Here’s the latest European Low-Cost Airline Benchmark. Based on data from 2021, we’ve analyzed the number of flights, punctuality & cancellations of Europe’s four major low-cost airlines in 2021: Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air, and Vueling.

European Low-Cost Airline Benchmark: How The Top Carriers Performed in 2021

European Low-Cost Airline Benchmark – Overview and Contained Airlines

After initiating our new airline analysis series where we analyze the performance of leading airlines, we thought it is time to put data on a higher level. Therefore, we extracted some of the results and compiled them as a European Low-Cost Airlines Analysis. Actually, that’s the third part, since we already published a similar report for leading European airlines and Middle East Carriers. So here’s what’s contained?

  • We looked at the number of flights the airlines performed from February to July 2021. Moreover, we put that into relation to more than 200 airlines.
  • Moreover, we analyzed the on-time performance and again put it into context with all major global airlines.
  • And finally, we looked at the airlines’ cancellation rates.

Here are the airlines that are contained in the Middle East Airline Analysis:

AirlineIATACountry
RyanairFR
easyJetU2
Wizz AirW6
VuelingVY
European Low-Cost Airline Benchmark – Contained Airlines

If you want to dive into the detailed analysis of a single airline, here are the links you need:

European Low Cost Airlines – Analysis by Number of Flights

Overall Results

When looking at the number of flights, one thing becomes evident: Ryanair is currently playing in its own league. Since May, Ryanair has started to add flights to the schedule massively. The result: In July, Ryanair performed as many flights as easyJet, Wizz Air, and Vueling combined. Moreover, from the latest forecasts, we know that Ryanair will grow its flight volume in August again.

However, easyJet, Wizz, and Vueling also showed solid growth rates in June and July. Especially easyJet is now back above the 25,000 flight threshold.

European Low-Cost Airlines — Number of flights from February to July
European Low-Cost Airlines — Number of flights from February to July

Data Details
If you want to dive into the details, here’s the underlying data of the above chart.

MonthFRU2W6VY
February3,3343,458 2,5141,260
March3,6483,726 3,5712,118
April8,357 5,4644,5342,991
May12,118 6,9685,8966,298
June38,355 12,31011,44110,100
July60,997 27,84017,62415,697
European Low-Cost Airlines — Monthly Flights February – July 2021

Global Ranking

The below chart is one of our favorites. It shows the ranking of the airlines compared to 200 other global airlines. Accordingly, the closer an airline comes to the x-axis, the bigger the airline is. We see a beautiful trend from very poor positions in February to excellent rankings in July for all of the four low-cost airlines. That is also robust evidence that the low-cost carriers have grown stronger than other airlines.

As the biggest of the four analyzed airlines, Ryanair re-entered the top 10 of the world’s biggest airlines in June and currently ranks 6th. Moreover, easyJet and Wizz Air entered the top 25 in July. Here’s a complete list of the world’s biggest airlines in July.

European Low-Cost Airlines — Global Ranking by number of flights
European Low-Cost Airlines — Global Ranking by number of flights

Data Details
If you want to dive into the details, here’s the underlying data of the above chart.

MonthFRU2W6VY
February616075112
March67666996
April37556379
May26495652
June8333639
July6122428
European Low-Cost Airlines — Global Ranking According to flight volume

European Low Cost Airlines – Analysis by Punctuality

With an increasing number of flights, punctuality is also back in the spotlight for many airlines — and passengers. Therefore, we’ve analyzed the arrival on-time performance of the carriers in the corresponding months.

Overall Results

Overall the biggest European low-cost airlines are doing a fantastic job when it comes to on-time performance. Except for Wizz Air, the airlines operated on a 90+ OTP level. Wizz Air, so far, seems to struggle with punctuality and fell below 70% arrival punctuality in July. Vueling, on the other side, delivers one of the world’s best performances.

European Low-Cost Airlines - On-time Performance February - June 2021
European Low-Cost Airlines – On-time Performance February – July 2021

Data Details
If you want to dive into the details, here’s the underlying data of the above chart.

MonthFRU2W6VY
February88.5%90.9% 74.2%93.7%
March93.0%92.7% 85.6%94.6%
April94.2% 94.9%89.5%97.0%
May93.6% 90.3%85.3%95.9%
June92.8% 89.0%83.0%94.6%
July86.8% 80.1%62.4%90.4%
European Low-Cost Airlines — On-Time Performance

Global Ranking

From a global point of view, Vueling managed to rank among the top 20 most punctual airlines in three consecutive months. Wizz Air, on the other side, delivered one of the world’s weakest performances in July.

Middle East Airlines – Global Ranking by Punctuality


Data Details

In case you want to dive into the details, here’s the underlying data of the above chart.

MonthFRU2W6VY
February801714221
March424911328
April36328113
May368011017
June397012215
July6212018731
European Low-Cost Airlines — Global Ranking by Punctuality (Details)

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European Low-Cost Airlines – Analysis by Cancellations

Overall Results

When looking at the cancellation rate of analyzed airlines, two significant aspects are apparent:

Wizz Air Struggled in July
As already seen when looking at the punctuality performance, Wizz Air seemed to have serious problems in July. As a result, the carrier had to cancel almost 4% of its flights in July. That’s a tremendous figure.

Vueling with an Exceptional Performance
For four consecutive months, Vueling did not cancel a single flight – an absolutely outstanding performance. Moreover, that happened during a time when Vueling constantly added more flights to its schedule.

European Low-Cost Airlines – Cancellation Rate February – July 2021

Data Details
In case you want to dive into the details, here’s the underlying data of the above chart.

MonthFRU2W6VY
February0.5%0.3%1.3%0.0%
March0.4%0.3%0.2%0.0%
April0.8%0.3%0.4%0.0%
May0.3%0.1%0.8%0.0%
June0.1% 0.3%0.8%0.1%
July1.1%0.5%3.9%0.8%
European Low-Cost Airlines — Cancellation Rate February – July 2021 (Details)

Global Ranking

Here is the global ranking of European Low-Cost airlines in terms of cancellation rates. Again, Vueling’s results are the one to highlight: The airlines ranked among the world’s top 5 airlines concerning regularity for four consecutive months. Moreover, the airline has to be considered as the world’s most stable airline May.

European Low-Cost Airlines – Global Ranking by Cancellations


Data Details

In case you want to dive into the details, here’s the underlying data of the above chart.

MonthFRU2W6VY
February9740783
March6154485
April8556643
May5539901
June457310345
July1047815290
European Low-Cost Airlines — Global Ranking by Cancellations (Details)

What Do You Think?

We’re always happy to get your feedback. Just leave a comment below or get in touch with the author on social media.

Used Data
The shown information is based on OAG data and internal data sources. Rankings only included airlines that operated more than 300 flights in the respective month. However, the global benchmark includes all tracked flights. On average, 200 airlines are included in each month’s analysis. Whenever stated, EMEA refers to airlines based in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa.

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CEO

Benjamin is a content-maniac, music-lover, aviation-enthusiast, and CEO of Information Design (in this order). His daily business revolves around pioneering solutions to change the way airlines, airports, and aviators use information. His visions are based on expertise gained in more than 15 years in the industry and working with renowned airlines + airports worldwide.

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