looks to London Stansted; 21 routes in S17 but will face competition on 20 of them; Ryanair likely to compete aggressively to take on Ryanair at London Stansted in S17 will launch flights from London Stansted to 21 destinations next summer using six based aircraft. Only one of the destinations (Funchal/Madeira) is not already served from Stansted and 15 were served by Ryanair this summer. Curiously the list of destinations on the giant promotional boards are in IATA 3-letter code order rather than alphabetical order. is returning to the London market next summer with plans to base six aircraft at London Stansted and offer direct flights to 21 destinations during the peak summer period. Back in 2005, the LCC operated domestic routes from Manchester to London Gatwick, as well as serving Gatwick from Newcastle for the S07 and W07/08 seasons, but this is the carrier’s first attempt to operate internationally from London. Along with another new base at Birmingham, also launching next summer, will then have nine bases across the UK and will be operating over 250 routes. The addition of over 50 new routes next summer will be the carrier’s biggest ever growth in routes since the airline launched back in February 2003. Given the uncertainty around the UK economy post-Brexit and the current trend in the exchange rate with the Euro, it remains to be seen how this pans out for the airline, which is currently taking delivery of almost 30 new 737-800s over the next two years.

Chart: routes operated Destinations served from each base each summer season

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Ryanair and easyJet dominate at Stansted

London Stansted has long been synonymous with Ryanair. It is the Irish ULCC’s biggest base, offering non-stop flights this summer to almost 130 destinations. It is also an easyJet base, one that the airline inherited when it acquired Go in 2001/2002. During the last decade, Ryanair’s share of capacity at the airport has risen from just under 65% in 2006 and 2007 to over 80% in 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile easyJet’s share has fallen rapidly in recent years from 22% in 2011 to just 11% in 2015 and 2016. This summer it served just 20 destinations from Stansted, down from 28 in S10.

Chart: London Stansted 2006-2016 Share of scheduled seats by airline

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

The market share of all other carriers combined has gradually fallen from 16% in 2006 to less than 8% in the last three years, a situation that the airport would presumably like to change. Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways operate mostly seasonal services at the airport. Norwegian does not serve the airport having established a major base at London Gatwick instead. Wizz Air has a major presence at London Luton, while Vueling serves Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton, but none in a big way. Lufthansa’s in-house LCC, Eurowings/Germanwings does serve Stansted, as does Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines.

Making the morning peak at Stansted even busier

Analysis of flight data for Monday 1 August 2016 gives a good indication of the pattern of movements at Stansted across the day. There were just a few flights before 06:00. The busiest hour for total movements was between 08:00 and 08:59 with 44 scheduled movements, 27 departures and 17 arrivals. The next busiest hours were from 07:00 to 07:59 and from 19:00 to 19:59 with both having a total of 37 movements on the airport’s single runway.

Chart: London Stansted movements in S16 Arrivals and departures by hour (Monday 1 August 2016)

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for 1 August 2016.

A look at’s schedule data for Monday 7 August 2017 shows that the six based aircraft will each operate two return flights that day. The six morning departures are planned for 06:50, 07:00, 08:00, 08:15, 08:30 and 08:45 while the second wave of departures will take place that day at 13:50, 14:25, 14:35, 14:40, 15:00 and 15:55. The six aircraft are scheduled to return to Stansted that day at 21:55, 22:20, 23:30, 23:35, 00:10 and 00:20.

The addition of a further four movements in the airport’s busiest hour between 08:00 and 08:59 would take the number of movements to 48 if all of this year’s flights operate at the same time next summer. For comparison, according to OAG schedule data for London Gatwick, that airport scheduled more than 50 movements per hour in 10 separate hours on 1 August 2016, with the 11:00 to 11:59 hour having a total of 58 scheduled movements.

Ryanair competes with on 15 of 21 routes is launching 21 routes spread across five different countries with a total of 83 weekly departures. Of these 54 (65%) are to destinations in Spain, 10 are in Greece, nine in Portugal and five each in Croatia and Cyprus. All but one of the 21 was already served from Stansted in S16, while Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca were served by as many as five carriers. Ryanair alone competes on 15 of’s 21 planned new routes.

Destination(Code) Country km WF Competition in S16 (WF)
Alicante (ALC) Spain 1514 7 Ryanair (17)
Dubrovnik (DBV) Croatia 1703 3 easyJet (4)
Faro (FAO) Portugal 1773 7 Ryanair (24), Thomson Airways (2), British Airways (1)
Fuerteventura (FUE) Spain 2853 2 Ryanair (5), Thomas Cook Airlines (2), Thomson Airways (1)
Funchal (FNC) Portugal 2536 2
Girona (GRO) Spain 1125 2 Ryanair (5)
Gran Canaria (LPA) Spain 2963 3 Ryanair (6), Thomas Cook Airlines (1), Thomson Airways (1)
Heraklion (HER) Greece 2696 3 Thomson Airways (2)
Ibiza (IBZ) Spain 1448 7 Ryanair (15), easyJet (12), Thomson Airways (3), British Airways (1), Thomas Cook Airlines(1)
Kos (KGS) Greece 2688 2 Ryanair (4), Thomas Cook Airlines (1), Thomson Airways (1)
Lanzarote (ACE) Spain 2795 4 Ryanair (9), Thomas Cook Airlines (3), Thomson Airways (1)
Larnaca (LCA) Cyprus 3248 3 Cobalt (6), Thomas Cook Airlines (1)
Malaga (AGP) Spain 1730 7 Ryanair (22), easyJet (10), British Airways (2)
Menorca (MAH) Spain 1371 3 Thomas Cook Airlines (4), Thomson Airways (2)
Palma de Mallorca (PMI) Spain 1384 9 Ryanair (21), easyJet (10), Thomas Cook Airlines (4), Thomson Airways (4), British Airways (1)
Paphos (PFO) Cyprus 3188 2 Ryanair (9), Thomson Airways (3)
Pula (PUY) Croatia 1271 2 Ryanair (4)
Reus (REU) Spain 1196 4 Ryanair (5), Thomas Cook Airlines (1)
Rhodes (RHO) Greece 2779 3 Ryanair (5), Thomas Cook Airlines (2), Thomson Airways (2)
Tenerife South (TFS) Spain 2995 6 Ryanair (9), Thomas Cook Airlines (5), Thomson Airways (1)
Zakinthos (ZTH) Greece 2247 2 easyJet (1), Thomson Airways (1)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 7 August 2017 (for and w/c 1 August 2016 (for competition in S16).

Exchange rate uncertainty

Post-Brexit the UK Pound has seen its value fall across international money markets. A look at exchange rates for the Pound since 2012 against the Euro, the US Dollar and the Canadian Dollar shows the volatility of the currency markets. While the Pound has indeed fallen against the Euro it is only around 10% lower than it was for most of 2012, 2013 and the first half of 2014. Against the Canadian Dollar, the current exchange rate is comparable to that found in 2012 and the first half of 2013. The biggest depreciation has been against the US Dollar, suggesting that UK holidaymakers may be even more tempted to at least stay in Europe next summer rather than venture further afield.

Chart: Exchange rate 2012-2016 Value of 1 UK Pound



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