Vueling’s rapid growth continues; SkyEurope’s load factors – “unexpected star”

After the traditionally difficult month of January Europe’s major LCCs are typically achieving load factors of between 75% and 85% so far this year. The unexpected star has been SkyEurope, the only LCC to better 85% in any month so far this year (in February and March). easyJet, Germanwings and Ryanair are also consistently over 80%. Air Berlin, having absorbed dba’s domestic network is struggling to get back to 80% load factors.

Chart: European LCC Monthly Load Factors 2007

Growth rates amongst the LCCs vary between the cautious (around 10% per annum for Air Berlin, easyJet, Germanwings, bmibaby) and the extreme. Vueling’s rapid growth is currently around 70%, a factor which helps explain their relatively poor load factors.

Chart: European LCC Passenger growth 2006 v 2007

Ryanair’s growth has shown signs of slowing in recent months and has fallen to under 20% for the first time in quite some time.’s surge can be attributed to growth at all of its UK bases. Major growth has occurred at its smaller bases at Newcastle, Belfast, Blackpool and Edinburgh, though main bases at Leeds/Bradford and Manchester will also witness additional services this summer.

Note: Several LCCs do not publicly report traffic figures. If anyone knows how we can track down figures for Click Air, Wizz Air and Sterling please tell us.


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