Low-cost airlines are catching TAP on passenger share

  • ECO News
  • 12 August 2021

Ryanair, Easyjet and Transavia are catching up in passenger numbers. TAP still leads by a wide margin, but the gap has narrowed in the second quarter.

TAP had the largest passenger share, by far, at national airports in the second quarter, with 33.9% of passengers carried. But the low-cost carriers are catching up faster, narrowing the gap to the flag carrier, which has an aggressive restructuring plan underway.

ANAC’s statistical bulletin only discloses the passenger share per airport. Calculating the overall weight, the main low-cost companies were able to get closer to TAP’s passenger share in the second quarter, a period marked by a strong recovery in air traffic. Ryanair, Easyjet and Transavia together carried 41.7% of passengers in the second quarter, as opposed to 33.9% for TAP. In the previous quarter, the three low-cost airlines (35.2%) did not reach TAP’s numbers (39.8%).

The decline in TAP’s passenger share is explained by the faster growth of low-cost airlines. Extrapolating the share to passenger numbers, it is possible to conclude that TAP has a growth rate of 137%, or 662,000 passengers. Ryanair, meanwhile, is ramping up by 292% or 536,000 passengers, Easyjet by 162% or 266,000 passengers and Transavia by 224% or 181,000 passengers.

TAP’s weight in air transport during the second quarter was also below that recorded in the same period of 2019, before the pandemic, when the company carried 35.9% of passengers passing through the airports of Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and Ponta Delgada. At that time, the three main low-cost carriers in Portugal accounted for 34.6% of the total.

The second quarter has also shown a strong recovery in air traffic in Portugal. The latest statistical bulletin from ANAC reports 54,000 passengers moving through national airports, twice the number recorded between January and March, and almost five times more than in the same period last year.