ANALYSIS: Airlines in Eastern Europe - The Biggest and Fastest Growing Operators

Ahead of this year's World Routes forum, Routesonline is providing another look at our series of articles on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across regions of the world last year. Here we look closely at the airlines of Eastern Europe and highlight the region's top performers.

Ahead of this year's World Routes forum, Routesonline is providing another look at our series of articles on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across regions of the world last year.  Here we look closely at the airlines of Eastern 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 Eastern Europe (2005 - 2014)

Our analysis of published schedules for the past ten years shows that air capacity within and from Eastern Europe has risen from 73,528,065 available seats in 2005 to 144,755,519 available seats in 2014.  This represents a growth of 96.9 per cent across the period, an average annual increase of 10.8 per cent.  In the past year capacity increased 7.5 per cent.

Top Ten Airlines in the Eastern European Market (2014)

Russian airlines dominate air travel within and from Eastern Europe. Aeroflot Russian Airlines leads the way with a 18.6 per cent share of available capacity within and from Eastern Europe in 2014, thanks to the amalgamation of its partner airline operations under its own ‘SU’ code. The region’s largest low-cost carrier, Wizz Air, follows with a 6.3 per cent capacity share, while Russia’s other mainline operators S7 Airlines and Transaero Airlines had a 6.2 per cent and 5.5 per cent share in 2014, respectively.

Lufthansa is the largest western European network carrier serving the Eastern European market, while Ryanair has a notable presence in the market, thanks in a big part to its significant operations in the Polish market.

Fastest Growing Airlines in the Eastern Europe Market (2010-2014)

Looking at capacity data in the region across a five year period, it is Russia’s Ural Airlines that has grown capacity by the biggest margin with capacity up 229.6 per cent from 2010. Significant growth during this timescale was also recorded by Ukraine International Airlines (up 216.7 per cent) after it acquired most of the network of Aerosweet Airlines following the latter’s closure. Russian carriers Aeroflot Russian Airlines (up 175.3 per cent) and Transaero Airlines (up 130.6 per cent) also more than doubled their capacity offering within and from Eastern Europe.

Data comparison between 2013 and 2014 shows a steady level of growth among the top ten airlines in the region by capacity, but with a dominance from Russia in this regional analysis: it is home to four of the top five fastest growing airlines among the top ten operators in this region showing the largest year-on-year growth.

Ural Airlines reported the largest rise in capacity within and from Eastern Europe between 2013 and 2014 with growth of 46.9 per cent: one of five airlines among the ten largest carriers in the region to report double-digit year-on-year growth. Notable growth was also recorded by Aeroflot Russian Airlines (up 40.2 per cent), Transaero Airlines (up 20.7 per cent), Wizz Air (up 19.4 per cent) and S7 Airlines (up 11.7 per cent).

Looking at the wider top twenty airlines in the region it is Air Serbia that recorded the largest year-on-year capacity growth between 2013 and 2014 with a rise of 68.3 per cent following its emergence from the JAT Airways brand after an equity investment from Gulf carrier Etihad Airways. Double-digit growth was also recorded by Belavia (up 21.7 per cent) Azerbaijan Airlines (up 12.7 per cent), Turkish Airlines (up11.1 per cent) and easyJet (up 10.1 per cent).

Scheduled Eastern Europe Capacity by Aircraft Type

The chart below shows which aircraft types were most prevalent in the Eastern European market during 2014. The schedule data shows the Airbus A320 (320) is the most widely used aircraft type in this market with a 25.4 per cent share of available seats with overall network capacity up 1.8 per cent between 2013 and 2014 to 36.72 million seats.

The second most utilised aircraft type in this market is the Airbus A319 (319) with a 13.7 per cent share, while third most widely operated type by network capacity is the Boeing 737-800 (738) with a 11.0 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 72.8 per cent rise in available seats in 2014 versus 2013 and the Airbus A320 (320) with a 15.5 per cent rise. The largest decline in annual capacity was recorded by the Boeing 737-500 (735) with a fall of 16.1 per cent versus 2013.


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