- Passenger numbers: 4.7 million, +4.3% year-on-year;
- Load factor: 90.3%, +1.0 ppt.
easyJet passenger numbers up 4.3% in Jul-2009
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Vienna Airport: "too expensive" for Ryanair, but Eurowings & easyJet lead LCC driven growth
Passenger numbers at Vienna Airport grew by 2.5% in 2016 – a modest rate, but its highest since 2012. Restructuring by the Lufthansa owned Austrian Airlines, the airport's biggest airline, and a reputation for high fees, have constrained Vienna's passenger growth rate. Ryanair has called the airport "too expensive".
Nevertheless, the growth in traffic in 2016 was mainly driven by LCCs, particularly Eurowings (another Lufthansa Group company) and easyJet, more than offsetting reduction of its presence by the airport's number two airline, NIKI. LCC share at Vienna remains low by European standards, but it is growing.
The restructuring of airberlin, the airport's number three airline and effectively in operational control of NIKI, leads to uncertainty over the capacity plans of these two airlines in 2017.
However, another year of growth looks likely for Vienna, mainly driven by European routes (although the airport has ambitions to develop its long haul offer. Austrian is to return to more significant levels of capacity growth, particularly in Europe, and both Eurowings and easyJet are also planning further increases this year. Eurowings established its first non German base at Vienna only in Oct-2015, and could become the airport's number two carrier in 2017.
Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.