clickair at Barcelona: over 85% of flights are on former Iberia routes

Image: Clickair plane at Barcelona
In just 16 months clickair has grown to be the #1 carrier in Barcelona with a fleet of 18 A320s based at the airport. Over 85% of its flights are on routes that Iberia used to operate though it has started over a dozen new routes not previously operated by the flag carrier.

clickair likes to promote the fact that although it has taken over many former Iberia routes at Barcelona (BCN), it has also started many ‘original’ routes. A closer look at this summer’s schedules reveals that although around one-third of all destinations offered by clickair from Barcelona are indeed ‘new’ routes they tend to be served with relatively low frequency and therefore represent less than 15% of flights offered by the LCC in which Iberia has a 20% stake.

New routes have mixed success

Destinations operated this April from Barcelona by clickair that were not previously operated by Iberia include Athens, Bucharest, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Malta, Marrakech, Moscow Domodedovo, Naples, Palermo, Pisa, Prague, Verona and Warsaw. New routes to Edinburgh and Tunis which started last summer will re-start later in the summer on a seasonal basis.

Some routes that clickair ‘inherited’ from Iberia have failed to work even when operated by an LCC. Services to Geneva (an easyJet base) have been dropped, while Dublin (a Ryanair base) has been downgraded as a seasonal destination only. Routes to Basel (an easyJet base) and Marseille (a Ryanair base) were announced but never materialised while Jerez was started but has since been axed.
A few other international destinations, including Helsinki, Lyon, Nador and Tangiers were all tried last summer as ‘new’ routes but do not appear in this summer’s schedule.

70% load factor in only four of first 18 months

Based on traffic and movement data published by AENA, has estimated that since launching on 1 October 2006 clickair has achieved monthly average load factors (percentage of seats occupied) in Barcelona of 70% or better in just four of its first 18 months of operations. These were in its first month (when presumably there were many promotional fares to stimulate the market) and during the peak July to September period. In 2007 clickair carried 3.28 million passengers through Barcelona at an average load factor of around 64%.

Chart: Click Air in Barcelona
Source: Derived from AENA data

Monthly passenger numbers have grown rapidly such that in January 2008 clickair was already the leading carrier in Barcelona. The latest figures for March show that clickair has 17% of all traffic at Barcelona while Iberia’s ranking has tumbled to number four behind both Spanair and Vueling.

clickair has monopoly on only seven routes

Analysis of schedule data highlights just how competitive the market is in Barcelona. The table below shows how many competitors clickair faces on each of its current routes from BCN.

Number of competitors Route (Competition)
IB=Iberia, JK=Spanair, U2=easyJet, UX=Air Europa, VY=Vueling
4 Palma (AB, IB, JK, UX)
3 Amsterdam (KL, HV, VY), Ibiza (UX, JK, VY), Minorca (JK, VY, UX), Munich (DE, JK, LH), Seville (JK, UX, VY)
2 Brussels (SN, VY), Granada (JK, VY), Gran Canaria (JK, UX), Lisbon (TP, VY), Malaga (JK, VY), Milan MXP (U2, VY), Rome FCO (AZ, VY), Santiago de Compostela (JK, VY), Tenerife North (JK, UX), Venice (VY, 8I), Vienna (NE, OS), Zurich (JK, LX)
1 Alicante (JK), Asturias (JK), Athens (VY), Berlin Tegel (AB), Bilbao (JK), Bucharest OTP (RO), Casablanca (AT), Frankfurt (LH), La Coruna (JK), Marrakech (AT), Palermo (IV), Porto (TP), Prague (OK), Tel Aviv (LY), Vigo (JK), Warsaw (LO)
0 Budapest, Dubrovnik, Malta, Moscow DME, Naples, Pisa, Verona
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 7 April 2008

Out of 41 routes clickair has a monopoly on just seven and faces competition from four other airlines on the Palma route. The toughest international routes are Amsterdam and Munich where the carrier has to contend with three other carriers. A total of 14 routes are domestic but these generate around 60% of the airline’s capacity at the airport with Palma and Seville each served five times daily, and Bilbao and Malaga each served four times daily.


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