Seven Shocking Facts About European Airline Seat Capacity

While I follow airline products around the world I’m much closer to the changes and business operations of US airlines than European ones.

So sometimes developments creep up on my. So let me share some surpising things that I learned perusing data from the this week’s issue of Airline Weekly:

  1. Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub is the largest in Europe by number of seats flown scheduled July through September by a single airline group. It’s bigger than Lufthansa’s Munich hub and Swiss’ Zurich hub combined. Yet Lufthansa Group’s biggest year-over-year growth is in Dusseldorf followed by Brussels and Cologne.

    Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Frankfurt

  2. Data point for the constant tug-o-war between Paris and Amsterdam within Air France KLM: Amsterdam has more seats scheduled by Air France KLM than Paris Charles de Gaulle, but the two Paris airports dwarf the Netherlands operation.

    KLM Lounge Houston

  3. IAG’s Iberia flies more combined seats out of Madrid and Barcelona than British Airways does out of Heathrow. Dublin is now a bigger operation for IAG than London Gatwick.

    British Airways Boeing 747

  4. Now that Alitalia has consolidated itself as a Rome-based carrier, it flies more seats out of each of Palermo, Naples, and Bari than it does out of Milan Malpensa. And the Milan operation has actually grown more year-over-year than any of those other airports. So this happened some time ago — time to update my priors. (The biggest carrier at Malpensa is easyJet.)

  5. Airberlin does fly more seats out of Berlin than Dusseldorf, if only by a little. They get to keep their name.

  6. Ryanair’s biggest operation is London Stansted. easyJet’s biggest operation is London Gatwick. Both Ryanair and easyJet fly twice as many seats out of secondary London-area airports as British Airways does.

  7. Virgin Atlantic is only the fifth-largest airline in London (across all airports). It’s smaller in seat-share than Lufthansa and barely larger than Wizz Air.

    London Heathrow Terminal 5

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary was “shocked” just like Captain Renault was shocked at the gambling in CASABLANCA. What a movie; they don’t make them like that anymore. Nor do we have actors like those anymore.

  2. Yet again, Gary shells out data from a pay subscription to the masses. I don’t mind because I get to freeload, but I’m shocked (get it?!) that Gary’s subscription hasn’t been cancelled yet for repeatedly posting data that you’re supposed to be paying for (like last week’s post containing the table on AA’s growth/decline from each hub).

    And Gary, you know that headline is clickbait. You may never admit it here, but if you’re honest with yourself, you know it. You used the word “Shocking” in the title for the sole purpose of driving clicks to an article that contains nothing shocking, even with a subjective interpretation of the word. These facts could accurately be described as “interesting,” or perhaps “fascinating,” or a bunch of other adjectives. But something that’s “shocking” makes your jaw drop, shout “oh my god!” and spit out your coffee – and unless you’re truly wired differently than the rest of us, learning that Air Berlin flies more seats out of Berlin than Dusseldorf does not qualify.

    I have always appreciated the information presented in your blog, but I’m finding myself coming back here less and less because of the increasingly annoying way in which that information is presented to us.

  3. This is the type of fluff / filler we use on your tax blog when there is NOTHING else to report or I am too lazy to find something or on holiday.

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