According to information gathered in December by the Tourism Studies Institute, Barajas is now the third most important airport for international passengers using low cost flights in Spain (Barcelona and Malaga are still ahead of Madrid).
Barajas received 143,850 passengers travelling low cost, an increase of 96.7%. This increase was registered when Ryanair, the Irish low cost company, started operating flights to Madrid last November. According to AENA Ryanair carried 35,807 passengers in December (arrivals and departures). Given that Easyjet carried over a million passengers to and from Barajas last year it is expected that the number of passengers travelling low cost will increase in February when Easyjet open their new base in Madrid.
Overall Palma de Mallorca had the most low cost flights last year, mainly with Air Berlin, followed by Málaga. The third place was taken by Barcelona although Alicante saw an increase of 21.7% in passengers travelling low cost while Tenerife Sur saw a rise of 48%.
Low cost airlines have continued to win a larger share of the market in Spain, carrying a total of 17.4 million passengers (31.6% of all arrivals) in 2006. However their rate of growth has slowed down. Passengers travelling low cost rose by 30.8% in 2005 in contrast with a rise of just 14.7% in 2006.
See: Guide to Madrid