Low-cost carriers responsible for capacity boom in Eastern Europe.
LONDON – Growth in Eastern European low-cost carriers (LCCs) is continuing to surge, according to OAG’s new report, ‘Eastern Europe – low-cost and loving it’, with Poland’s LCC’s generating a third of all seats in the region including an increase of more than 100,000 seats in February 2016 vs February 2015.
OAG, the global leader in air travel intelligence, is reporting that in February 2016, there is a 14% increase in Eastern European LCC seats vs February 2015, amounting to 32,500 more seats between Poland and the UK. Over half of this UK capacity growth is to Stansted and Luton Airports from regional airports across Poland, as well as strong growth to Bristol and Birmingham Airports.
Poland is the largest of the Eastern European air transport markets with the main players, Ryanair, LOT and Wizz Air, occupying 28%, 25% and 20% of the market, respectively.
John Grant, senior analyst, OAG, says: “Whilst the Eastern European market shows strong growth, there is still room to grow further. Ryanair and Wizz Air have consistently been penetrating the Eastern European market, squeezing competitors out of the way. Both airlines share a similar pattern of growth; if they were to ever combine, collectively, they would operate 13% of intra-European capacity taking the number one spot in five countries and number two spot in another five countries.”
Historically, Eastern Europe’s airline capacity has shown an impressive upward growth of 8% for the month of February between 2009 and 2014. This continues to be the trend for February 2015 and 2016 as OAG’s report reveals an increase of 9% for the month each year. With 3.8 million airline seats for February 2016 in the region, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria together account for 85% of that growth, taking their place as the five largest markets.
The LCC market is a key driver of capacity growth in February 2016 within the five largest Eastern European markets, with Hungary reporting a 60% share, Poland a 54% share, Romania 52%, and Bulgaria and Czech Republic both with a 34% share each. Poland’s seats to and from each market is also significantly higher than the other four countries with 1,266,388 in February 2016 – up from 858,076 in February 2010.
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