With more than 600 million seats available on European routes this winter, Routes revealed the markets and airlines driving the capacity growth.

Airline capacity on European routes will accelerate by more than 7% during winter 2018/19, Route’s analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data has found, with Germany and Spain among the countries driving the growth.

According to the latest filed data, there will be more than 611 million available seats on offer on routes to/from and within Europe, a rise of 7.4% on 2017/18 and up by 33.4% compared with five years ago.

The winter season, which runs from 28 October 2018 to 30 March 2019, is a week longer than the comparable period last year so the figures have been adjusted to reflect the difference.

The global picture

When analysing the growth in seat numbers from Europe to each region in the world, the highest percentage increase is on services to Africa this winter.

Compared to winter 2017/18, the number of available departure seats will rise by 10.7% to in excess of 15 million. However, routes between Europe and Africa account for less than 3% of the total seats available.

Capacity on routes from Europe to Asia will rise 10.1%, while Latin America and the Middle East will each increase by 8.1%. The number of available departure seats on services to North America will rise by 7.9% and intra-Europe routes will grow by 7.1%.

Close the gap

The UK remains top of the capacity rankings in Europe, with almost 65.5 million scheduled departure seats in winter 2018/19 season, a rise of 3.1% compared with last year. The 2017/18 figure has been adjusted as the season was a week shorter than in 2018/19.

However, Germany in second place is rapidly closing the gap. There will be almost 6.1 million more departure seats this winter compared with last, a rise of 10.9%.

Although Germany’s winter 2017/18 season was affected by the collapse of Air Berlin, the lost capacity was quickly filled by flag carrier Lufthansa and low-cost carriers Ryanair, easyJet and Eurowings among others.

Looking at the total number of departure seats added this winter compared with last, Spain is second to Germany with a planned increase of almost 4.5 million seats. This represents year-on-year growth of 8.8%.

Russia ranks third in the total number of departure seats added, while Italy is fourth and France fifth.

In terms of fastest-growing markets, Gibraltar tops the list with expected year-on-year growth of 32% thanks to capacity increases from British Airways and easyJet. This comes after the territory’s schedule for winter 2017/18 was badly affected by the collapse of Monarch in October 2017.

Routes organise and operate world-renowned route development events, held in key markets throughout the year and hosted by a different airport or destination each time.

2019 will see regional events in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa, as well as the flagship development forum, World Routes, to be held in Australia.