Introducing the Euro annies – proper awards based on science, statistics and evidence

See the airline and airport reaction to these prizes – and great photos.

Here at, we have decided that it is about time we made some awards based on science, statistics and evidence rather than merely opinions (and votes). So this week, we introduce the Euro annies, which use a mix of published traffic statistics and schedule data to come up with a more transparent way of rewarding airlines and airports that have achieved notable route and traffic-related success during the last year.

Six airport awards for traffic success; plus four ‘schedule’ awards

For airports, we have six awards based on successes in total passenger traffic data for 2009 (compared with 2008) plus another four awards based on OAG schedule data for August 2010 (three of which require comparison with August 2009 to determine the winner).

Three airline awards for new routes

The three airline awards are also based on a comparison of schedule data for August 2010 and August 2009. When determining the number of ‘new’ routes (or airlines), we have decided to look at net gains (and losses) so as to also take into account routes (or airlines) that have been lost for whatever reason during the period analysed. When determining whether a route or airline was included in the data, a minimum requirement was set that the route had to be operated at least weekly (so four times per month) during the peak August month.

These results are based on airlines operating scheduled flights and thus submitting their data to OAG. Increasingly, so-called charter carriers are now selling on a seat-only basis and thus providing their route data for analysis.

We hope you find these results interesting and informative, and we congratulate all the winners on their achievements during what has been an extremely challenging period for the industry in Europe. We will continue to bring you news and analysis on all the latest route developments from across the globe with our new route database currently registering over 650 new routes starting between the beginning of May and the end of July.

Cake of the Week: a clarification

Meanwhile, we are happy to make clear that’s other fiercely competitive trophy – ‘Cake of the Week’ – is not based on any objective criteria whatsoever, but is selected each week by a higher force purely on the basis of Divine Providence.

Airport with the most new carriers
Belgrade Nikola Tesla

Serbia’s Belgrade Nikola Tesla attracts most new carriers during last 12 months; Marseille takes runner-up prize

So many new carriers! Niki Lauda took the controls to personally land in Belgrade for the start of Niki’s twice daily Vienna services on 1 February. In April, the transformed Spanair began its much-anticipated new flights from Barcelona, but the most historical moment goes to Adria Airways’ resumption of Ljubljana-Belgrade services – the first time Adria has been back since the break-up of Yugoslavia began in 1991.

Congratulations to Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport for winning arguably the most prestigious Euro Annie award for the airport that has attracted the most new airlines during the 12 month period analysed (August 2010 v August 2009). Despite losing Olympic’s service to Athens, the airport attracted 10 ‘new’ carriers, at least compared with the previous year, making a net gain of nine carriers. The interest in the Serbian market and its largest airport can be presumed to be linked to the fact that Serbian nationals no longer need visas to travel to the Schengen Area, which is formed of the majority of European states.

Airline Route (Weekly frequency)
Cimber Sterling Copenhagen (2)
airBaltic Riga (4)
Spanair Barcelona (3), Madrid (2)
Tarom Bucharest Otopeni (5)
niki Vienna (6)
B&H Airlines Sarajevo (6)
Adria Airways Ljubljana (6)
Malev Budapest (7)
Aegean Athens (7)
Wizz Air Dortmund (3), London Luton (3)
Source: OAG Max Online for August 2010

Runner-up: Marseille

Runner-up: Marseilles – Spanair’s Barcelona expansion provided more variety to Marseille with the launch in April of four weekly services in competition with Iberia’s franchisee Air Nostrum.

Runner-up was Marseille Provence airport, which gained nine new carriers but lost two, making a net gain of seven. Marseille’s new carriers (according to OAG definition of scheduled airlines) included ‘charter’ carriers Corendon, Corsair and XL Airways France, as well as new African routes from Air Burkina and Air Mali, plus European routes from baboo, Chalair, Pegasus and Spanair.

Airport with the most new routes
Rome Fiumicino

Rome’s Fiumicino takes new route award thanks to a wide range of carriers and city’s timeless appeal; Ryanair helps Malaga to second

Rome’s “Most New Routes” - United arrived from Chicago on 1 May in competition with American Airlines and Alitalia, meaning all three major alliances are represented on the route. China Airlines’ Taipei-Rome service now makes a stop in Delhi, providing both Taiwan and Italy with access to India. Jamaica became a heart-warming present over Christmas, as Brian Hammond from Jamaica Tourist Board, Remo Della Porta, VP commercial Blue Panorama Airlines and Raffaele Pasquini, head of airport marketing development Aeroporti di Roma, cut the ribbon for the first passengers to board the flight.

