Schedules data from Innovata for May shows the Barcelona El Prat-Madrid Barajas routing as the largest by capacity in Europe for low-cost carriers and the busiest intra-European routing on the continent.
Air Europa, Iberia and low-cost carrier Vueling all operate on the route, which outstrips Barcelona-Palma as the largest route by capacity for low-cost operators and Izmir-Istanbul Ataturk as the biggest intra-European route.
Barcelona, where Vueling has been rapidly expanding to fill the void left by the collapse of Spanair in January last year, figures among five of the ten largest routes by low-cost carrier capacity. Despite the loss of Spanair last year, passenger numbers grew at Barcelona El Prat airport last year by 2% - in stark contrast to the 9% fall at Madrid Barajas as carriers cut capacity amid Spain's flagging economy.
France and Turkey are among the busiest intra-European routes by weekly available seats Innovata schedules data for May shows. Istanbul to Antalya and Ankara join the Izmir connection among the ten biggest, while Paris Orly flights to Toulouse and Nice contribute are also among the busiest routes. The highly prized Milan Linate-Rome Fiumicino business route - on which EasyJet earlier this year broke the Alitalia/Air One monopoly which has existed since the Italian carriers' merger - also features among the leading 10 intra-European connections. All but the London Heathrow-Dublin link of the 10 biggest routes by capacity in May are domestic connections.
Heathrow remains the biggest European intercontinental market - Innovata data showing eight of the 10 leading routes by weekly seats in May operating from the UK airport. The connection to New York JFK was the biggest in May, outstripping Dubai and Singapore connections. Other transatlantic routes from Heathrow, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Newark, all featured among the 10 biggest in May.
Lufthansa was the biggest carrier by ASK in May's on flight from Europe, followed by British Airways and Air France. Ryanair and Easyjet were the biggest of the low-cost operators, for whom the shorter sector lengths mean they have relatively lower ASK levels then their network rivals. Emirates was the largest non-European opeator of flights to the continent in May, ahead of the US pair Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.
Heathrow was the biggest European airport by seats in May, ahead of Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Istanbul Ataturk