Traditional airlines losing more ground to LCCs

Europe’s traditional scheduled airline segment is still dominant in terms of total number of movements, but it continues to lose traffic to low cost carriers (LCC).

New research by Eurocontrol demonstrates that for 10 years the share of flights for traditional scheduled was 59% while for LCC it was only 19% before 2016 where there was a reversal and the share of traditional scheduled services decreased to 53% while LCC’s figures almost doubled (30%).

In the period of January-October 2017, the share of flights for traditional scheduled stood at 52% while for LCCs it was 31%.

In addition, over a period of 10 years, the traditional scheduled segment lost 10% of its flights, including overflights (from 16,300 flights per day in 2007 to 14,700 flights/day in 2016). LCC flights increased to 61% (from 5,200/day in 2007 to 8,400 flights/day in 2016). This includes some direct transfer of flights to low-cost subsidiaries. The average annual growth rate (2007-2016) was -1% for the traditional scheduled segment as opposed to +5% for LCC.

This trend is also evident when comparing the evolution of traditional scheduled and low-cost in terms of traffic share for the five busiest countries. “For example, in 2016, low-cost’s share of traffic in the UK (52%) surpassed traditional scheduled (48%),”said Eurocontrol which added that the countries losing the most traditional scheduled traffic to low cost carriers have been Italy and France.

Most of Europe’s top 10 airports for traditional scheduled traffic have increasingly taken in LCC flights with the shift starkest in Rome Fiumicino, Madrid Barajas, Copenhagen Kastrup and Schiphol Amsterdam.

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