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Spanish airlines increase their capacity | British holidaymakers “vote” for Spain


Spanish airlines expect a record summer season and are adding 13% more seats than last year, confident that consumers will continue to travel despite inflation squeezing their spending, the head of Spain’s airline group said.

Between the beginning of April and the end of October, the group has scheduled up to 758,000 flights, 9% more than in the same period in 2023, with a total capacity of up to 240 million seats.

“All indications are that this summer we will again have a record number in terms of demand. People are travelling more than in the past, despite inflationary tensions,” Javier Gandara, head of the Spanish Airline Association, told a press conference.

Demand for leisure travel, which boomed after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, remains strong despite shrinking household incomes.

Separately, travel industry group Exceltur estimated on Tuesday that sales in the sector, including hotels and transport companies, will rise 6% in the second quarter from record levels a year ago, following a strong start to 2024.

“We are concerned about how we will manage this increasing flow of tourists,” said Exceltur vice-president Jose Luis Zoreda, who advocated the introduction of more regulations to limit the proliferation of holiday homes, as proposed by the Canary Islands, in order to avoid negative impacts on the local community.

For his part, Mr Gandara said that air routes to the Canary Islands and the southern region of Andalusia, among Spain’s top summer tourism destinations, will have 14% more seats, above the Spanish average, while the cities of Madrid and Barcelona will add 15% more seats, compared to a year ago.

Airlines are increasing the number of seats available between Spain and markets such as Germany and Britain.

Mr. Gandara pointed out that the impact of the Middle East conflict on Spain’s aviation industry is limited, as only 0.2% of flights departing from Spain are destined for Israel.

Regarding possible increases in the price of oil due to geopolitical tensions, he said most airlines ensure a minimum fuel consumption at a given price, so any fluctuations in the price of crude will likely have a limited impact.

Increased spending and average length of stay of British people in Spain

British holidaymakers are spending more money and staying longer on their trips to Spain, according to new official figures from the Spanish Tourist Office.

In particular, they spent 2.2 billion euros in the first two months of 2024, an increase of 31.57%, compared to the same period last year, according to data released by the Spanish Tourism Board.

This increase contributed significantly to Spain’s total tourism spending, which soared to €13.2 billion over the same period, reflecting a strong 25.66% increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile, British travellers to Spain are opting for longer stays, with the average trip length stretching to 8.2 days in January and February this year, representing a 7% increase, compared to 2023.

At the same time, the average expenditure per trip was 1,260 euros in the two months under review, up by more than 13% compared to the same period last year.

The average daily expenditure per British holidaymaker was €153, an increase of 5.67% from 2023.

Holidaymakers from the UK were the demographic with the highest total spending in Spain, followed by Germans with 1.5 billion. euro.

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