Low cost airlines transport 72% of Faro airport passengers
Almost three quarters of passengers who travel through Faro airport (72 percent) do so with low cost airlines. These companies have said they are not expecting to be affected by the ongoing economic crisis.
Ryanair, Easyjet and Jet2 expect the number of flights and the number of passengers this summer to remain similar to those of 2011, with British low cost airline Jet2 predicting an increase in its figures due to their new route to Belfast, opened at the end of May.
With two million passengers out of a total 2.77 million in 2011, the low cost airlines represent around 72 percent who depart or arrive from Faro, according to data from the national tourist board.
Although the summer compensates for fewer passengers during the low season and lower occupancy rates, the low cost airlines prefer discussing annual figures as a whole.
The current leader for the number of routes, flights and passengers is Ryanair, which this year hopes to transport 1.7 million passengers to and from Faro, compared with 1.52 million passengers transported last year to and from its 30 destinations, 29 international and one to Oporto.
It was announced at the start of this month that Ryanair’s direct flight between Oporto-Faro has already transported 230,000 people since it was inaugurated in September 2009, and is used more and more frequently by families from the north for their holidays to the Algarve, said a spokesman from Ryanair.
With prices that can drop below €30 for a return flight, this is the only route between two Portuguese cities operated by a foreign company.
Between 2010 and 2011, the only fully complete years of low-cost operations to Oporto, the number of passengers increased 17 percent and the number of daily flights in the summer reached two flights each way per day on Boeing 737s, which travelled at at least 80 percent capacity.
A spokesman from the company told Lusa News Agency that the occupancy rate for all of its flights is around 80 percent, but considers this will increase during the months of July and August.
Seasonality has a large impact on the number of passengers transported to and from Faro, “despite the low fares available throughout the year” said the spokesman.
Easyjet however said that this year it has had an average occupancy rate of 86.1 percent in the 1,634 flights it had carried out until the end of May to and from Faro, with more than 225,000 passengers having been transported.
With 1.1 million passengers transported last year, Easyjet is the second low cost airline with the most routes and passengers operating from Faro airport and predicts its figures for this year will be on a par with last year’s.
The airline also plans to open a route between Faro and Basel this year, while Ryanair has not yet announced whether it will also open this route.
The fifth airline operating at Faro, based on passenger numbers transported in 2011 (303,000), Jet2 says that only next year will it evaluate the possibility of new routes for the Algarvian capital.
With eight weekly routes, all to and from the UK, Jet2 says that it has an 80 percent occupancy rate for its Boeing 737 and 757.
The airline has not revealed data on its most recent operations, but it said that there are 356,738 places available for this summer.
Jet2’s sister company Jet2Holidays provides its clients with the possibility of booking holiday packages including flights, transfers and hotels, and this summer will be working with 95 different hotels in the Algarve region.
According to a source from the airport, overall, the top five low cost airlines operating at Faro airport are Ryanair, which transported 1.52 million passengers in 2011, Easyjet (1.1 million passengers), Monarch (537,000 passengers), Transavia (380,000 passengers) and Jet2 (303,000 passengers).
Last year, aside from the low cost airlines, traditional flights transported around 435,000 passengers, and charter flights flew 331,000 people.