Runner-up: Malaga

Runner Up: Malaga – the King arrives in Malaga to announce the launch of Ryanair’s 38th base, set to begin operations in June, while in March, Juan Carlos opened the amazingly large Malaga Terminal 3, which more than doubles the airport’s capacity.

Given the huge number of new routes that Ryanair has started, it might reasonably be expected that one of Ryanair’s bases would win the Euro Annies award for airport with the biggest net gain in routes. Indeed, close runners-up Malaga and Oslo Rygge are bases for the Irish LCC, but the outright winner with a net gain of 24 new routes (32 new routes but eight lost routes) was Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Malaga gained 24 but lost one (to Aberdeen with now defunct Flyglobespan) for a net gain of 23, while Oslo Rygge lost three Norwegian routes (to Budapest, Palanga and Prague) but gained 25 thanks to Ryanair launching 23 routes from the airport and Norwegian adding Dalaman and non-stop flights to Trondheim.

Alitalia only responsible for one new Rome route

Surprisingly, the Italian flag carrier’s only new route this summer from Rome is to Los Angeles, which it has resumed after an absence of over one year. Other carriers starting new routes include local carriers Air Alps, Air Italy, Blue Panorama/Blu-Express, Meridiana and Wind Jet. Foreign carriers adding new destinations to Rome’s network include airBaltic (Vilnius), airberlin (Nuremberg), Air Transat (Vancouver), China Airlines (Delhi en-route to Taipei), City Airline (Gothenburg), Croatia Airlines (Zagreb), easyJet (Basel), germanwings (Hannover), Norwegian (Bergen), Royal Air Maroc (Agadir) and US Airways (Charlotte).

Airport with the most airlines
Paris CDG

Paris CDG just beats Frankfurt as top airport for airline spotters; Rome third, while Europe’s busiest airport (Heathrow) ranks just fourth

Sigapore Airlines at Paris CDG

Big cheese – SIA lines up alongside the 110 other airlines that mainly use Terminal 1 - affectionately known as “Le Camembert.”

Depite being perceived as a ‘fortress’ hub for Air France (who do account for 55% of the airport’s seat capacity), Paris CDG will be popular with airline spotters as, according to our analysis of the data, the airport will this August welcome 111 airlines operating scheduled services. That is four more than at Frankfurt and eight more than at Rome Fiumicino.

Europe’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, will see 88 airlines using its two runways in August (with the new Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government confirming today that it has scrapped plans for the hugely necessary third runway), while Milan Malpensa (85) manages to oust Amsterdam Schiphol (82) for fifth place. Rounding out the top 10 of this ranking are Barcelona, Munich, Athens and Madrid.

Runner-up: Frankfurt

Runner-up Frankfurt was only four airlines behind Paris CDG, helped by Oman Air’s new Muscat service.

Airport with the most new non-European routes
Brussels Airport

Brussels Airlines and Jetairfly help Brussels expand non-European network thanks to growing African network

The recent launch of United’s Chicago-Brussels service isn’t actually one of the new non-European routes - American Airlines already operates the service – all the most exciting new routes start later this summer. But United’s ORD inauguration did feature cakes and Belgian chocolates –and that’s good enough for

Brussels Airport wins the Euro Annie for the airport which has seen the biggest net gain in non-European routes, scoring a total of nine. The airport can thank local airline Brussels Airlines (now owned by Lufthansa) and Jetairfly (the local subsidiary of TUI) for this award. The airport will see a net gain of nine new non-European routes with the launch of 10 new non-stop destinations, but the loss of Kinshasa. Local carriers account for eight of the 10 new routes, with Hainan Airlines (Shanghai) and Royal Air Maroc generating the remaining two new non-European routes.

New destination Country Carrier Weekly frequency
Accra (ACC) Ghana Brussels Airlines 2
Al Hoceima (AHU) Morocco Royal Air Maroc 3
Cancun (CUN) Mexico Jetairfly 1
Cotonou (COO) Benin Brussels Airlines 1
Enfidha (NBE) Tunisia Jetairfly 8
Lome (LFW) Togo Brussels Airlines 1
Ouagadougou (OUA) Burkina Faso Brussels Airlines 2
Shanghai (PVG) China Hainan Airlines 3
Sharm El-Sheikh (SSH) Egypt Jetairfly 3
Zanzibar (ZNZ) Tanzania Jetairfly 1
Source: OAG Max Online for August 2010

Runners-up: Rome Fiumicino & Munich

Runner-up: Munich. Privatair’s April launch to Riyadh followed Continental making use of its new Star Alliance membership to launch flights from Newark into the Lufthansa hub in March – the same month that fellow Star member Singapore Airlines began a five-weekly schedule which continues on to Manchester.

