Home » Aviation: Report shows Europe’s Largest Low Cost Airlines by Number Of Routes as Ryanair Dominates Short-Haul Travel With 2,398 Routes

Aviation: Report shows Europe’s Largest Low Cost Airlines by Number Of Routes as Ryanair Dominates Short-Haul Travel With 2,398 Routes

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Low Cost Airlines

Measuring the size of an airline often involves various factors, but the number of routes is not commonly used as a benchmark.

However, when it comes to assessing Europe’s leading low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers, the count of routes they operate in September is a revealing metric.

According to simpleflying.com, In this context, we will explore the top five airlines in Europe based on their extensive route networks for the month of September.

5) Jet2
The British operator has 379 routes in September, making it Europe’s fifth-largest LCC by this measure. According to Cirium, it presently has 10 UK bases, of which Manchester has the most flights. Jet2’s destination network comprises 57 airports, with Palma, Tenerife South, Faro, Alicante, and Antalya being the most served.

Examining its 379-strong network reveals that Manchester to Palma has more flights than any other route this month. It has a typical 23-weekly service, well above the carrier’s system average of about four weekly. This month, it uses the 737-800, 757-200, A321neo, and A330 on the 982-mile (1,591 km) route.

READ: Aviation: Low-Cost Carriers Rank higher than Legacy Airlines for Passenger Satisfaction while Luxury Hotels lead others in Survey

4) Eurowings
In fourth place is Eurowings, the Lufthansa Group unit. It has 400 routes, of which 386 are international and 14 are domestic (within Germany). While Germany is very much its backbone, it has bases in other nations. It serves 19 airports in Germany, with Düsseldorf inevitably its most-served airport.

Some 37 countries are served in Europe, North Africa, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, with Spain, Italy, and Greece the top three by flights. More interesting, perhaps, are its less-discussed visiting friends and relatives-driven countries, such as Iraq, Bosnia, Armenia, Georgia, Romania, and more. Still, with 60 weekly departures, Düsseldorf to Palma is its number one route.

3) Wizz Air
ULCC Wizz Air has 776 routes that touch Europe (based on its various units), meaning it ranks third. All but 16 routes are international. Its only domestic services are in Italy, which became its top country during the pandemic, up from sixth in pre-pandemic September 2019.

The Wizz Air Group’s network comprises 176 airports that are in, or linked to, Europe. London Luton – which has more flights than any other airport – to Bucharest is its leading route (26 weekly). It has nearly a quarter more services than the number two airport pair, London Luton to Budapest (21 weekly).

2) easyJet
In second place is LCC easyJet. It has 1,018 routes in September, of which 209 are domestic. ‘Only’ 79% are international, by far the lowest proportion of all five carriers, with the others all having 90% or more. easyJet’s domestic routes are in France, Italy, Portugal, and the UK.

easyJet remains heavily welded to the UK. The country, one of 33 in its network this month, accounts for more than a third of its flights. It has more than twice as many services from the UK as France, its next most-served country. easyJet has 431 UK routes: 384 international and 47 domestic.

The LCC’s portfolio comprises 147 airports in the analyzed month, of which London Gatwick, Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Luton, and Bristol are its busiest five. Yet its leading route is between Paris Orly and Nice (49 weekly), beating Gatwick-Faro in second place (44 weekly).

1) Ryanair
To no one’s surprise, ULCC Ryanair is first Europe-wide. It has 2,398 routes, well over twice as many as easyJet. Ryanair is so large that it now provides one in seven of Europe’s short-haul flights. Given the ULCC’s high-capacity Boeing 737-800s and MAXs, it rises to one in six seats for sale.

Ryanair serves 228 airports in 36 countries, of which Italy, Spain, and the UK are its top three by flights. They are so dominant that they account for 54% of its services. The ULCC hopes to grow to 300 million passengers in the next decade.

While Ireland is ‘only’ Ryanair’s fourth-largest country, Dublin to London Stansted – connecting its two busiest airports – remains its top route (56 weekly). Six of its busiest 10 routes remain between Dublin and the UK, a market that underpinned its very early years and which remain key.

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