||Sofia (SOF)||Bulgaria Air (FB)|
|Croatia||Zagreb (ZAG)||Croatia Airlines (OU)|
|Cyprus||Larnaca (LCA)||Cyprus Airways (CY)|
|Czech Republic||Prague (PRG)||CSA Czech Airlines (OK)|
|Denmark||Copenhagen (CPH)||SAS (SK)|
|Estonia||Tallinn (TLL)||Estonian Air (OV)|
|Finland||Helsinki (HEL)||Finnair (AY)|
|France||Paris (CDG)||Air France (AF)|
|Germany||Berlin (TXL)||Lufthansa (LH)|
|Greece||Athens (ATH)||Aegean Airlines (A3)|
|Hungary||Budapest (BUD)||Wizz Air (W6)|
|Ireland||Dublin (DUB)||Aer Lingus (EI)|
|Italy||Rome (FCO)||Alitalia (AZ)|
|Latvia||Riga (RIX)||airBaltic (BT)|
|Lithuania||Vilnius (VNO)||Air Lituanica (LT)|
|Luxembourg||Luxembourg (LUX)||Luxair (LG)|
|Malta||Malta (MLA)||Air Malta (KM)|
|Netherlands||Amsterdam (AMS)||KLM (KL)|
|Poland||Warsaw (WAW)||LOT Polish Airlines (LO)|
|Portugal||Lisbon (LIS)||TAP Portugal (TP)|
|Romania||Bucharest (OTP)||TAROM (RO)|
|Slovenia||Ljubljana (LJU)||Adria Airways (JP)|
|Spain||Madrid (MAD)||Iberia (IB)|
|Sweden||Stockholm (ARN)||SAS (SK)|
|United Kingdom||London (LHR)||British Airways (BA)|