Rome Fiumicino and Munich tied for the runners-up position with a net gain of six new non-European routes. Rome gained nine but lost three while Munich gained eight but lost two. Rome’s top two new non-European routes (in terms of weekly frequency) were both to the US, with US Airways starting a daily Charlotte service and Alitalia resuming flights to Los Angeles. For Munich the highest frequency new non-European route is to Muscat with Oman Air, which will have four weekly flights. Miami, Riyadh and Tashkent are all new destinations and will all be served three times weekly by Lufthansa.

Airport Traffic Growth Awards
Six winners in different categories

Istanbul’s two airports take top two awards; Ryanair’s on-going expansion fuels victory for airports in categories below 5m pax

Spanair at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen

Spanair benefits yet another airport – this time Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen on 4 May – Spanair will be closely followed by Vueling which also begins Barcelona services on 24 June.

Istanbul’s two airports achieved a notable double in these awards which are based on total traffic in 2009 compared with 2008. Among airports with more than 10 million annual passengers Istanbul’s Ataturk airport was in fact the only airport to report growth in 2009 with passenger numbers up 4.2%. Runner-up Zurich actually saw its traffic decline although by less than 1%. Athens, Geneva and London Heathrow all saw passenger volumes fall by 1.5% last year.

2009 Passengers Winner Runner-up
50,000 – 1 million Memmingen (FMM) Bacau (BCM)
1m – 2m Trapani (TPS) Reus (REU)
2m – 3m Weeze (NRN) Bari (BRI)
3m – 5m Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Cagliari (CAG)
5m – 10m Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) Izmir (ADB)
>10 million Istanbul Ataturk (IST) Zurich (ZRH)
Source: Derived from airport traffic trends database covering over 250 airports across Europe.

Istanbul’s second airport (Sabiha Gökçen) was a runaway winner in the 5-10 million passenger category with traffic up almost 48% to 6.3 million. Another Turkish airport at Izmir took the runner-up prize in this category thanks to an increase of 14% in its passenger numbers.

Ryanair bases dominate in 1-5 million airport categories

Ryanair at Rygge

It’s not surprising that Ryanair traffic dominated the growth of airports in the 1-5 million category. Memmingen brewery’s ice beer and Ehrmann yoghurt welcomed the first passengers from Oslo Rygge to Allgäu-Memmingen (Munich West to Ryanair) in March, a service with a reported load factor of 98%.

In the three categories between one and five million passengers Ryanair bases swept the board claiming the top prize and the runner-up spot. The six award-winning bases consist of three in Italy, one in Belgium, one in Germany and one in Spain, proving once and for all just how pan-European the airline’s network now is.

In the sub one million passenger category the winner is Allgäu-Memmingen (or Munich West as it is referred to by Ryanair) which saw traffic grow 76% to 812,000 passengers thanks to several new Ryanair routes. Runner-up in this category was Bacau Airport in Romania which saw a 68% surge in passenger numbers to just under 200,000 thanks to the addition of new low-cost services operated by local carrier Blue Air to Bologna, London Luton, Milan Bergamo, Sibiu and Valencia.

Airline with the most new routes

Despite dropping over 100 routes Ryanair’s network grows by over 200 thanks to more than 300 new route launches

Ace of base: The Faro base launch in March followed on from Porto last September and included an unusually warm welcome from a serving prime minister – most European leaders love to hate Ryanair more than the Axis of Evil, but Michael O’Leary’s high profile campaigning for an Irish “yes” vote for the Lisbon Treaty won him some temporary political friends. There were more smiles for the launch of the Leeds/Bradford base at the end of March, and, little surprise, the same month when a leprechaun opened the Oslo Rygge base.

It is likely to have been several years since anyone other than Ryanair won this award and it is hard to see any other airline winning this award for at least several more. Although Ryanair’s traffic growth may slow down in the coming years, the number of new routes starting each year is likely to remain high as the airline’s average weekly frequency per route continues to fall. Ryanair wins this award despite having dropped over 100 routes between August 2009 and August 2010. However, by starting some 334, the net gain is still well over 200.

