Budget airlines carried half of passengers in Spain in July

Low-cost carriers see traffic rise 7.9% year-on-year in record month for Spanish tourism

EasyJet planes at Málaga airport.
EasyJet planes at Málaga airport.García-Santos

Budget operators were the airlines that made the most out of July’s record air traffic levels at Spanish airports.

More than 23 million passengers passed through the country’s air hubs last month – the highest July figure on record – and more than half of them used low-cost carriers to do so, according to a study released on Monday.

Figures show that, last month, 50.7% of air passengers in Spain flew on budget airlines, which registered a 7.9% increase in traffic compared with July 2014.

Together Ryanair, EasyJet and Vueling transported 34% of all international passengers in July

Traditional airlines also saw an increase, but a more modest one: 2.7% compared with the same period last year.

Together three budget operators – Ryanair, EasyJet and Vueling – transported 34% of all international passengers in July, and 66% of those who used low-cost airlines.

“The three companies have shown a growing development, with Vueling standing out among them for another month,” said the survey compiled by the Institute of Tourism Studies.

In the first seven months of this year, no-frills airlines have flown around 20.16 million passengers in Spain – 9.7% more than over the same period last year – and captured 49.4% of all air traffic.

The bigger airline companies also saw “much more moderate increases” in passengers between January and July with a 1.6% rise in traffic.

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Britons were the biggest group of foreign nationals to arrive in Spain with low-cost carriers. Nevertheless, there were increases in the number of travelers from other countries such as France (a 22.4% rise), Italy (17.4%), Ireland (12.9%) and Belgium (6.8%) in July.

By region, Madrid received the most visitors on budget airlines (a 37% rise from last year) followed by Catalonia (9.3%) and Valencia (6.9%).

Low-cost operators have dominated the Spanish air traffic landscape for years. Ryanair is the airline that carries the most passengers in Spain – in July alone it transported 3.32 million travelers, 4.1% more than the year before – followed by Vueling (2.47 million passengers last month) and EasyJet (1.82 million).

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