Marseille ended 2019 with record capacity from strong international growth
Marseille Provence Airport ended 2019 with just under 13 million seats, its highest figure ever. This comes as the airport recorded its lowest percentage of domestic capacity – 39% of the airport’s total seats – in the past decade. This is mainly from flat capacity in the few years, offset by quick international growth following five years of stagnation.
Ryanair and Volotea grow as Air France and Hop! reduce
Almost all of the 1.2 million additional seats between 2017 and 2019 were the result of both Ryanair (733,000) and Volotea (183,000). The growth of Ryanair at Marseille – in 2019, it had 2.8 million seats, up one-third YOY – was from its (re)launched base there. This has necessarily reduced the dominance of Air France, which became second-largest last year. Air France’s seats are continuing to decline: down 80,000 YOY and, more broadly, from 3.1 million in 2015 to 2.4 million in 2019. But it’s still very comfortably number-two.
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.
Hop!, Air France’s regional operator, is interesting. In the past few years, its growth at Marseille at been significant: from 407,000 seats in 2015 to 1.1 million in 2018. This was from introducing four new routes (Brest, Biarritz, Caen, and Metz-Nancy) while enormously increasing capacity to Bordeaux and Nantes and, to a lesser extent, Lille and Rennes. The carrier’s almost 32% drop YOY was the result of right-sizing Bordeaux, Lille, and Nantes, each with a 30%+ fall in capacity versus 2018.
2019 was almost all about international growth
Marseille saw numerous brand-new routes in 2019, with international growth accounting for about 80% of its total growth. These included Agadir, Bari, EuroAirport Basel, Bologna, Catania, Cagliari, Copenhagen, Essaouira, Kutaisi, Luxembourg, Milan Bergamo, Moscow Domodedovo, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Ouarzazate, Rijeka, Sofia, Stockholm Arlanda, Stuttgart, and Warsaw Modlin.
SAS began both Copenhagen and Stockholm Arlanda as part of its big summer 2019 expansion. Both capitals were served during the peak summer season. Ryanair also began Copenhagen on thrice-weekly basis. Meanwhile, Oslo remains unserved. Moscow stands out. It was last served in 2014 by Air France, but last year two operators began it: Aeroflot to Moscow Sheremetyevo and Aigle Azur to Domodedovo. Aeroflot now operates a year-round, five-weekly service by the A320, but Domodedovo was, of course, cut following Aigle Azur ceasing to operate.
Marseille connected with 124 individual destinations this year
The current year will see 124 individual destinations and 158 routes across all operators, although more may of course materialise. New destinations this year include Alghero, Castellon, Chania, London Southend, and Olbia. Air France itself, rather than Hop!, will itself begin Marseille – Biarritz on a once-weekly basis using the A319. Ryanair’s twice-weekly London Southend service, from 1 April, will mean Marseille will be connected to five of the six London airports in 2020: Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend, and Stansted – only missing a London City connection. Marseille will then see over seven daily flights to London, with British Airways the market leader.