The relatively short-hop between the capitals of the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland remains the largest international market in Europe. Analysis of schedule data for the last week shows that the London – Dublin city pair has the largest number of seats, just ahead of the London – New York route into second stop. In fact among the top ten international city pairs to/from/within Europe, nine begin or end in London.
Elsewhere, five of the routes involve cities in Spain, including two to/from Barcelona (the only other city outside London to feature more than once in the list). All ten are very competitive, with between four and eight airlines operating on every city pair and low cost airlines have a higher share of seats on these routes than they do across Europe as a whole.
London’s importance is driven by several factors, including the city’s strengths as a centre for culture, tourism, sport, business and finance. Demand for air travel to/from London is also boosted by the UK’s status as an island, while the London – Dublin market that leads the way (with flights from five different London airports) has the ideal traffic combination comprising leisure, VFR and business demand.
While this analysis is just a snapshot in time, and by definition does not encompass the whole European aviation market, it does illustrate a number of themes and trends that currently characterise this market.