Widebodies are due to operate 249 passenger routes within Europe this summer, including those regularly scheduled, operating irregularly, and one-offs. The vast majority are bookable by the public. Turkish Airlines, TUI Airways, Aeroflot, and Icelandair are all key players.
These 249 routes are based on including Russia and Turkey, two countries that have seen aviation less affected by coronavirus than others. If they’re are stripped out, widebody routes fall to 144, analyzing data from OAG shows.
Turkey is often included within Europe for aviation discussion reasons. The Anker Report shows that Istanbul’s two passenger airports along with three in Moscow were Europe’s top-five busiest airports in February. Quoting Eurocontrol data, Simple Flying shows that Turkish Airlines had 797 daily flights in the week to April 4th, far and away the most of any measured airline.
213 routes are international
Of these 249 widebody routes, 213 are international and 36 are domestic. The latter includes various Air Europa services by the B787, such as Madrid to Barcelona, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife North. And on June 17th only, it has scheduled the B787-8 to operate a one-off from Madrid to Vigo, a distance of some 289 miles.
31 European countries see widebodies
Some 31 countries are due to see intra-Europe widebody service, with almost 84,000 flights in all. Turkey takes the top spot, as follows, although the UK and Spain feature reasonably highly too.
- Turkey: approximately 24,310 round-trip widebody flights
- Russia: 20,971
- UK: 8,632
- Spain: 5,933
- Germany: 3,338
- Ukraine: 2,832
- Italy: 2,497
- Netherlands: 2,412
- Greece: 2,055
- France: 1,365
Widebodies from the UK
The UK, in third-place, is largely down to the use of widebodies to Turkey and Spain. TUI Airways is top, with these nations featuring heavily in its widebody operations this summer, followed by Turkish Airlines and Iberia. The latter is on its once-daily Heathrow-Madrid service. This was operated until 2012, and then again from 2018. A340s, A330s, and A350s have all been used; it’s now an A350 route.
This summer, widebodies are used to 16 countries from the UK, including Ireland and Denmark. Aer Lingus is using A330s on many EI178/179 rotations between Dublin and Heathrow, although this seems to fully revert to narrowbodies from July.
SAS, meanwhile, is using A330s on six once-weekly services between Heathrow and Copenhagen (SK501/SK502) until June 1st.
Top widebody routes
The top-10 international widebody routes, as follows, clearly show how important Turkey is. The number-one route, Antalya to Moscow Sheremetyevo, has five airlines operating twin-aisle aircraft: Nord Wind; Aeroflot; Pegas Fly; AZUR; and Royal Flight. The B777-300ER is the aircraft of choice.
- Antalya to Moscow Sheremetyevo: approximately 2,511 round-trip widebody flights
- Antalya-Moscow Vnukovo: 1,538
- Amsterdam-Istanbul Airport: 1,334
- Istanbul Airport-London Heathrow: 1,186
- Istanbul Airport-Moscow Vnukovo: 1,170
- Istanbul Airport-Kyiv Boryspil: 878
- London Heathrow-Madrid: 868
- Frankfurt-Istanbul: 802
- Istanbul Airport-Paris CDG: 790
- Berlin-Istanbul Airport: 670
The list also shows the significance of Turkish Airlines. This airline has almost three in ten widebody flights this summer, nearly three times the number of TUI Airways.
Will you be flying any widebodies within Europe this year? Comment below!