Over half of flights now low-cost, finds Amadeus research

More than half of all flights from the UK (52%) are now operated by low-cost carriers (LCC), a rise of 4% on 2011, new research out today reveals.

Spain has the highest share of departing LCC traffic in Europe at 57%, followed by the UK. Meanwhile, 65% of all air travel in the Philippines and 61% of all air travel in Thailand is made on low-cost carriers.

LCC penetration is highest in Europe at 38% and North America at 30%

The new analysis from Amadeus Air Traffic Travel Intelligence shows that worldwide air traffic grew by 5% between 2011 and 2012, with Asia being the largest, fastest-growing and most competitive market.

Asia saw year-on-year growth of 9%, followed by Latin America, at 6%.

The study also highlights that 22% of all global air travel is concentrated on just 300 ‘super routes’, each of which carries more than one million passengers a year.

Furthermore, 69% of all global air travel is made on major routes with 100,000 annual passengers.


The Middle East is a strong performer for connecting traffic, with the three key airports of Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai all showing high traffic volumes, serving about 15% of all air traffic between Asia and Europe and from Europe to the southwest Pacific.

Europe-Asia traffic routed via the Middle East is growing at roughly 20% a year.

Asia is the world’s most competitive aviation market with 75% of routes served by three or more airlines and just 25% of routes by one or two carriers, according to the study.

Analysis of the busiest routes in the world by passenger volume shows that seven out of the top ten world’s busiest air travel routes are in Asia.

Jeju-Seoul in South Korea is the world’s busiest route, while Beijing-Shanghai has risen from seventh-busiest route to fourth-busiest in 2012.

Sapporo-Tokyo has overtaken Rio de Janeiro-Sao Paulo to second-busiest route ranking, and Okinawa-Tokyo has entered the top ten table, as ninth-busiest route in the world.

Globally, the airline industry has become consistently more competitive over the past three years. The percentage of air traffic served by just one or two airlines has fallen by 2% each year from 39% in 2010 to 35% in 2012.

Concurrently, the percentage of air traffic with four or more competing airlines has also risen consistently from 35% in 2010 to 38% in 2012, the research shows.

Amadeus head of travel intelligence Pascal Clement, Head said: “The rapid pace of change and increasing competitiveness of the global airline industry, as evidenced by this data, means airlines and the wider travel industry increasingly need to base operational decision-making on data insights and analytics, in order to identify opportunities and risks as they emerge.

“This data provides good news for the airline industry, showing that passenger air traffic has increased in every region of the world from 2011 to 2012. As in 2011, this growth is led by Asia, however, the data points to a further opportunity in the region, where the majority of traffic is on a small number of busy routes.”

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