The strong increase of the Nordic tourism since the start of the year has put Alicante-Elche over the historical record of foreign customers achieved in 2011. Up to November there were 600,000 more international tourists thanks to the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finland passenger upturn. The Russian traveller increase has been notable also. Thus, Alicante has been about to overcome Gran Canaria as the fifth Spanish airport.
According to the Aena airport statistics for November, Alicante has increased passengers by 14%. This is the fourth highest increase after Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Tenerife.
The amount of users in Alicante at the end of the year is expected to reach 9.6 million, out of which 8.5 million will be foreigners. Only amongst Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and Finland traffic there are 1 million passengers. Norwegian travellers increased by 31% this year (140,000 more up to November), Swedish by 28% (80,000 more), Danish by 56% (70,000 more) and Finland by 46% (25,000 more). Significant also is the Russian traffic increase which gained 123,000 users, growing 54% this year.
However, the airport director, Santiago Martínez-Cavas said the best is yet to come. He said that next year there will be an even higher foreign traffic increase. In fact 46% of those 9.6 million travellers are British.
It is early to tell about next summer season, but some announcements by Vueling, Norwegian or Air Berlin lead us to believe that traffic will keep increasing.
Also Ryanair will continue to grow. This year they have increased by 14%, Vueling by 25%, Norwegian by 6.5% and Jet2 by 23%.
We are talking about Nordic and Russian passengers with a high purchasing power no matter they come on low cost airlines.
Ryanair and easyJet have this year 41% of the total operations in Alicante. Only Ryanair, after the very strong controversy on the airbridges in 2012, closes November with 2,568,079 passengers. This somehow demonstrates that the reason behind that controversy was poor load factor in the routes which were reduced or removed.
As for the Alicante-Madrid route, it lost 500,000 passengers since 2011. This has got worse since June when the high speed train has started operations. This could have got over 100,000 travellers to Alicante airport being unable to compete with the train fares. Only Iberia Express operates this route after Spanair ceased operations and Ryanair cancelled that one. “It looks like we will have over 10 million passengers in 2014” said the airport director.
Photo: Dr Rdl/Wikimedia Commons