The snapshot would be practically the same as last year's – with Ryanair, Vueling and Iberia on the podium – if it were not for the pace of growth in the number of passengers transported, which in the case of the Irish company decreased in intensity. The airline chaired by Michael O'Leary advanced in this sense by 6.4% in 2018 compared to the previous year, far from the double digit figures of 2016 and 2017.
Vueling, meanwhile, is the national company that recorded the highest annual growth in the number of passengers among large companies: passengers transported by this low-cost airline, which managed to close the gap with the first on the list, increased by 12% in 2018 compared to the previous year. Iberia is the third company in the ranking, with 15.8 million passengers and an annual growth of 11.1%. It is followed by Easyjet, with a similar figure (15.2 million) but a minor advance (9%) and Air Europa, which transported 11.8 million passengers last year, a rise of 11.3% compared to the year previous.
The Irish airline confirms its leadership despite a summer marked by strikes at European level that affected thousands of passengers. The same happened in 2017, when it was the first company in Spain by number of travelers despite the chaos caused by poor planning of shifts in its pilots that caused a battery of cancellations in September.
Ryanair is unbeatable even if it is considered the Iberia Network (Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum) instead of the individual companies. These three airlines added 22 million passengers in 2018. The IAG Group, which in addition to the Iberia Network has Vueling, British Airways and Aer Lingus, did manage to surpass the low cost Irish company, with some 53 million passengers in Spain. last year.
Lufthansa and British Airways also recorded strong growth in the number of passengers, over 15%, despite the fact that the number of passengers transported was small compared to the companies leading the ranking: 4.2 and 3 million respectively. If companies that only make flights are also taken into account charter, Binter Canarias was the one that experienced the highest growth in 2018 in terms of travelers, of 118%, with 2.1 million people transported.
These results are given in a record year for Spanish airports managed by the Aena network, the public company that manages the vast majority of facilities in Spain: in 2018 they registered more than 263.7 million passengers, 5.8% more than in the previous year.