Seventeen cities in Britain and Ireland are the most important destinations for travelers flying out of Malaga airport. There are only eight Spanish cities in the list of the fifty most important air travel destinations. Ryanair and Easyjet together have almost a 40% market share.
Malaga airport would cease being the fourth largest in Spain without the British and Irish market and their airlines business. Their importance is such that among the first fifty air terminal connections at Malaga airport, seventeen are either British or Irish, and only eight are Spanish. In addition to this fact, Malaga is one of three cities in Europe with more direct connections to London airports, just behind Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Faro (Portugal).
Out of all the cities in the ranking, London is first in passenger air traffic, both arriving to and departing from Malaga airport. Data from the first six months of this year has confirmed its leadership. The number of passengers flying between Gatwick and Málaga airport added up to 449.561, 8% of the total passenger numbers. Stansted and Luton, both airports near the British capital are among the top fifteen destinations for flights out of Malaga airport. Southend is among the first fifty. Interestingly, one has to look further down the list to find Heathrow, which is London main airport. Only 2.500 travelers flew from there to Málaga during the first semester of the year, according to official data released by AENA (Spanish Airports and Aerial Navigation).
These figures are boosted by the number of British and Irish nationals who either spend a few weeks holiday in the area, or even own a permanent home in the Malaga region. Thus, a large number of cities in the islands are linked via air flights with Malaga airport. Flights arrive from London, Manchester, Dublin, Nottingham, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cork, Belfast and other UK airports. It is a long list and, most importantly, it is a growing one due to the strong demand that needs to be met by the airlines.
Many Brits favor Malaga as their holiday destination of choice because of the great weather, superb golf courses and tasty food along with the fact that they can reach the area in less than three hours time in most cases. Interest has increased since the advent of low-cost airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair with lowered airfares. Because of this fact, many traditional airline companies like BA have lost their market share.
Malaga airports main business derives (by far) from international tourism. Only eight out of fifty flight destinations are Spanish. Barcelona holds second place in the Spanish destination ranking during the first six months of 2013. This position is maintained due to business travel and the number of connecting flights from Barcelona to other airports. Madrid has slipped down to eleventh position in the ranking since thousands of travelers choose to travel via the superfast trains (AVE) instead of by plane. In fact, among the eight Spanish destinations only one is less than 500 km. away, Madrid, and five of them - Palma, Mallorca, Melilla, Tenerife and Gran Canaria- are destinations that are not linked to Malaga via roadway.