Lisbon-Tenerife is Skyscanner “Unserved Route of the Week” – 55,000 searches in last year; a TAP Portugal leisure route

Lisbon-Tenerife is Skyscanner “Unserved Route of the Week”

Skscanner searches show significant existing demand between Lisbon and Tenerife – especially in February and March when Lisboans apparently feel the need for a bit of Canary Islands’ volcanic warmth. Any resemblance between the crying Ronaldo portrayed here, and the tearful Portuguese Team captain after they were held to a 1-1 draw against Iceland (pop 323k) in the group stage of the Euros, is entirely coincidental.

Tenerife is often thought of a destination for north Europeans which would not have much appeal to Lisboans who have the lovely seaside resort of Estoril on their doorstep. But in fact, as any visitor to the Canary Islands will observe – the hotels also have a healthy trade in Spaniards who flock one-two hours flying time south to take advantage of year-round reliable sunshine. So why not the Portuguese?

Indeed it seems there is demand! With 55,000 searches last year, a potential new route from Lisbon to Tenerife has been identified as this week’s Skyscanner for “Unserved Route of Week” – a powerful new kind of analysis based on aspirational data captured from the flight comparison site used by +50 million unique visitors per month. For any airlines that wish to discuss this unserved route nugget, Aena, the Spanish airports operator (including Tenerife North and South), will be in Hamburg next week, as the Hanseatic city is the host for the 138th IATA Slot Conference (21-23 June). will also be in town, with its famous IATA Slots show daily magazines.

Chart: Unserved Route of the Week: Lisbon-Tenerife Skyscanner monthly searches

Source: Skyscanner for Business. recommends route to TAP Portugal (or Ryanair)

With slightly more traffic originating from the Portuguese end of this route ‒ a 63/37 split – this city pair looks like an obvious option for TAP Portugal, which is the #1 airline (51% share) at Lisbon, as well as being the biggest carrier between Portugal and Spain (36% share), both in terms of weekly seats (according to OAG schedules data for the week commencing 14 June). The Portuguese national carrier would be also able to leverage significant connections at its biggest hub, in particular to its 11 destinations in South America, as well as the point-to-point traffic. This potential city pair could follow the Star Alliance carrier’s plans to launch a Lisbon to Vigo service between Portugal and Spain on 1 July.

Considering the Spanish end of the route, the biggest carrier between the two countries in terms of weekly seats (8,778 seats; 20% share), namely Iberia, presently only has four city pairs between these neighbouring Iberian peninsula nations – which includes Madrid to Lisbon, Porto and Faro, as well as Santander to Lisbon. Perhaps a better alternative at the Spanish end of this potential sector could be the biggest carrier at Tenerife South, Ryanair, which has 23% share of weekly seats at the Canary Islands airport. It is also the #3 carrier in terms of capacity between the countries (6,993 seats; a 16% share), offering six airport pairs, although currently all of these are from its Porto base. One of these routes is, however, a weekly flight to Tenerife South; it also offers a single rotation to Gran Canaria, so Ryanair does have experience of the Canaries market from Portugal.

Madrid, Porto lead transfer competition

When looking at the previous year of search data, the busiest month for potential traffic flows (for both directions on the route combined) is February 2016 with nearly 7,000, more than 3,000 higher than the lowest monthly figure, which was recorded in December 2015 (3,500). The seasonality profile of this search data is less extreme than last week’s Unserved Route of the Week (Hamburg to Singapore), with the low-month traffic representing 50% of the highest month. According to OAG Traffic Analyser, because there is no direct service, the top three connecting options chosen by those passengers who did book travel between Lisbon to Tenerife in the last 12 months were Madrid (87%), Porto (11%) and Malaga (1%). Only six different airports were used by passengers desperate to fly between the two cities.

An O&D that is not served by a non-stop flight will typically display a low purchase rate and low traffic. In this instance Skyscanner’s Travel Insight indicates a monthly average of just 7.2% for the Lisbon to Tenerife route (see graph below). Therefore, if there was a Lisbon to Tenerife route, and if bookings performed in line with the “Skyscanner market average” for direct services at both airports (9.1%), the airline operating this route could immediately expect an improved purchase rate of 26% without any increased marketing spend. However, with nearly 55,000 annual searches, the potential city pair should already be very sustainable.

Chart: Unserved route of the week: Lisbon-Tenerife Skyscanner conversion rates Apr 2015-Mar 2016

Source: Skyscanner for Business.

About this analysis and Skyscanner for Business data

“Unserved Route of the Week” is a cooperation between and the B2B branch of the consumer flight comparison site and is a new kind of analysis harnessing an entirely new resource: the amazing power of the aspirational data captured from flight comparison site which has +50 million unique visitors per month.

Skyscanner for Business” packages this amazing B2C data into a suite of business products which offer comprehensive data solutions – our specific need to identify unserved routes uses the Skyscanner Travel Insight product, a comprehensive, unique ‘big data’ set that can accurately predict future demand by telling you where 50 million real living-and-breathing travellers actually want to fly to. (And bear in mind that there are other significant search volumes that could also be added to the Skyscanner totals – from dedicated airline websites, competitive search engines etc, underlining the value of Skyscanner data as a conservative indicator of market route demand.)

Check next week’s newsletter for another great for Business “Unserved Route of the Week” – or browse in’s Route Shop where there are 3,100 more unserved routes.


  1. Adam H says:

    Ronaldo is from Madeira by the way which does have Canary Islands flights.

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