Milan Malpensa now easyJet’s second busiest base; Ryanair’s Bergamo base is similar size

Big orange’s big, brash base… …but Ryanair is bigger in Bergamo

Despite only starting services to the airport as recently as September 2005 (from Berlin Schönefeld), easyJet’s base at Milan Malpensa has grown rapidly to become the airline’s second busiest after London Gatwick. The airport officially became a base in March 2006 when easyJet started basing aircraft and crews at the airport. The opportunity to grow rapidly at the airport has been helped by Alitalia’s well-reported troubles and decision to focus on a single hub strategy at Rome Fiumicino rather than also having a proper hub at Milan Malpensa.

Chart: Top 12 busiest easyJet airports - Weekly departures
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 9 November 2009

Although Milan Malpensa is clearly easyJet’s second busiest airport, if we combine operations at Paris CDG and Paris Orly then Paris remains easyJet’s second busiest city of operation after London (whose three major airports other than Heathrow rank first, third and fourth).

Healthy Milan competition with Ryanair at Bergamo

While easyJet has established a major presence at Milan Malpensa, its low-cost rival Ryanair is firmly entrenched at Milan Bergamo airport, which has been a base for the airline since February 2003. With its greater emphasis on business traffic and serving major airports, easyJet’s average route frequency is higher than Ryanair’s. As a result, although it operates a similar number of flights, it serves significantly fewer destinations.

Chart: easyJet and Ryanair bases in Milan - Routes and weekly deparures by season
Source: LCC history database

This winter marks the first time that both airlines have reduced the number of destinations served. Despite this, easyJet is still serving 28 destinations with 353 weekly departures which translates to an average of 12.6 weekly departures per route. Nineteen routes are served at least daily with six of the top 13 routes being domestic destinations.

Chart: easyJet’s top 13 routes from MXP - Weekly departures
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 9 November 2009

Lufthansa is closest rival, not Alitalia

Image: easyJet dominant carrier at Malpensa
easyJet (represented here by its CEO Andy Harrison; left) is the dominant carrier at Malpensa, ahead of runner-up Lufthansa. gathers that this has added colour to life in Milan, with evidence to be seen here at Milan Fashion Week (right), attended by Gwyneth Paltrow (middle).

Thanks to the creation of its new local subsidiary Lufthansa Italia, the German carrier is now easyJet’s closest competitor at the airport, flying to 15 destinations all across Europe including three domestic routes. The revamped Alitalia has just 10% of scheduled seat capacity at the airport and operates less than one in every ten flights.

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Number of routes
(Domestic / International)
easyJet 22.3% 24.6% 28 (9/19)
Lufthansa 18.9% 15.1% 15 (3/12)
Alitalia/Air One 8.8% 10.0% 18 (5/13)
Air France 4.2% 3.3% 4 (0/4)
airberlin 2.0% 2.1% 3 (0/3)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 9 November 2009

On nine of easyJet’s 28 routes it faces direct competition from two other carriers (to Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Lisbon, Madrid, Marrakech, Naples, Paris CDG and Rome Fiumicino), while on eight further routes passengers can potentially choose one other carrier. On the remaining 11 routes easyJet faces no direct competition (same airport) though it does face indirect competition (same city, different airport) on routes to Berlin and London.

The only route ever to have been dropped by easyJet from the airport appears to be Dortmund. This winter’s reduction in destinations is merely down to the number of seasonal routes operated by the airline this summer.


  1. David says:

    Is the rumour true about easyJet planning to start a double daily from Malpensa to Frankfurt-am-Main route in competition with Lufthansa? replies: It’s certainly true that Fraport seems to have become rather keener to attract LCCs than it has in the past. After all with approval for a new runway it will need to find new customers and routes. However, we have no insight into specific route plans, and even if we did, we couldn’t possibly comment …

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