Data in the sky - Winter 2016

Air traffic analysis is key to understanding the different segments. At Europair, we examine in detail the priority European Union markets. This enables us not only to observe trend developments and identify new business opportunities, but also to offer our customers and suppliers very valuable, comprehensive and constantly updated information. Here we present to you the new "Data in the Sky - Winter Season", where you can view the most relevant air traffic data and interact easily with the charts.

All the charts have been developed using data from AENA and Eurocontrol. They exclusively reflect outbound operation data.

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Interactive graphics

The Winter Season…...

... runs from the last week of October to the third week of March, always coinciding with the European Union countries’ autumn and springtime changing of the clocks. The type of requests and passenger profiles are very different for the summer and winter seasons. That’s why IATA established the two seasons that govern the aviation industry’s commercial flights calendar.

Temporada 2015-2016

How has this season been in Spain?


~ 34.700.000 passengers
12 %


~ 290.000 flights
8 %

Much better than last season, it seems! However, it’s a good idea to look into the detail of these figures, as they conceal a lot of surprising information. In this report we will discover many interesting air traffic characteristics. Let's begin.

Historical traffic and market share

In the first chart we can see that this season has gone much better than the last one, but not for every traffic segment.

The good news is that the total number of scheduled flights has increased by 9%. However, charter traffic has fallen by 3% (a downward trend in the last few years).

Within 10 seasons, there has been a loss of more than 35% of charter traffic.

But do charter flights constitute much of the market share?

Actually, no, just 8,6% (~25.000).

It’s not a very high percentage, but it’s a type of seasonal holiday traffic that is crucial for certain tourism markets.

Evolution by month

When we look in detail, we see that there aren’t great differences between the two seasons of scheduled air traffic.

The month of February, 2016 showed a small improvement; this was due to, amongst other factors, the fact that February this year had one extra day.

It was similar with charter air traffic, which showed a big difference in the month of November 2016 compared to the previous year.

In February 2016 the same thing happened with scheduled traffic. What a difference the extra day makes!

Airports and airlines

Now that we know the market share and trends concerning scheduled and charter flights, would you be interested in seeing the distribution of each of the AENA network airports? This treemap chart is interactive and has 3 layers. The first shows each airport’s volume of operations market share; the second indicates the weight of scheduled and charter traffic, and the third, the main airlines for each segment. Hold your cursor over the second layer for a moment to see the total figure. You may navigate using the two buttons on your mouse.

Do you know the codes? Look at this amazing map to see more information on our airports!

Top airlines


10 years ago, the national airlines dominated scheduled air traffic. Currently, Ryanair is the leading airline in Spain, followed closely by Vueling. Easyjet and Air Berlin are the other foreign airlines appearing in the top 10.

For charter traffic, and other commercial services such as air cargo, private aviation and helicopters, the strong northern European component stands out.




These maps show the countries that you can fly to from Spain. The darker the shade, the greater the number of operations (place your cursor above the country to see the number). The first map shows the domestic market, which is not shown on the world map.

No surprise: the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy are the main scheduled traffic markets.

Belgium, Holland and Switzerland also occupy an important part of this segment.

Note the extensive coverage of countries in North and South America.


As regards charter traffic, the United Kingdom market continues to be the leader, followed by Sweden (which has almost exactly as many scheduled as charter flights!) and Germany.

The other Nordic countries also stand out.

Traffic Flow


The following charts (Sankey diagrams) are very interesting, showing the outbound traffic flow from the Spanish peninsular airports and those of the Canary and Balearic Islands, to every country. Place your cursor above every line to see the total number of flights.

It’s clear that the scheduled traffic is concentrated in the domestic market. However, scheduled flights to the United Kingdom and Germany from the Canary Islands show a very interesting share.


Concerning charter traffic, the Canary Islands market is almost as large as that of the peninsula. The routes to northern Europe comprise the bulk of this traffic segment.

Main routes

These charts – which are reminiscent of old hifi minisystems equalizers – are histograms and in this report represent the top 50 routes by volume of flights. In intervals of 3,000 flights for scheduled routes and 150 flights for charter routes. Place the cursor above each block to see the route.

Looking in detail at scheduled traffic, we see that the five main routes are domestic ones. However, if we were to count the flights to the metropolitan area of London, the City would be in second position.

For charter routes, the strong foreign component is evident. In the top 10, half of the routes are national, flying to the main airports (Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Majorca...).


We did not want to omit from the study the aeronautical sector’s most charismatic protagonist: the aircraft. While Airbus and Boeing are manufacturers par excellence, there are others which are no less important, such as ATR, Embraer, Bombardier ... These manufacturers’ aircraft, which usually have fewer than 120 seat-capacity, cover secondary European markets, regional and charter routes.

Concerning scheduled traffic, 50% of the total consists of the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 models, while charter traffic is evenly distributed over a great variety of aircraft models and manufacturers, from cargo aircraft (Boeing 737-400) to jets (Cessna Citation).

The Winter Season in Europe

Historical evolution

After studying the Spanish market, we move to the continent. Then we analyse the most representative of the data, such as the evolution of operations and segment market share of each country. To close this report, we have prepared an eye-catching interactive chord diagram of the flow of flights between countries. The source of this data is Eurocontrol

According to aggregate data from all the countries, the traditional segment has maintained a stable trend for the last few seasons and even improved during the latest season. Low-cost traffic continues to grow apace. However, the situation is the opposite for the charter and executive aviation segments: it has been going down season after season (especially in the charter segment).


These maps show the market share of each segment, in percentages.

As regards the traditional flight segment (in grey), the Scandinavian countries stand out for their high share (with percentages generally over 60 %) while the levels for the rest of western Europe are approximately 50%. Whereas for the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, the low-cost traffic segment (in yellow) accounts for a significant share of its total traffic.

Concerning the charter segment (in blue), note that the Norwegian operator Wideroe is running charter flights (whereas it used to solely run scheduled flights). For this reason, Norway stands out in this market segment. Independently of this fact, the importance of charter traffic for the Scandinavian countries is clear. Lastly, the executive aviation segment (in red) has always been more established in the predominant European economies, as is the case with France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Total traffic flows

This chart shows the flow of flights between countries in the winter season for every segment. The larger the radius, the greater the volume of operations. Similarly, the thicker the line connecting two countries, the bigger the increase in traffic flow. Place your cursor over a country or a line to see the total flow. Explore this chart and come to your own conclusions! (In case you need them, the codes)

Traffic flow by segments

If you’re interested in seeing the flow by segments, click on each chart.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this report! Just let us know if you’d like a personalised report or market analysis.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the market, Europair is the leading air broker in Spain, and the only one with both of the quality certifications: ISO 9001 and the "Q" for tourism quality.