The airlines anticipate a new summer of tourist records in Spain

The airlines have definitely turned the page on the tourist crisis brought about by the pandemic and which plunged them into a pit of billion-dollar losses.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 March 2023 Thursday 08:24
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The airlines anticipate a new summer of tourist records in Spain

The airlines have definitely turned the page on the tourist crisis brought about by the pandemic and which plunged them into a pit of billion-dollar losses. Neither inflation nor global economic uncertainty seem to stop the demand for travel and airlines have scheduled 221.4 million seats at Aena airports in Spain for this summer season, 4.4% more than in the same season of 2019, a year of absolute tourist record in the country. Regarding commercial flights, these also increased by 1.2% for the campaign that begins on March 26 and ends on October 28. The summer season that is about to end also began with the largest offer of seats to fly in the history of Spain. The recovery is evident and in January and February of this 2023, the airports already transported more passengers than before the covid.

The airports from which the most seats are offered this summer are Barajas, with more than 44.5 million, and El Prat, with 37.2 million, 1% and 7% below those of 2019, respectively. Despite being lower in absolute value, the growth in other airports is much higher. These are the sun and beach tourist destinations, where the airlines have decided to bet more strongly than in other years. These are Palma de Mallorca, with 30.3 million seats offered (8%); Malaga-Costa del Sol, with 17.9 million (14%); Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández, with 12.3 million (4%); Ibiza, with 9.3 million beds (11%) and Gran Canaria, with 8.8 million (6%).

The airports that registered the greatest increase in their summer programming are those of Vitoria (96%), San Sebastián (51%), Zaragoza (48%), Asturias (36%), Santiago-Rosalía de Castro (35%), Salamanca (34%), Vigo (26%), Menorca (24%), Valencia (24%) and Seve Ballesteros-Santander (23%), although in absolute numbers they are well below those mentioned above.

By geographical areas, the Latin American and domestic markets stand out, which are above the levels of 2019 with an increase of 15% and 11% of the offer to fly. Among international routes, the Italian and French markets have increased by 10% compared to the summer of 2019, and the growth in Morocco (60%), Poland (46%) and Portugal (30%) stands out.

Programming in the summer season with the United Kingdom and Germany has practically recovered the level of 2019, with a 96% recovery in both markets. However, Aena recalls that the programming of these seats is always subject to changes by the airlines, which may vary their offer depending on demand and other circumstances.

During the two years of the pandemic, Aena provided the airlines with incentives specially designed for the situation caused by Covid-19. Now, given the recovery in traffic, the airport manager is recovering a commercial incentive similar to the one it offered to airlines before the pandemic, which will apply from April 1 to October 31 (summer season) and from November 1 to 31. March 2024 (winter).

This scheme encourages new routes to unserved destinations, growth in routes at airports with fewer than 3 million passengers, and growth in routes to Asia. The incentive consists of the reimbursement of 100% of the passenger's airport tariff corresponding to the number of passengers of each company that opens routes to destinations not served by the airport or that grow (with respect to the previous equivalent season), on the routes that operate in airports with fewer than 3 million passengers or with destinations in Asia. The maximum number of passengers to be encouraged by each company has a limit set by the number of passengers that the airline grows at the airport and in the total network.