The two low-cost companies have increased their market share in Spain
The health crisis of the past two years has shaken the tourism industry to its core and the airline sector is undoubtedly one of the hardest to be hit across Spain. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many intrepid travellers were choosing low-cost airlines to get as much value as possible, but today, budget companies such as Vueling and Ryanair are dominating the market more than ever, particularly in Catalonia.
The latest Aena data for 2021 show that Vueling transported more than 8.8 million passengers to and from Barcelona, representing 46.8% of all the traffic through El Prat airport. In 2019, before the pandemic, the budget airline moved just 38.68% of the 52 million passengers that travelled through.
Airline giant Ryanair came in at a close second in 2021 by gaining market share compared to the previous year (18.6% vs. 14.87%); however, the gap between the Irish budget company and Vueling is widening considerably with the Spanish-owned airline streaking 26 points ahead. According to The Irish Times, though, Ryanair is set to ramp up its competition in 2022, with 22 new routes from Dublin airport to various European destinations, including Spain.
The top ten most active air travel companies at Barcelona airport have undergone several important changes in the last two years, with Norwegian Air disappearing from the list after closing its El Prat base. In 2019, the Scandinavian company transported more than one million passengers, which placed it in eighth place in Barcelona by activity. Last year it fell to number 30 with just 58,280 passengers, according to Aena statistics.
As a result of cutting domestic flights, British airline easyJet has dropped from fourth to seventh place.
In Reus and Girona airports, Ryanair comfortably occupies the top spot, with Michael O’Leary’s airline accounting for 84.31% and 73.7% of the traffic in these airports respectively.