Third Of Spain's Visitors Flew Low-Cost In August

September 22, 2006

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The number of international passengers arriving in Spain with low-cost airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair during August jumped 13.2 percent from last year, government figures showed on Friday.

Spain's crowded no-frills airline market accounted for nearly a third of flights into the country during the peak travel month.

The figures showed 1.8 million visitors traveled to Spain in August in flights operated by low-cost airlines -- 30.2 percent of all international passengers.

Britain's easyJet flew the most passengers, followed by Ireland's Ryanair and Germany's Air Berlin. Unlisted Spanish airline Vueling, a low-cost start-up that began flying in July 2004, was ranked fifth.

The majority of low-cost flights, 84.7 percent, originated in the UK, the data showed.

Malaga Airport, on the Costa del Sol on Spain's south coast which is within striking distance of popular resorts like Marbella and Torremolinos, was the most popular destination for low-cost flights during the month.

Spain is becoming one of the main battlegrounds for low-cost carriers in Europe.

EasyJet said in August it was opening its first base in the country at the newly-expanded Barajas Airport in Madrid and planned to start domestic Spanish flights.

Spanish flag-carrier Iberia has led the launch of a new low-cost airline to fight the short-haul competition on its own turf. Clickair will start flying from its base in Barcelona this year.

(Reuters)