All-2018 indicators – what’s working, what’s not – airlines in Europe – world’s top-3 no-frills-airlines


January-November data – which will be a near-match for all-2018 results.



Airlines in Europe

Our summary of traffic results for the leading airlines (not, where relevant, airline groups) in Europe. Excerpts from the current editions of WYSK: What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst,


Seat sales (RPKs for British; our estimates for Ryan), in alphabetical order: Air France (from February 2018 available only combined with KLM, but we now have obtained separated data) +0.4%; British +3%; Easyjet +7%; Lufthansa +5%; Ryanair +8%.


Notes (on notable details; on whole-group for Air France (=AFKL), British (=ICAG), Lufthansa (=LHG)):


AFKL a disappointing +3%, with AF hardly moving (see above) and KLM slowing; at +4%, compared with +10% in Q1, for example. Transavia at +7%, which is not as fast as a no-frills-airline should be. And still no data from Joon which, based on our calculations on data released by AFKL, did not sell any seats in 2018! (Where is AFKL hiding the figures – and why?)


ICAG looks good at +8%, but the problem is the slow growth at its biggest airline, British; is this pre-Brexit nerves? Our estimate has Iberia at +11%. And at its two lower-cost airlines, AerLingus was at +12% (our estimate), Vueling +10% (our estimate).


-Easyjet. Varying results; also pre-Brexit nerves?


LHG an impressive +10%.


But a negative move – the group is hiding data for Brussels and Eurowings. For some time these have been reported as a combined total, but we could calculate EW data by extracting data from Brussels. That has now stopped.


We find this LHG move strange because 1 LHG is usually more open than most groups; 2 The two airlines are/were doing well; 3 LHG separates out its other main subsidiaries, Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss.


However, we have made some calculations to estimate Brussels at +13%, Eurowings at +21%. As time passes, however, our estimates will become less strong, but we hope by then – six months? – LHG will have corrected this current backwards-step.


For LHG’s other three big airlines – Austrian +9%. Lufthansa +6%. Swiss +9%.


Ryanair. +8%, including its Lauda acquisition, although Lauda’s counts were not added to Ryan’s 2017 counts. This means the comparison is not correct, but we estimate the difference is less than 1pt.


Others of note:

Virgin Atlantic had another bad year, about +3%; previous five years – flat, -10%, -3%, +1%, +8%. And the outlook does not look good. Perhaps its business-model – bright, friendly, full service – is no longer there? Has it been superseded by bright-friendly-cheap, such as at Norwegian? And why has VA not opened more routes? Surely owners Delta and Air France (a stunningly bad recent move) are looking to get out – but how?


Talking of Norwegian, it is still looking ok at +13%, but will Brexit reduce its routes? It operates more than a few routes out of the UK, technically 5th-freedoms. The UK might not change this (it is desperate to keep as much unchanged post-Brexit as it can), but will the other countries? Will, for instance, the US allow a Norwegian airline to fly UK-US?


-Much data shows Asia Pacific as the region with great potential. If so, Europe’s airlines are not doing well at capitalising on that. At the AFKL group, growth on its Asia Pacific routes was +3%, matching group growth. But results were not so good compared with their totals at ICAG (+1% AsPac, +8% total) at LHG (+3% +10%).




World’s top-3 no-frills-airlines

Our calculation of seats sold by the leading NFAs (no-frills-airlines) January-November in the world’s three main regions, from WYSK:What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst, shows: Ryanair +8%; Southwest +4%. Air Asia is less transparent, reporting Qs only; Q3 +9%; other Q3s Ryanair +5%, Southwest +4%.




The Fox. Remember, I’m an industry expert in the parallel world.

*Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.