Airlines increase seat capacity on Spain flights by 15% this winter -AENA

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish airport operator Aena said on Monday that airlines have increased seat supply by 15% for flights to and from Spain this coming winter compared with last year.

Carriers have booked a capacity of 126.6 million seats during the winter season, which runs from October to March, even more than the level in 2019 before the pandemic, Aena said in a statement.

Leisure travel has boomed since pandemic restrictions ended last year, despite a squeeze on household incomes from high inflation and rising interest rates.

Between April and September, the number of passengers at Spanish airports, at around 163 million, was 1.2% above 2019 levels, according to industry data.

The head of Spain’s Airlines Association, Javier Gandara, said two weeks ago that airlines expected a 13% supply increase compared with 2019.

The strong recovery in tourism was led by travellers from cooler climates seeking warmer temperatures in southern Europe, according to the association. Traffic to other European countries, where business travel represents a bigger share, was still slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

(Reporting by Jakub Olesiuk, editing by Inti Landauro and Susan Fenton)