Airbus helps push Toulouse Airport over 6 million milestone in 2007

Image: Toulouse Airport & TourismIn aviation circles Toulouse is probably best known as the home of Airbus’ corporate headquarters and major production facility (including the A380), but the neighbouring airport is the sixth busiest in France and in 2007 passenger numbers exceeded six million for the first time. It was also the year in which the airport became a privately-managed company after more than 50 years under the management of Toulouse Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chart: Toulouse airport traffic 2000-2007
Image: Toulouse Airport
Now privately-managed and welcoming its six millionenth passenger.

Though traffic was flat between 2000 and 2003, passenger numbers have risen by 16% during the last four years. Traffic to the two main Paris airports accounted for almost exactly half of all passengers in 2007 while domestic traffic as a whole represents around 65% of the airport’s traffic.

While traffic overall was up 3.5% domestic traffic increased by just 0.5% with Paris traffic down marginally. Passengers on international flights to EU member states increased by 9%, with German traffic up 12%, Dutch traffic up 10% and Spanish traffic up an impressive 52% thanks to easyJet launching a new daily service to Madrid to compete with Air France and Iberia.

Chart: Top 12 routes at TLS
Source: Toulouse Airport

Traffic to the UK, the largest international market, was down nearly 1%. Munich’s growth was helped by Lufthansa adding a fifth daily flight while Bristol’s demand growth was fuelled by it being the first full year of easyJet’s service which had begun in July 2006. The appearance of both Bristol and Hamburg in this list can be attributed to their Airbus manufacturing plants.

Image: Airbus toulouse - The big employer
The big employer: Services from Toulouse to Bristol and Hamburg can be attributed to their Airbus manufacturing plants.

Traffic peaks in June

Demand is relatively consistent all year round with a peak in June followed by a relative slump in August as business demand declines while the French take their annual holidays.

Chart: Toulouse airport seasonality
Source: Toulouse Airport

The peak to off-peak ratio (June versus February) is quite low at just 1.3 in 2006 and 2007. Traffic this February was up 4.6% though it should be remembered that this year there was an extra day in the month.

easyJet second after Air France

Air France has over 60% of airline traffic at the airport thanks to its virtual monopoly of the French domestic market.

Airline Passengers 2007 Market share
Air France 3,541,829 62.76%
easyJet 671,623 11.90%
Lufthansa 305,679 5.42%
British Airways 194,957 3.45%
KLM 162,043 2.87%
Source: Toulouse Airport

easyJet achieves its second place ranking thanks to its four flights per day to Paris Orly, double-daily service to London Gatwick, and its daily services to Bristol and Madrid. Double-daily flights to Lyon begin in May which should take easyJet’s share of the passenger market closer to 15% in 2008.

Logo: Jet2.comAnother UK LCC,, began operating to Toulouse for the first time in 2007 from its bases in Belfast, Leeds/Bradford and Manchester. For this summer the Manchester connection appears to have been axed but a new twice-weekly service to Edinburgh begins on 24 May.

Other low-cost services are limited to Aer Lingus (summer-only flights to Dublin), Atlas Blue (year-round flights to Marrakech), Flybe (summer-only weekly flights to Birmingham) and Germanwings (to Hamburg). In total LCCs carried 840,729 passengers in 2007 (or 13.7% of all traffic) an increase of 16.6% over 2006.

Ryanair currently does not serve Toulouse, preferring to offer flights from Carcassonne which is around 90 kilometres away, and which it serves from Brussels Charleroi, Cork, Dublin, East Midlands, Liverpool, London Stansted and Shannon.


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