Menorca Airport plots a recovery path towards 3m annual passengers; Vueling bigger than easyJet and Ryanair combined

Menorca jet2

Launched on 21 May last year, Jet2.com added Menorca to its operations from Blackpool in the UK. Although the route is no longer operating due to the closure of the north-west England airport last year (it plans to open again on 1 April with limited Citywing services to Isle of Man and Belfast), the UK remains the most important market for Menorca, bigger even than the domestic market, in terms of the number of destinations offered during the summer months.

Menorca Airport, also known as Mahón Airport, is the Balearic Islands’ third busiest airport, behind Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza. Looking at OAG Schedules Analyser data for week commencing 3 August 2015, the airport will have a network of over 60 destinations served by 24 airlines in the peak this summer. These destinations are spread across Europe, led by the FIGUS countries ‒ UK (19), Spain (14) Germany (10), Italy (5) and France (3).

Chart - Menorca Airport 2005-2014 Annual passengers (millions) and year-on-year growth

Source: Aena.

The airport is clearly on a recovery trajectory following the two years of consecutive traffic decline in 2008 and 2009, with volumes approaching those which were delivered during Menorca’s previous passenger peaks in 2006 and 2007. However, although too early to dictate a clear trend for 2015, the airport’s traffic in January was down by 4.8%, so the next 12 months may yet still be another year of consolidation rather than breaching the previous passenger throughput record of 2.78m recorded in 2007.

SVID says ‘Managerial and operational challenges’ for Menorca

Entering Menorca’s monthly passenger data for 2014 into anna.aero’s Seasonal Variation in Demand (SVID) calculator, the airport does not perform that well, generating a score of 89.7 ‒ a ‘Managerial and operational challenges’ rating. The airport’s seasonality performance has also declined marginally when compared to the result achieved in 2013, when it attained a score of 85.4, and it is also down versus the 2012 result of 88.6 – which was still a ‘Managerial and operational challenges’ score. That said, in 2013 and 2012, the airport handled less passengers than it did in 2014, so it may well be an issue the airport is prepared to sacrifice for growth.

Chart - Menorca SVID

Source: Aena. (Click to enlarge)

Evaluating Menorca alongside the most significant competing Balearic Islands airports, our data elves also ran SVID calculations on Palma de Mallorca (44.5 – ‘Managerial and operational challenges’) and Ibiza, which also generated a ‘Managerial and operational challenges’ result (81.5). All three airports also share their respective busiest (August) and quietest months (January). The seasonal lows for the three airports represent 8% (MAH), 7.6% (IBZ) and 15% (PMI) of their respective seasonal highs.

24 serving carriers in summer; just three in winter

While the schedules for the peak week in S15 boast 24 airlines, such is the ‘peakiness’ of the airport’s traffic that there were just three serving carriers in a low-season week in February 2015 (w/c 9 February) – these were Vueling, Iberia and Air Europa. The top 12 airlines do dominate Menorca’s flying, with close to 97% of weekly seats being offered by these carriers.

Chart - Menorca Airport - Top 12 Airlines Weekly seats

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 3 August 2015.

When comparing the August schedules for S15 to those experienced in the same week last year, the airport is anticipating a 6.4% increase in weekly seats. So contrary to the passenger traffic decline recorded in January, there is potential for the summer numbers to push the airport back into growth if this increased capacity is maintained, and perhaps inch Menorca towards the three million annual passenger figure this year.

Domestic and UK routes command top 12

With five routes each, the domestic and UK markets control the majority of the top 12 routes. While the schedules for the peak week in S15 boast over 60 destinations, such is the extreme seasonality of the airport’s traffic that there were just six destinations – all domestic ‒ available in a low-season week in February 2015 (w/c 9 February) – these were Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Zaragoza and Tenerife South.

Chart - Menorca Airport - Top 12 routes Weekly seats

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 3 August 2015.

The top 12 routes do command the lion’s share of the airport’s network, with close to 74% of weekly seats being offered on these city pairs. Looking ahead, Air Europa plans to launch a multiple daily service from Menorca to Palma de Mallorca on 1 May (operated by a Swiftair ATR 42). In addition, there will be further service introductions (mainly seasonal) over S15, according to anna.aero’s New Route Database:

24 May ‒ TUIfly is introducing a weekly (increasing to twice-weekly in June) 737-800 service from Cologne Bonn;

28 May ‒ Germania will commence a thrice-weekly A319 from Hamburg;

31 May ‒ Volotea intends to start a twice-weekly service from Asturias and Zaragoza;

19 June – Vueling commences a twice-weekly operation to Malaga; on 27 June it will add a twice-weekly domestic service from Santiago de Compostela; on 1 July the LCC will also start twice-weekly flights from Turin;

20 June – Austrian Airlines begins a weekly Q400 route from Vienna;

26 June – easyJet commences a London Southend service.


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