Madeira Airport in Portugal hopes to exceed the 2.5 million passenger per annum milestone this year after reaching a record high of 2.46 million passengers in 2014. The growth in demand has been supported by an increase in connectivity to the Portuguese archipelago.
The arrival of Spanish low-cost carrier, Vueling last month with a regular link from Barcelona is just the latest in a line of new entrants and new routes. The new link, which launched on June 20, 2015, will operate twice-weekly from the Aeroportos de Portugal (ANA) operated airport, on Saturdays and Wednesdays until September 19, 2015 where it will reduce operations to once-weekly until October 24, 2015.
Vueling is the second IAG group airline which has begun operations to Madeira, following British Airways which landed in Madeira in May, and Iberia who will begin flying to the Portuguese destination in July. Vueling’s new operation represents over 5,000 additional seats from the Spanish market to Madeira.
In light of the number of new routes and frequencies for 2015, Madeira Airport could be in line for another record year.
Voted “Europe’s Leading Island Destination” in 2013 and 2014, the Portuguese destination is nominated again for the 2015 edition, and has welcomed a number of new routes and frequencies along with it.
The airport has also recently welcomed the inauguration of a new route to Edinburgh, operated by easyJet, as well as a charter service to Dublin. British low-cost carrier, easyJet has also increased its frequency from Manchester, while Transavia has increased frequency on both its Lyon and Nantes routes.
British Airways arrived at the airport earlier in the year, and began operating a new route to London Gatwick, while Air Berlin and TUIfly have increased flights to Germany to both Cologne and Munich respectively.
Last year, the airport hit a record year with 2.46 million passengers, and load factor increased by 2.9 percentage points to 82.4 percent overall. Low-cost traffic accounts for 22 percent of total traffic, while charter traffic has a market share of 19 percent.
The UK market is the second largest market to Madeira Airport, representing approximately 19 percent of passengers, up 6.6 percent on the previous year.
TAP is the largest airline to operate at the predominantly leisure destination, with a market share of 34.5 percent, while other significant airlines include easyJet, Transavia France and Air Berlin.
Porto Santo Airport, just 15 minutes flight from Madeira, has also seen a rate of growth, with passenger traffic increasing by 11 percent in 2014. The airport has welcomed, in May 2015, a new service from Birmingham, operated by Thomson Airways, and has seen an increase in demand from tourists with a 21 percent increase in guests and overnight stays.
Both Porto Santo and Madeira Airport are currently undergoing significant investments on runways and in terminals. Madeira Airport is adopting a new ‘walk through’ concept in its commercial areas, with new, larger shopping areas and redesigned security control and boarding areas, which should be implemented later this year and towards the beginning of next year.
Porto Santo received the acknowledgement of “Europe’s Leading All Inclusive Resort” at the World Travel Awards in 2014, receiving a total of 107,626 commercial passengers in the same year. This growth was as a result of the consolidation of existing operations from the UK and Italy as well as the introduction of new routes to Dusseldorf, Santiago de Compostela and Madrid.
Madeira’s increasing passenger numbers have been aided by a number of new routes to the Portuguese holiday destination over the past few years. Between 2013 and 2015, the airport has welcomed a total of 27 new destinations in the form of regular flights and one-off charters. In 2014, the airport added seven new destinations to its map including Billund in Denmark, Baden, Leipzig/Halle and Erfurt in Germany, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw in Poland.
Both Dusseldorf and Munich remain strong German markets for Madeira, offering a total of 35,344 and 28,654 seats in 2015 respectively. London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham continue to be highly positive markets in the UK, bringing in a total of 192,720 seats combined in 2015.
Manchester also remains a strong market for Porto Santo, since Thomson arrived in 2012, while London Gatwick remains positive in terms of available seat capacity, after the UK-based travel operator commenced operations between the two in 2011. Lisbon and Madeira are among the strongest markets for Porto Santo, offering 11,901 seats and 19,428 seats respectively, from a variety of carriers including TAP and SATA.