File image of Malaga Airport. Marilú Báez
Nearly three million foreign tourists arrived at Malaga Airport on low-cost flights in five-month period

Nearly three million foreign tourists arrived at Malaga Airport on low-cost flights in five-month period

The airport that serves the Costa del Sol is the second in Spain for this type of passenger, with the vast majority being carried by Ryanair, Vueling and easyJet

Pilar Martínez

Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 17:40

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When the activity is at historic levels, the news about Malaga Airport is breaking almost daily. The headlines show that these facilities are not only breaking records but also climbing up the national rankings. This Tuesday (18 June), Spain's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has just released the May report on international passengers arriving in the country by air in which the Malaga infrastructure is placed as the second in the country in arrivals of foreign tourists on low cost airlines, only preceded by Barcelona.

The pull of the Costa del Sol in the first five months of the year and the entrenched seasonality of Palma de Mallorca have been key to overtaking the Balearic airport, which is usually placed ahead of Malaga Airport, by some 400,000 travellers. If tourists from outside Spain arriving both by 'low cost' and flag carrier airlines are included, the Costa del Sol continues to outstrip Palma, but remains in third place in Spain, with Madrid in first place, followed by Barcelona.

Data from the Spanish INE national statistics institute (INE) shows that, from January to May, Malaga Airport received 2,904,226 international passengers on low-cost airlines, which represents 12.4% of the country's total. This figure represents a 19.3% increase compared to the same period last year and the largest increase recorded in the country's main airports, according to the report. Barcelona, which heads the ranking, recorded 5.3 million international passengers on low-cost flights.

The report notes that in the case of traditional airlines, international passenger traffic in Malaga is 821,760 up to May, just 5.4% of the country's total and with a growth of 6.5%. In this case, it drops to third place in airport operator Aena's network in Spain.


Minister of Industry and Tourism, Jordi Hereu, highlighted "the boost experienced by the diversification of markets in May, with a notable increase in international air passengers from distant countries such as Canada, China and Chile. This is very good news for Spain, a destination that goes beyond its European sphere of influence to become a point of reference for travellers from all over the world". In this regard, he stressed that as has been the case in these first months of the year, "in May the upward trend continued, and passengers to Spain from all the main issuing countries increased in relation to the figures for the same month in 2023. Special mention this month deserves the section 'other countries', with an increase of 15.9%, highlighting the high growth of China, Canada and Chile, with values above 35%. There was also a strong rise in the Polish market, in line with recent months, with a year-on-year growth of 54.1%. In addition, the six main autonomous regions accounted for 97% of total arrivals, all registering increases.

It is important to note that Malaga Airport, due to its high holiday traffic component, is the epicentre of the main low-cost airlines. In fact, three low-cost airlines are the ones that moved almost half of the passengers in the best year in the history of these facilities, which was 2023 with 22.3 million passengers. Specifically, Ryanair, Vueling and easyJet are the main protagonists of this upward trend and unparalleled, to the point that this trio concentrates 47.4% of the passenger volume recorded last year by these facilities. A percentage which means that these three companies accounted for more than 10.5 million passengers in Malaga in that year. A figure that has increased with respect to 2022 and a percentage that shows that these companies continue to gain market share. In addition to this, these companies have advanced for this high season the largest operations in their history in these facilities.

United Kingdom market

By markets, this report confirms the good health of the main outbound market for the Costa del Sol, which is the United Kingdom, which at national level generated 23.7% of the total flow of arrivals to Spain in May, registering a year-on-year increase of 9.1%. In addition, 80.8% of British passengers travelled on a low-cost airline, with the UK being the leader in arrivals on these airlines, accounting for 30.7% of the total. It also warns that key markets for the province, such as Germany, France and Italy, are on an upward trend, with notable increases in Andalucía and the Basque Country.

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