The Winter Sun Shines on the Canary Islands as Ryanair Boosts Schedule

Irish budget carrier Ryanair has opened initial reservations for its extended winter 2013/2014 flying programme from the Canary Islands with the introduction of 12 additional routes which will launch from late October 2013.  The airline plans to expand its activities at both Las Palmas and Tenerife with new links to destinations across Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Ryanair already has a strong presence in both markets.  It currently offers non-stop flights to 26 destinations from Las Palmas and 34 locations from Tenerife giving it a 14.3 per cent share of the capacity at Gran Canaria Airport in Las Palmas and 25.8 per cent at Tenerife South, one of two airports serving the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands.  The expansion of its network in winter 2013/2014 will further strengthen its position in what are developing as two key markets for the ultra low-cost carrier.

The new services this coming winter from Las Palmas include weekly flights to Stockholm Vasteras (from October 31, 2013) and Stockholm Skavsta (from November 3, 2013), as well as links to Aarhus from November 1, 2013 and Oslo Rygge from November 2, 2013, although reservation on the latter routes had not been opened as this article was published.

At Tenerife South, Ryanair will offer twice weekly services to Cologne (from October 31, 2013), Stockholm Skavsta (from October 31, 2013) and Memmingen (from November 1, 2013) and weekly flights to Karlstad (from November 1, 2013), Stockholm Vasteras (from November 1, 2013) and Linz (from November 2, 2013).  The budget carrier also plans to introduce flights to Oslo Rygge from October 31, 2013 and Oslo Torp from November 2, 2013 but reservation for the links to the Norwegian capital have not yet been opened.

Alongside Ryanair’s services there will also be an expanded operation to the Canary Islands from UK low-fare carrier Jet2.com which in association with its tour operator division, Jet2holidays, will inaugurate flights to Fuerteventura in summer 2014, adding to its existing links to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife.  The airline is offering a weekly service from Glasgow, Leeds Bradford and Manchester from April 4, 2014 but will introduce a second weekly rotation on the Manchester route from July 7, 2013.

Fuerteventura boasts an average of 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, making it the perfect destination for those looking to escape the bleak UK weather, whatever time of year. But it’s not just the sizzling temperatures and the vast expanses of white sandy beaches that attract families to the quieter Canary Island year after year.  Famed for its rugged, unspoilt natural beauty, Fuerteventura is also a haven for lovers of the great outdoors.

“Fuerteventura is a bit of an unsung gem when it comes to the Canaries, but with plenty on offer for families as well as beach and watersports lovers, we’re confident the island will prove extremely popular with those wanting guaranteed sunshine,” said Steve Heapy, Chief Executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays.

In a further boost for connectivity to the Canary Islands, British Airways (BA) has revealed it will launch a new weekly flight from London to Las Palmas during the forthcoming winter schedule.  The link follows the introduction of flights to Lanzarote and Tenerife this summer, but unlike those services which operate from Gatwick Airport, BA will serve Las Palmas from Heathrow.  The Saturday-only flight will operate from Terminal 5 between October 26, 2013 and March 29, 2014. 

The new BA link is the only scheduled service between London Heathrow and Las Palmas and will indirectly compete with easyJet’s flight to the island from London Gatwick and Ryanair’s service from London Stansted, while additional links are provided by charter operators and from other locations across the UK.  Every year Gran Canaria attracts over 500,000 British holidaymakers and BA feels its loyal customer base and new passengers will take advantage of the new flight.  "We are confident that offering the only direct route from Heathrow, and the award winning Terminal 5, to Gran Canaria will prove popular with our customers," said Andrew Crawley, Chief Commercial Officer, British Airways.

BA successfully launched its Canary Islands operation on March 31, 2013 with five times weekly flights to Tenerife and twice weekly services to Lanzarote, both from London Gatwick and operated using a Boeing 737-400.  Although there are already many alternative flights to the Canary Islands from the UK the arrival of BA is a major development for the Spanish archipelago, located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, as it introduces a new network links to the UK capital.

In the table below we highlight the largest O&D country markets for travel across the four largest airports in the Canary Islands – Las Palmas Gran Canaria (LPA), Tenerife South (TFS), Lanzaorte Arrecife (ACE) and Fuerteventura El Matorral (FUE).  Our analysis shows that inter-island operations and links to the Spanish mainland account for just over a third of all point-to-point passenger traffic from the four airports.  However, it also highlights the importance of the German and UK markets to the Canary Islands with 21.7 per cent and 20.4 per cent shares of the O&D demand in 2012.  Germany is the largest foreign market from Las Palmas, Tenerife South and Fuerteventura, while the UK has the largest international share from Lanzarote.

SCHEDULED DEMAND FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS’ FOUR LARGEST AIRPORTS (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2012 - ranked by total traffic)

Rank

Country

LPA

TFS

ACE

FUE

TOTAL

% Demand

1

Spain

3,772,063

670,325

1,557,824

988,820

6,989,032

38.2 %

2

Germany

1,202,146

1,235,770

482,968

1,051,489

3,972,373

21.7 %

3

United Kingdom

518,836

1,868,523

941,674

402,369

3,731,402

20.4 %

4

Ireland

125,006

136,559

217,724

70,104

549,393

3.0 %

5

Italy

105,850

140,334

65,570

118,166

429,920

2.3 %

6

Belgium

115,327

220,272

45,888

37,457

418,944

2.3 %

7

Switzerland

166,022

123,343

44,184

68,817

402,366

2.2 %

8

Netherlands

159,375

80,422

58,263

32,010

330,090

1.8 %

9

Austria

79,193

86,929

23,182

32,103

221,407

1.2 %

10

Norway

169,813

19,797

9,021

2,675

201,306

1.1 %

TOTAL

6,919,543

4,984,909

3,519,428

2,874,618

18,298,498

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