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Airlines driving growth to European Islands

Europe has seven island markets listed as separate countries/territories in the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) and OAG databases for aviation data on capacity and aircraft fleets. These are the three nations of Cyprus, Iceland and Malta, together with four much smaller markets: the three UK crown dependencies Jersey, Guernsey (also including Alderney) and Isle of Man, along with the Faroe Islands, which are a self-governing region of Denmark.


Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney are served by Aurigny, among others (Kevan James)


In all cases, Europe’s island markets have a much higher propensity for air travel than other leading aviation markets. The small island territories depend much more on air travel to maintain vital links with the rest of the world. In addition, they have often successfully marketed themselves as popular tourist destinations (and as an aviation connecting hub, in the case of Iceland).


This has made these island markets attractive to airlines with a variety of business models, with no single template applied to all of them. Local airlines have dominated in the Faroe Islands and Iceland but with different models. LCCs are highly significant in Malta and in southern Cyprus. Jersey and Guernsey has Aurigny and Blue Islands based in the Channel Islands but the Isle of Man has no local airline.


For island nations, the importance of air travel is especially important. But, how can aviation be used to support travel growth? This issue will be among the discussion topics at the forthcoming CAPA World Aviation Outlook Summit where the islands’ discussions will focus on the main source markets for inbound arrivals, how they are positioned to attract key inbound markets and what impact tourism could have on European markets.

Low fare airlines like easyJet have driven tourism to island communities (Tyler McDowell)