Southern Europe-US airline traffic growing at 12% p/a

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Air routes from southern Europe to the United States make up a small part of the North Atlantic market, comprising only five countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Serbia, in order of size).

Nevertheless, this segment is growing fast. Over the past five years, it has grown seat numbers at an average of 12% pa - twice the rate of the total Europe-US market.

This growth will be maintained in the year to Jun-2019, driven by a number of new services. In summer 2019, new services from these southern European countries to the US include one from Spain, six from Italy, three from Portugal and one from Greece.

The big three US airlines account for three of the top four airlines by seats on southern Europe-US, with only Iberia from Europe ranking in the top four. However, US airlines have been outgrown by European airlines, so that both groups have almost the same capacity, with airlines such as Norwegian, Air Italy and LEVEL having made their presence felt in recent years. This market segment also includes Emirates as a fifth freedom operator from both Italy (Milan-New York) and Greece (Athens-New York).

The southern North Atlantic is underserved with direct connections, partly as a result of the northern European focus of the JVs in the global alliances. Its dynamic growth looks set to continue.

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