In the last five years, Europe has lost a total of 73 scheduled airlines, meaning that if the trend continues - there will be no European-based airlines in 25 years, according to John Grant, Executive Vice President of OAG.
In 2011, the number of European-based airlines totalled 241, and currently, the number of European-based airlines is only 168.
However, despite the strong growth both domestically and internationally in China – the nation only has a total of 29 scheduled carriers. In comparison, the UK has approximately 19 scheduled carriers – more than half that of China.
That being said, there are actually almost identically the same number of scheduled flights today as there was five years ago in Europe, and capacity continues to grow.
Speaking at the Routes Europe Strategy Summit in Aberdeen, John Grant demonstrated by using data from OAG, that despite the number of carriers declining, capacity has steadily grown over the last five years by more than 11 percent meaning that the industry is now more environmentally friendly than in 2011.
However, although intra-European flights have remained the same, international flights from Europe have grown by approximately 12 percent over five years – equalling 233 flights in addition per day.
John Grant highlighted that over half of intra European capacity is provided by non-aligned carriers, with Star Alliance as the largest player in the market with approximately 23 percent of capacity share, and more than 80 percent more than Skyteam. “It is possible to fight the Gulf carriers,” he said.
45 percent of capacity share in Europe is therefore dominated by low-cost carriers, and the number is rising. The UK continues to be number one in terms of capacity, and it is Italy and Spain who have suffered declines in terms of capacity, with an estimated 800,000 seats lost to the new high speed train over the past five years in Spain.
Turkey has seen exponential growth since 2011, registering a 68 percent growth in capacity, while Russia has also witnessed a 39 percent increase. Nine out of the top ten city pairs include a Russian or Turkish city, according to the data from OAG.
Finland, Armenia and Albania have all witnessed the greatest decline in capacity, registering between 9 percent and 11 percent decline, although only six out of 46 country markets in Europe have shown a reduction in capacity.
Unsurprisingly, the top ten carriers category is headed by Ryanair, who by this summer will offer nearly 50 percent more capacity than easyJet – who are subsequently the second largest carrier in Europe, by capacity. Lufthansa place in third despite decreasing capacity in comparison to 2011, and Turkish Airlines are close behind in fourth, after nearly doubling capacity compared to 2011.
John Grant, OAG
You can view John Grant's full presentation at the Routes Europe Strategy Summit here.