Analysis of the growth in domestic air travel for various EU countries so far in 2007 reveals that Italy and Norway are proving the most dynamic domestic markets, while Finland, Sweden and the UK are struggling to reach even last year’s levels.
A number of factors can explain some of these trends. In Sweden, the collapse of FlyMe in March took out some capacity, while in the UK the threat of strikes by staff at BA in January and the doubling of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax on 1 February will have made some passengers consider making alternative arrangements to flying. The demise of BA Connect (mostly absorbed by Flybe) towards the end of March will also have been a factor.
A closer look at the UK market shows that easyJet continues to be the biggest UK domestic airline in terms of passengers. Flybe’s acquisition of BA Connect will help push it closer to bmi and British Airways in the battle for second place. In terms of movements Flybe is already the most active UK domestic airline.
Among the smaller UK carriers the revamped BA operation at London City airport has resurrected the ‘CityFlyer’ brand name and immediately gained 1% of the UK market. If BA’s subsidiaries are added to the British Airways figure then BA gets much closer to easyJet’s market share.
Apart from the UK airlines which the CAA reports on there are several non-UK airlines which operate domestic flights in the UK. The most significant of these are Air Berlin (German), Ryanair (Irish) and VLM (Belgian). Air Berlin operates from London Stansted to Belfast City, Glasgow and Manchester facilitating connections to many German destinations through its Stansted hub. Ryanair flies several domestic routes the biggest of which is between its London Stansted and Glasgow Prestwick bases. VLM flies turboprops from London City airport to the Isle Of Man, Jersey and Manchester. Using the latest schedule data for July, Flybe is now the leading airline in terms of capacity in the UK domestic market.
|bmi British Midland||10.91%|
|Source: OAG Max Online for week commencing 16 July 2007|