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The number of international air passengers grows by 13% and reaches 10 million in May



In May, the good trend of the first months of the year continues and the arrival of international air passengers experiences a notable increase, which grow by 13% year-on-year to exceed 9.9 million, according to data published by Turespaña.

Of these almost 10 million, 55.9% came from within the European Union, experiencing an increase of 13.4%, while the flow from the rest of the world, which accounted for the remaining 44.1%, had a notable rise of 12.5%. In the accumulated of the first 5 months of the year, Spain has received around 38.7 million international passengers, 13.5% more than in the same period of 2023.

Meanwhile, always behind with comparative data, the pollution caused by air travel in April was 9% higher than the year before. In addition to the overall increase, which is partly due to more flights, the amount of CO₂  per departure is also still increasing and in April 2024 was up 2% compared to 2023, despite some airlines claiming to be greener than the data shows, so called “green washing”. As for the year to date, the pollution per flight is up almost 4%.

The Minister of Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, has highlighted “the boost experienced by market diversification in the month of May, with a notable increase in international air passengers from distant countries such as Canada, China or Chile.” This is, Hereu assessed, “very good news for Spain, a destination that goes beyond the European framework of influence to become a reference for travellers from all over the world.”

Meanwhile, it is worth noting than a neighbouring ministerial department, that of health, earlier this week launched their campaign due to concerns to the health of the public, which is directly related to global warming, concerned that the 3,009 deaths caused by heat last year might be beaten this year along with the temperature. This is not very good news for Spain.

According to Our World in Data, aviation accounts for 2.5% of global CO₂ emissions. But it has contributed around 4% to global warming to date.

As has been happening in the months so far in 2024, the upward trend continues in May, and passengers issued to Spain from all the main issuing countries increased in relation to the figures for the same month of 2023. Special mention deserves this month the section ‘rest of countries’, with an increase of 15.9%, highlighting the high growth of China, Canada and Chile, with values ​​​​over 35%. There is also a strong rise in the Polish market, in line with recent months, with a growth of 54.1% year-on-year.

The United Kingdom, with 2.4 million international passengers, generated 23.7% of the total flow of arrivals to Spain in May, registering a year-on-year increase of 9.1%. The Balearic Islands were the largest recipient of arrivals, accounting for 25.2% of the total passengers of British origin (595,663 travellers). 80.8% of British passengers travelled on a low-cost company, with the United Kingdom being the leader in arrivals on these companies, contributing 30.7% of the total.

For its part, passenger arrivals from Germany stood at 1.5 million in May (14.9% of the total), increasing by 13.3% compared to May 2023. German travellers went mainly to the Balearic Islands (a 47.5%). As a notable fact and as is usual in this market, 44.6% of German passengers travelled on traditional companies, being the market that leads arrivals on these companies (17.7% of the total).

8.9% of the passenger flow received in May arrived from Italy (886,938 travellers), registering a year-on-year growth of 12.3%, which especially benefited Catalonia and the Community of Madrid. The rest of the main communities received more passengers than a year ago, highlighting the increases in Andalusia and the Basque Country. Among Italian travellers, the choice of low-cost companies (83.9%) prevailed over traditions.

France, for its part, issued 7.7% of total passengers in May (763,390 travellers), showing an expansion of 9% that especially favoured Catalonia and the Community of Madrid. The Principality of Asturias recorded the highest interannual variation rate with an increase of 36%. 72.3% of French passengers used a low-cost airline on their flights, experiencing a year-on-year growth of 7.5%.

Finally, 4.8% of all travellers arrived from the Netherlands. This market has experienced a growth of 9.4% in May and its main destination was Catalonia. The vast majority of travellers from the Netherlands (75.9%) also opted for low-cost companies to make their flights, which represents an expansion of 10.4%.

Destination autonomous communities

The six main receiving communities accounted for an arrival share of 97% and all experienced increases in the fifth month of the year. The largest increase was recorded in Catalonia with a year-on-year increase of 16.3% and the smallest in the Canary Islands, with 8.1%.

The Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport received the most arrivals in May, with 2.1 million, followed by Barcelona, ​​with 1.8 million, and Palma, with 1.5 million. The largest year-on-year increase occurred at Alicante airport, with 15.8% compared to the May 2023 data.



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