Ponta Delgada traffic jumps 55% since 2014; Ryanair to add fourth route to Frankfurt Hahn for S17; easyJet and Ryanair impact shows

In December Tim Howe Schröder, Head of Corporate Sales & Senior Marketing Manager, Ryanair, and Frankfurt Hahn Airport MD, Markus Bunk, presented the German airport’s S17 expansion which included a new route to Ponta Delgada. With the announcement, it means that the airline will be serving four routes from Ponta Delgada this summer and marks the carrier’s first new route from the airport since 2015 when it inaugurated services from London Stansted on 4 April, with the first flight from the UK capital being greeted with a night time water arch salute.

Ponta Delgada is the largest municipality and the administrative capital of the Azores, an archipelago of nine volcanic islands sitting some 1,400 kilometres to the west of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of over 68,000, the city is served by Ponta Delgada Azores Airport, otherwise known as João Paulo II Airport, which last year welcomed 1.52 million passengers. 

50% growth in five consecutive months

In 2016, Ponta Delgada welcomed 1.52 million passengers, up nearly 20% when compared to the 1.27 million that passed through the airport in the previous year. In 2015, traffic grew by close to 30%, with 2014 seeing just under 0.98 million passengers. The result means that in the space of two years, traffic at Ponta Delgada Airport has risen by nearly 55%.  

Source: anna.aero’s European Airport Traffic Database.

Over the past two years, Ponta Delgada has registered five consecutive months of growth where traffic increased by +50% (highlighted in light green). The five-month period during W15/16 welcomed 163,272 more passengers than in the same period of W14/15, which represents an increase in throughput for the five months of 56%. One of the key factors helping Ponta Delgada register such a strong increase in traffic is due to the W15/16 season being the first winter which witnessed easyJet and Ryanair operations. 

Ryanair and easyJet impact shows 

When placing Ponta Delgada’s 2016 passenger statistics into anna.aero’s Seasonal Variation in Demand calculator (SVID), it registers a score of 8.09 – a “Good” rating. Using the airport’s 2015 passenger statistics, it gained a score that year of 13.97 – a “Poor” rating. What this means is that easyJet’s and Ryanair’s expansion from Ponta Delgada has not only increased the annual throughput at the airport, it has allowed for the airport’s year-round operation to become more sustainable.  

Ryanair and easyJet, which both entered the Ponta Delgada market in 2015, now command over 25% of capacity from the Azores airport between them, with Ryanair holding 21% of capacity and easyJet 4.2% respectively. Ryanair started serving Ponta Delgada on 1 April 2015 with a twice-daily daily service from Lisbon and a six times weekly link from Porto. It then started a weekly (Saturdays) link to London Stansted three days later. easyJet commenced flights from Lisbon to Ponta Delgada on 29 March 2015, a route which it started at a three times weekly frequency. It now serves the route four times weekly. 

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data.

In April Ryanair will add a fourth route to Ponta Delgada – from Frankfurt Hahn – the Azores airport’s third connection to Germany after Frankfurt (Azores Airlines) and Düsseldorf (airberlin). This summer Ponta Delgada will see direct flights to 25 destinations, of which four are in North America. In S17 there will be 226 weekly flights from Ponta Delgada, of which 58 (26% of weekly departures) are to Lisbon, the airport’s number one route which occupies 38% of weekly departing seat capacity. The link to the Portuguese capital is served by four carriers, with Azores Airlines being the leading seat provider with 38% of weekly seats. It is followed by TAP Portugal which has 30%, Ryanair 25%, and easyJet 6.4%. Following Lisbon, the second largest route from Ponta Delgada is the intra-Azores link to Terceira (12% of weekly departing seats), with third spot being taken by flights to Porto (9.1%).

Barcelona to join route map

As well as Frankfurt Hahn joining Ponta Delgada’s route map, Barcelona and Praia in Cape Verde will also be added to the airport’s network this summer. Both operated by Azores Airlines, flights to Barcelona will begin on 29 March, with services to Praia being added from 2 June. Both routes are scheduled to be flown twice-weekly on the airline’s A320s when referring to OAG schedules. 

Ponta Delgada Airport summer 2017 route map

Ponta Delgada Airport in S17 will be connected to 25 destinations, of which four are in North America. The airport’s number one route is to Lisbon, a sector which occupies 38% of weekly departing seats and 26% of weekly departures. One new route for the airport this summer is Frankfurt Hahn, a route which will be served by Ryanair.


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