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Porto smashed passenger record in 2023; gained 7+ airlines; Ryanair is the top carrier

BEG-OPO

Porto is the second most populous city in Portugal and a growing tourist hotspot. It welcomed 15.2 million passengers in 2023, 16% higher than its previous record. It was especially because of the fast growth of easyJet and Ryanair, although other airlines grew strongly too.

It gained multiple airlines last year, including airBaltic, Air Serbia, Austrian, El Al, Norwegian, PLAY and SAS. They will be joined by Jet2 and Smartwings in 2024. It also welcomed over 30 new routes by many operators, including TAP Portugal to Luanda on 23 May 2023 (2-weekly). However, various other airlines, including Air Canada, Azul, Emirates and Finnair, no longer serve the airport.

Porto passenger traffic 2005-2023

Ryanair is Porto’s leading carrier; easyJet is now second

Ryanair added the Portuguese city to its network in January 2005 with the introduction of flights from London STN. It was joined by easyJet in 2008, with its first route being from Paris CDG. Ryanair’s base opened in 2009 and easyJet’s in 2015.

In the first half of 2024, easyJet has 29 Porto routes and Ryanair 76. The latter’s network includes Tangier (2-weekly), which begins on 2 April, and Ibiza (2-weekly), which starts on 2 May. They supplement 10 routes introduced in 2023. Of these, eight – Belfast BFS, Castellon, Leeds Bradford, Nimes, Shannon, Stockholm ARN, Turin, and Trapani – had never been served from Porto before.

Top 10 Porto airlines January - June

How has the market share of the ‘big three’ changed?

Ryanair had just over a third of Porto’s seats last year, followed by easyJet with 19% and TAP with 14%. Interestingly, Ryanair’s dominance versus 2010 has grown by just one percentage point, while easyJet has risen markedly, obviously from vastly different base levels. TAP’s share has fallen over half as it concentrates on its Lisbon hub amid big competition.

More interesting is the growth of other operators. In 2010, they had barely one in five seats, but it is now 34%. Capacity has risen fourfold, with more than 2.1 million departing seats introduced. While their share has risen strongly, they ended last year with only a marginally smaller proportion than Ryanair.

Athens International Airport

How Portos airline market share has changed

120+ destinations are served; new North America routes are coming

Cirium indicates that Porto has non-stop flights to more than 120 destinations in 31 countries globally in the first six months of 2024. France is the leading country market by seats, followed by Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. More than two million Portuguese (and those of that heritage) live in France and 450,000+ in Switzerland.

North America will be a key beneficiary this year, as Azores Airlines – Porto’s 10th largest carrier – will begin three routes. It will be the first time that Boston and JFK have had flights to Porto’s second city.

  • Boston: begins 4 June (weekly)
  • JFK: begins 6 June (weekly)
  • Toronto YYZ: begins 1 June (weekly); last served in 2017

While all three routes were to use Azores Airlines’ A321neos, the carrier will wet lease a 767-300ER from EuroAtlantic. This is seemingly due to its A321neos not having a crew rest area. All routes will leave Porto before 07:30.

Madrid is Porto’s top destination

The Spanish capital is not just Porto’s shortest international destination, but also the most served by seats. In 2019, it was third, based on Cirium data, behind Lisbon and Paris ORY.

Of course, simple capacity does not show passengers’ origin-destinations, with a chunk of people connecting to other flights in Madrid. There are 76-weekly flights in April with Air Europa (28), Iberia (27), Ryanair (15) and easyJet (6).

The standout destination is Luxembourg. There are 150,000+ Portuguese citizens and those of Portuguese heritage living in the country, accounting for about 15% of the population. There are 27-weekly flights in April with Luxair (9), easyJet (9), Ryanair (5) and TAP (4).

Top 10 Porto destinations January-June 2024

Aeroporti di Roma