Airport Insight: Palma de Mallorca 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 Palma de Mallorca Airport (IATA: PMI; ICAO: LEPA) in the Balearic Islands, off the coast of Spain.

With the Balearic islands mainly a leisure destination for European holidaymakers, Palma de Mallorca Airport suffers very pronounced seasonal peaks and troughs. Handling less than one million monthly passengers during the low season between November and February, traffic more than quadruples in the peak summer months and actually exceeded four million monthly passengers in both July and August last year. This makes it the third busiest airport in Spain behind its mainland gateways in Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain has certainly gained from political instability and terrorism threats across other parts of the world and international arrivals have hit new highs. While the collapse last year of airberlin, formerly a leading airline in Palma, was a blow, the void has been quickly filled by others, and new arrivals including a new Balearics operation from Thomas Cook Airlines.

NETWORK: Palma de Mallorca Airport is a very different place dependant upon season. According to flight schedules from OAG for the week commencing 15-Jan-2018, a relatively quiet period, it is directly linked to 62 destinations. While domestic connectivity to the mainland is key (and accounts for around 70% of seats during the analysis period), its domestic network comprises just 16 destinations. The Palma de Mallorca route map is dominated this week by markets across Europe (44 non-stop destinations), complemented by two destinations in North Africa (Algiers in Algeria and Nador in Morocco). The European network covers 14 countries with the largest density of destinations being across Germany (17) and the United Kingdom (eight) – France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland are the only other nations where more than one airport is directly linked to Palma de Mallorca this week.

AIRLINES: Ryanair is the dominant carrier at Palma de Mallorca Airport with a 22.6% share of capacity, just ahead of local LCC rival Vueling with a 21.3% share of system seats during the week long analysis period. However, when you look at the data by movements it is Air Europa (25.1% share) and Iberia (18.8% share) that heading the rankings just ahead of Ryanair (18.5% share) and Vueling (17.8%) due to mainly to their operation of smaller aircraft on domestic routes. Together, in the current low season, these airlines account for more than four in every five commercial passenger flight movement. In the domestic market Air Europa has the largest capacity share this week (28.2% share), just ahead of Vueling. In the international market it is Ryanair (28.3% share) that heads up a list dominated by foreign and pan-European LCCs. This explains that despite the strong full service domestic flows, LCCs account for 63.8% of the system seats at Palma de Mallorca, increasing to a whopping 92.0% for international operations. The strong LCC sector means none of the global alliances dominates with SkyTeam holding the largest share of capacity (20.4%) thanks to Air Europa’s membership, ahead of oneworld (14.5% share), home of national carrier Iberia.


DESTINATIONS: The biggest route from Palma de Mallorca Airport based on this week’s schedule is to Barcelona El Prat Airport, which ranks ahead of Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport in the Spanish capital. These route pairs account for just under two thirds of the domestic capacity in Palma with 31.5% and 28.0% shares, respectively.  Germany currently dominates the international operations holding the top seven positions by weekly capacity. Berlin Tegel heads that list (9.9% share), ahead of Hamburg Helmut Schmidt (7.9% share) and Berlin’s other airport at Schönefeld (7.7% share).

CAPACITY: System capacity at Palma de Mallorca Airport has grown by more than a third over the past five years from 22 million annual seats in 2012 to more than 31 million in 2017.  Over the past three years seat capacity has risen at annual rates of +7.5% in 2015, +11.4% in 2016 and +7.9% in 2017 with last year’s performance seeing +12.5% gains in the domestic market (the fastest rate of growth over the past five years) and a +6.3% rise in international capacity. Looking ahead at published schedules and this year’s capacity is tracking down on 2017, with a forecast -10.3% fall in H1 capacity versus the same period last year and down -2.6% versus 2016.

TRAFFIC: After a flat performance in 2012 (-0.3%) and 2013 (+0.4%), traffic levels at Palma de Mallorca Airport have grown more strongly over the past three years. After rises of +1.5% in 2014 and +2.7% in 2015, traffic growth peaked in 2016 at +10.6%. Last year, the airport reported a healthy +6.5% rise in passenger numbers, ending the year handling just under 28 million passengers.

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