Report confirms UK’s love affair with no-frills air travel

A new report has put forward figures suggesting that not only does the UK’s love affair with no-frills air travel show no signs of cooling, but that the demand is actually continuing to grow.

The figures have been announced by OAG, a company that compiles aviation data, and they show that no-frills airlines have grown their monthly capacity in the UK from around four million international seats in 2003, to the 8.8 million seats that will be available this month. This puts the UK firmly at the top of the low-cost capacity league table, a full 1.4 million seats ahead of Spain, which takes second place with 7.4 million international seats.

The growth in low-cost air travel capacity over the last 10 years easily outstrips that of standard-service air travel, by a ratio of 14 percent per annum to 1 percent per annum. Ryanair and UK-based easyjet are the dominant players in the field, together accounting for over 50 percent of European no-frills capacity. Ryanair has around 33 percent of all seats, with easyjet claiming 21 percent.

OAG’s executive vice president, John Grant, commented, ‘While it’s no surprise that LCCs are increasing capacity at a faster rate than their legacy counterparts, the actual rate at which low-cost airlines are growing their market share is quite astonishing. In the last 12 months alone, the UK’s international LCC capacity increased by 15 percent.’

By comparison with the UK, France has the lowest no-frills ratio of all the major European countries. There, just 18 percent of domestic capacity is available from no-frills carriers, and they account for only 28 percent of international capacity.