Airport Insight: Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport

Each day this year, The Blue Swan Daily uses the extensive insights available to CAPA – Centre for Aviation members to deliver a data snapshot on the world’s largest airlines and airports. Today, we feature Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport (IATA: LIS; ICAO: LPPT) in Portugal.

A major upgrade project may have recently been completed at Humberto Delgado Airport, previously known as Portela Airport serving the Portuguese capital Lisbon, which included the construction of a second terminal and addition of new commercial spaces, but additional capacity is still urgently required to serve the city’s expanding air transport needs. Until a final decision is made on a new airport for Lisbon the facility, operated by ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, under concession to VINCI Airports, will come under increasing pressure, especially as its home carrier, TAP Air Portugal is currently among the fastest growing hub airlines across Europe.

NETWORK: According to flight schedules from OAG for the week commencing 08-Jan-2018, Humberto Delgado Airport is directly linked to 127 destinations. Alongside being the largest facility in Portugal, the airport is also the gateway to the Portuguese archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic, and also a major European gateway to Brazil and across Africa, mainly through TAP Air Portugal’s network. There are currently non-stop links to 16 destinations in eleven countries across Africa and 14 destinations in four countries across Latin America, including eleven in Brazil – Belem, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Campinas, Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo.

AIRLINES: TAP Air Portugal is the largest operator from Humberto Delgado Airport with a 57.2% share of departure seats during the analysis period, ahead of European LCCs Ryanair (11.4%) and easyJet (7.4%). The next largest operators by capacity are a long way behind with Spanish carriers Vueling and Iberia each holding a 1.9% share with just over 10,000 weekly system seats. While three of the five largest operators in Lisbon are LCCs, the strong (and growing) hub operation of TAP Air Portugal and the fact that the capital city is on many network carriers route maps means that Full Service Carriers account for almost three in every four seats (73.7%). This also means that the three major global alliances account for over two thirds of the capacity (67.8%), with Star Alliance the dominant grouping through TAP’s membership.


DESTINATIONS: Madrid is the largest market linked to Humberto Delgado Airport with over 225 departing frequencies per week, ahead of Paris Orly and Barcelona El Prat. Important business links within Europe mean the major hubs of London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Amsterdam Schiphol then follow. European markets have exclusivity when looking at the top ten destinations by departure movements, but Luanda’s Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport in Angola breaks that exclusivity when you consider seat capacity. In the domestic market, Portugal’s second largest city of Porto is the largest air market from the capital with flights dominated by TAP Air Portugal’s ‘Ponte Aérea’ shuttle service (34.4% capacity share) which offers an at least hourly offer between the two cities from early morning until late evening with a half hourly schedule during peak times. Important domestic links to the country’s Atlantic archipelagos position Funchal’s Madeira International Airport, now renamed after famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (28.6% share) and Ponta Delgada’s João Paulo II Airport in the Azores (18.3% share) are ranked second and third ahead of the mainland point of Faro, the capital of southern Portugal’s Algarve region (9.0% share).

CAPACITY: A notable +15.9% growth in system capacity was recorded at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport in 2017, increasing to over 30 million seats for the first time. This was the fourth successive year of annual capacity gains and the third at a double-digit level. After seeing a small -1.0% decline in 2013, capacity growth of +12.8%, 9.3% and +10.8% was recorded in the subsequent years. This strong growth rate is expected to continue through 2018 with advanced schedules for the coming six months showing strong growth over last year’s figures for the first half of the year. This inventory growth is being driven by new international connectivity with Air Malta, airBaltic, Finnair and Joon all due to launch or resume flights to Lisbon this coming summer.

TRAFFIC: Enhanced connectivity has certainly helped to drive traffic growth at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport and it is expected to deliver record traffic levels. As at the end of Jul-2017, year over year passenger levels had grown a massive +21.3%, almost doubling the double-digit rates of growth reported in the previous years. With confirmation in the last month from the airport operator that just over eight million passengers were handled in the third quarter of 2017, up 16.0% year over year, it had already surpassed 2016’s annual total of 22.4 million passengers by the end of Sep-2017 and will certainly exceed the 25 million passenger milestone for the full year, surpassing 26 million and approaching 27 million for the full year.

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