|Contributing to the airport passenger fall: On the Madrid-Barcelona route, high speed rail now has more passengers than air services. Between July and September, the train service was used by 650,000 passengers, while there were 645,000 air travellers.|
In October, six of Spain’s top 15 airports reported year-on-year traffic growth, the most encouraging performance so far this year. Of course, it should be remembered that last October’s figures already reflected a significant downturn in demand. Spain’s biggest airport at Madrid Barajas led the way with growth of 3.3%, while Ibiza (+2.6%) and Girona (+1.6%) also reported improved passenger demand.
Looking at how demand for specific airlines compared between October 2009 and October 2008 reveals that Ryanair has seen passenger numbers passing through Spanish airports leap by over 44%. Among the top 15 airlines, only Air Europa (+0.6%), easyJet (+1.0%) and Lufthansa (+11.9%) have seen traffic growth. Demand on Iberia services is down almost 10% while the “new Vueling” is down 7% compared with a combined Vueling and clickair a year ago. The poor year-on-year performance of the UK and German charter/hybrid carriers is worth noting.
Barcelona – Madrid air market down 40%
The latest data from Aena indicates that the 20-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 2.9 million.
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 42% in eight of the ten months this year.