Based purely on data analysis, the next two carriers in this category were Thomas Cook Airlines (178 new routes) and airberlin (122 new routes). However, Thomas Cook Airlines is the new name for the airline that was formed in 2008 by the merger of Thomas Cook and MyTravel. It would appear that the airline has decided to consider all of its flights as scheduled services, whereas previously many were pure charter services and therefore not listed in OAG. airberlin’s rapid network growth can be attributed to the airline taking over many former routes. Therefore we have decided to award the runners-up award to easyJet, which despite dropping 24 routes (including 10 from its now abandoned East Midlands base), started 104 new routes for a net gain of 80.

At the other end of the rankings, the biggest falls in the number of routes belongs to (127 routes) followed by SkyEurope (55 routes) and MyAir (49 routes), both of whom went under in the second half of 2009.

Runner-up: easyJet

easyJet at Milan Malpensa

easyJet – a predictable runner up for this award perhaps, but the actual winner of Cake of the Week for Milan Malpensa-Malta in March for this fantastic replica of Milan Cathedral.

Flag-carrier with the most new routes

airBaltic flourishes with new hub-and-spoke strategy; just beats Turkish Airlines as most route-hungry legacy carrier in Europe

airBaltic Riga-Lappeenranta

airBaltic has also won Cake of the Week more times than anyone else – in truth, largely because of the talents of Riga International’s talented bakers. This Moomin cake, for Riga-Lappeenranta last November, is also the personal all-time favourite of assistant editor, Andreas Akerman.

This was a much closer contest, with Latvia’s airBaltic edging out Turkish Airlines by 27 routes to 25. Riga-based airBaltic actually started 31 new routes but dropped four for a net gain of 27, while Turkish Airlines also started 31 new routes but dropped six for a net gain of 25. Fourteen of Turkish Airlines’ new routes were from Istanbul’s fast-growing Sabiha Gökçen airport, while 13 of airBaltic’s new routes were from its Riga base, with a further seven from its secondary base in Vilnius in neighbouring Lithuania.

Alitalia came third in this category with a net gain of 15 routes. Among Europe’s biggest legacy carriers, Lufthansa had a net gain of just six routes (it added 28 but dropped 22), British Airways had a net loss of one route (it added nine but dropped 10), while Air France had net gain of five routes (16 added and 11 dropped).

Runner-up: Turkish Airlines

Runner-up: Turkish Airlines – Turkey and its air transport industry’s apparent gravity-defying response to recession is justly acknowledged here – in this instance by the national carrier’s arrival in Bologna, making it the 4th Italian destination to receive a link with Istanbul. Turkish Airlines’ chairman, Hamdi Topçu, often travels on inaugural routes and made no exception for the start of the daily services from Istanbul Atatürk on 1 March.

Biggest “new” airline

Russian low-cost newcomer beats returning Indonesian flag-carrier

Avianova moves its Moscow base

At the beginning of the summer season, the Russian low-cost carrier Avianova moved its Moscow base airport from Vnukovo to Sheremetyevo. The fast-expanding domestic airline will soon see the establishment of its second base in St Petersburg ( hopes to be there to see this, if our visas arrive in time).

Congratulations to Russia’s latest low-cost carrier Avianova, which began operations right at the end of last August (but did not appear in last August’s OAG data) from its original base at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. Earlier this year, it shifted its base to Moscow Sheremetyevo airport. The airline operates a fleet of six A320s and now operates to 16 airports across Russia.

We almost awarded the runners-up prize in this category to Ándalus Líneas Aéreas, the Spanish regional airline which operates ERJ 145s on domestic and some international routes. However, although its schedule data did not appear in OAG until after last August and therefore technically could be considered, the airline actually began operating back in February 2009 and so should not really be eligible for this award. If Austrian start-up Mapjet had started operations as planned last week, it might have got the runners-up slot, but sadly the airline abandoned its plans at the last moment.

Runner-up: Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia

In the end, after eliminating airlines that have been around for a couple of years and have either been operating as pure charters or just not reporting their schedules, we have decided to award the runner-up prize to Garuda Indonesia, which will return to European airspace on 1 June with a daily one-stop service from Jakarta to Amsterdam (via Dubai).


  1. RIX says:

    The chokepoint of Riga International airport and all the airlines at RIX is the realy worse transfer/codesharing services. As a result you will get ridiculous the same day price offers from the same airlines from different internet travel engines like,,,,, etc. with price range 600-1400US$ for example RIX to NYC flight. By improving alone of this service Riga International would reach 5 million pax 2010 1 million more passengers than 2009.

Comments are closed