DATA: What are the Fastest Growing Airports in Western Europe?

Ahead of this year's Routes Europe forum, Routesonline is providing a snapshot on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across the region. Here we look closely at the airports serving Western Europe and highlight the region's top performers.

Ahead of this year's Routes Europe forum, Routesonline is providing a snapshot on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across the region.  Here we look closely at the airports serving Western Europe and highlight the region's top performers.

 The data is all supplied by OAG Aviation using its OAG Schedules Analyser tool.

Scheduled Air Capacity From Western Europe (2005 - 2014)

Our analysis of published schedules for the past ten years shows that air capacity within and from Western Europe has risen from 749,403,411 available seats in 2005 to 955,743,285 available seats in 2014.  This represents a growth of 27.5 per cent across the period, an average annual increase of 3.1 per cent.  In the past year capacity increased 3.8 per cent.

Top Ten Airports in the Western European Market (2014)

London’s Heathrow Airport may have lost its title as the world’s largest international airport in 2014 to Dubai International Airport, but it continues to dominate the market within and from Western Europe despite capacity constraints limiting its available departure seats over the past decade. The hub airport had a 4.9 per cent share of departure capacity from the region in 2014, having grown departure seats 1.9 per cent versus 2013, 1.1 per cent versus 2010 and just 1.0 per cent since 2005.

During the same ten year period (2005 – 2014) its major European hub rivals have seen double digit growth – Amsterdam Schiphol up 26.0 per cent, Frankfurt Airport up 10.8 per cent and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport up 10.0 per cent – while Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport has emerged as a major force with departure capacity increasing three-fold (up 202.2 per cent) over the ten year period.

While London still debates its future hub airport and the planned site for another runway, its rivals are continuing to grow. Frankfurt and Paris CDG now hold 4.1 per cent shares of western European capacity, while Istanbul Ataturk and Amsterdam Schiphol had 3.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent capacity shares in 2014.

Fastest Growing Airports in the Western Europe Market (2010-2014)

Looking at capacity data in the region across a five year period, the emergence of Turkey as a key aviation powerhouse is clear with the significant network growth of Turkish Airlines (THY) and low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines driving growth at both Istanbul’s airports and accelerating the need for the construction of a new facility to serve growing demand into Turkey’s main international gateways.

It is Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, home of Pegasus Airlines, on the Asian side of Istanbul that has recorded the largest growth in departure capacity between 2005 and 2014, up 141.7 per cent, as Turkish Airlines has also started to utilise the facility to overcome capacity constraints at its main gateway at Ataturk Airport on the European side of the city. Despite these constraints, the airport was still the second fastest growing facility in Western Europe over the five year analysis period with a 75.6 per cent growth in departure seats.

Outside of the dominant Istanbul market, Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport saw a significant 38.1 per cent increase in departure capacity within and from Western Europe between 2010 and 2014, while Berlin’s Tegel Airport (up 29.8 per cent) and Oslo’s Gardermoen Airport (up 25.8 per cent), boosted capacity by more than a quarter. Notable growth was also recorded by Brussels Airport (up 19.8 per cent) and Amsterdam Schiphol (up 18.1 per cent) over the past five years.

Data comparison between 2013 and 2014 shows a steady level of growth among the top ten airports in the region by capacity, with only Paris Orly showing a year-on-year capacity decline and then that was only a 1.2 per cent fall in capacity. It is Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that has seen the largest capacity growth among Western Europe’s top ten airports with available seats growing 11.1 per cent over the period.

The Western European market is certainly more stable having overcome its recent economic woes with Rome’s Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport seeing a 6.7 per cent growth in departure seats and London Gatwick Airport a 5.9 per cent increase in capacity, the second and third fastest growing of the region’s top ten airports.

Looking at the wider top twenty airports in the region it is no surprise that Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport recorded the largest year-on-year capacity growth between 2013 and 2014 with a rise of 27.6 per cent. Double-digit growth was also recorded by Brussels Airport in Belgium (up 14.6 per cent).

Scheduled Western Europe Capacity by Aircraft Type

The chart below shows which aircraft types were most prevalent in the Western European market during 2014. The schedule data shows the Airbus A320 (320) is the most widely used aircraft type in this market with a 19.6 per cent share of available seats with overall network capacity up 9.0 per cent between 2013 and 2014 to 187.08 million seats.

The second most utilised aircraft type in this market is the Boeing 737-800 (738) with a 16.8 per cent share, while third most widely operated type by network capacity is the Airbus A319 (319) with a 12.7 per cent share.

The biggest rises in annual capacity among the top ten aircraft types were recorded by the Boeing 737-700 (Winglets) (73H) with a 49.5 per cent rise in available seats in 2014 versus 2013 and the Boeing 777-300ER (77W) with a 18.5 per cent rise. The largest decline in annual capacity was recorded by the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 (DH4) with a fall of 1.8 per cent versus 2013.

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