Europe's top 20 airline groups by passengers 2023: Ryanair's lead is set to endure

Premium Analysis

The 2023 rankings of Europe's top 20 airline groups by passenger numbers are very similar to their pre-pandemic order of 2019.

Collectively, the top 20 airline groups increased passenger numbers by 17% year-on-year, and were only 3% short of their 2019 traffic level. The seven LCCs among the top 20 fared better, and collectively carried 8% more passengers than in 2019.

Ryanair Group extended its lead as Europe's biggest airline group by passenger numbers in 2023. Its 182 million passengers in the calendar year gave it a huge lead over second-placed Lufthansa Group's 123 million.

The gap of 59 million was more than the annual passenger count of Wizz Air Group.

Ryanair carried 97 million more passengers than the next biggest low cost airline group, easyJet. This gap was more than Air France-KLM Group's annual traffic.

The three planned acquisitions by the leading legacy groups would not change the rankings: Ryanair's lead looks set to endure.

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