It’s a hot start to the summer at western Europe’s leading airports; Antalya holds the top spot in terms of capacity growth

The warm weather conditions that much of western Europe has enjoyed in July has been replicated in terms of seat growth at the major airports across the Continent. Analysis by The Blue Swan Daily of schedule data from OAG shows that overall departure capacity in Europe rose +4.6% year-on-year versus the same month in 2017. Among Europe’s largest 100 airports, 79 showed a rise in capacity, with popular leisure destinations of Gran Canaria and Heraklion replacing Faro and Milan Linate in the ‘Top 50’ and Kos and Verona arriving in the ‘Top 100’, when compared to last year’s listing.


  • The Blue Swan Daily analysis of western European flight schedules shows departure capacity rose +4.6% in Jul-2018, versus the same month last year;
  • The ten largest airports in western Europe – including its major hub airports – all reported year-on-year rises in July capacity in 2018, versus 2017;
  • The renaissance in demand into Turkey helped Antalya Airport to deliver the largest growth with Jul-2018 seat capacity up more than a third (+33.4%);
  • Birmingham Airport in the UK was the largest airport to see a double-digit decline in year-on-year capacity for the month (-11.5%).

At the top of the scale the ‘Top 10’ airports remained the same as Jul-2017, although positioned changed as year-on-year July growth rates varied between +0.1% and +7.9%. Frankfurt International was the airport at the top end of that scale rising to become Europe’s second largest airport by departure capacity during the month, while Madrid Adolfo Suarez-Barajas saw a +7.3% rise in departure seats. London Heathrow (+0.6%), Istanbul Ataturk (+0.6%) and London Gatwick (+0.1%) saw capacity rise at modest rates of less than +1.0%.

CHART – All of Europe’s ‘Top 10’ airports reported year-on-year rises in departure capacity in Jul-2018 with Frankfurt reporting the highest growth rateSource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG 

Growth was the trend among Europe’s ‘Top 25’ largest airports in Jul-2018 with just two reporting year-on-year declines in departure capacity – Manchester (-1.9%) and Dusseldorf International (-6.0%). Antalya was the fastest riser with seat capacity up more than a third (+33.4%), while Athens International also reported double-digit growth (+17.4%).

Into the ‘Top 50’ notable capacity rises were seen at Milan Malpensa (+10.6), Helsinki Vantaa (+15.1%), Izmir Adnan Menderes (+20.6%), while Porto and Reykjavik Keflavik International (both +9.4%) almost reached double-digit growth levels versus the same month last year. Birmingham Airport was the largest airport to see a double-digit decline in year-on-year capacity for the month (-11.5%). With +22.1% and +7.4% growth, respectively, Heraklion and Gran Canaria replaced Milan Linate (-4.0%) and Faro (-5.7%) in the ‘Top 50’.

Looking at the wider ‘Top 100’, Catania (+10.8%) and Larnaca (+21.0%) just missed out on entering the ‘Top 50’, while large capacity rises were recorded by Thessaloniki (+14.6%), Malta (+12.8%), Hannover (+12.2%), Palermo (+12.2%), Nantes Atlantique (+11.4%), Belfast International (13.0%), Bodrum Milas (+18.6%), Dalaman (+11.3%), Kerkyra (+18.4%), Tenerife Norte (+23.4%) and Seville (+27.9%). Kos (+27.7%) replaced Trabzon in the ‘Top 100’ ranking.