AENA airport traffic down just 5% in Q3; Madrid reports growth in September

Image: Alex Cruz, Vueling
Alex Cruz, the boss of Vueling, now Europe’s third-largest low cost carrier, can tell you all about the possibilities for new routes and services at the 2nd Joint EUROPE Network Planners Marketplace in Barcelona 23-25 November.

After a poor winter Spain’s airports performed rather better during the peak summer months with passenger numbers down around 5% in July, August and September. A few mainland airports such as Alicante and Girona reported growth during each of these months while Madrid reported a small increase in passenger numbers in September. Valencia is still suffering from the removal of some (but by no means all) of Ryanair’s services.

For the first nine months as a whole none of the top 15 airports have reported growth. Ibiza has performed best with passenger numbers down just over 2%. Madrid (down 7.5%) has down better than Barcelona (-12.5%), thanks in part to the developing presence of easyJet and Ryanair at Barajas airport.

Among smaller Spanish airports only one is reporting significant growth, Reus. Thanks to a raft of new Ryanair services passenger numbers at Reus are up 38.5% to almost 1.5 million. The only other airports reporting year-to-date growth are Santander (+15.7%) and Santiago de Compostela (+1.0%).

Chart: Demand at top Spanish mainland airports
Source: AENA
Chart: Top 15 Spanish Airports
Source: AENA

Barcelona – Madrid air market down 40%

The latest data from AENA indicates that the 18-month-old high-speed rail (HSR) service between Madrid and Barcelona has reduced air travel demand between the two cities by around 40%. In 2007 the route carried almost five million passengers. Last year the figure fell to 3.66 million after services began in March and this year the figure will be around three million.

Chart: Madrid - Barcelona air passengers
Source: AENA

Although monthly year-on-year figures have improved in recent months this is because the service has now been in operation for over a year. If 2009 monthly air traffic figures are compared with 2007 then the results are far more stable. Air passenger demand is down between 39% and 41% in seven of the nine months this year.


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