Air travel

Ryanair maintains its dominance in Spain despite cancellations

The Irish airline transported the most passengers at Spanish airports in September

Ramón Muñoz

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Despite a massive wave of cancellations that were prompted by a pilot scheduling problem, Ryanair is managing to maintain its market dominance. The Irish low-cost carrier was the top passenger transport company at airports operated by Spanish airports operator AENA in the month of September, despite being embroiled in the staffing crisis.

A Ryanair airplane.
A Ryanair airplane.

The company, which is headed up by colorful businessman Michael O’Leary, carried 3.67 million passengers at Spanish airports last month, which is 1.2 million more customers than its competitor, Vueling. That Spanish airline came second in the rankings of individual airlines, with 2.46 million travelers, according to data from AENA.

Former Spanish flag carrier Iberia, with 1.27 million passengers, ranks third. However, if all the customers of the Iberia network are taken into account the figure comes in at 2.6 million. The group also counts on a low-cost subsidiary, Iberia Express (486,189 passengers in September), and Air Nostrum (397,794 passengers).

The Irish low-cost carrier increased passenger traffic in September by 10%

When the rankings look at customer numbers of company groups and not individual brands, the IAG corporation – which comprises Iberia, Vueling and British Airways – comes out on top, as it flew a total of 4.62 million passengers last month.

Apart from these two large groups, British budget airline easyJet transported 1.46 million passengers in September, well ahead of Air Europa’s 936,828 passengers. Norwegian grew to 741,137 customers in Spain in September, while Air Berlin saw its traffic fall in Spain to 24,324 passengers, following the bankruptcy of the company.

AENA’s passenger numbers at domestic airports confirm Ryanair’s momentum on a global scale. The Irish low-cost carrier managed to increase passenger traffic last September by 10% compared to the same month last year. It reached 11.8 million passengers, despite having to face the first of three recent cancellation announcements, according to figures reported by the company itself.

Traffic in the last 12 months grew 12% to 127.3 million customers

The occupation index increased two points in September and reached 97%, compared to the same month of the previous year. Traffic in the last 12 months grew 12% to 127.3 million customers.

Ryanair announced the cancellation of 2,100 flights from mid-September to the end of October, affecting 315,000 passengers because of a scheduling problem due to a lack of pilots. The company clarified on Tuesday that they have reimbursed or rescheduled 98% of those travelers on other flights or alternative routes. The company later announced more cancellations through March 2018 related to the same planning issue. On Monday, it announced another 212 canceled flights due to a French air traffic controllers strike on October 10.

English version by Debora Almeida.

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