Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer

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.

Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer
TUI Airways is the second-largest user of widebodies within Europe this summer. Photo: Getty Images.

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.

Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer
For international widebody service within Europe, Turkish Airlines, TUI Airways, Aeroflot, AZUR, Nord Wind, Icelandair, Ethiopian Airlines, Pegas Fly, Iberia, and TUI Netherlands are the 10 largest by flights. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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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.

Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer
The B787-8 will operate a one-off from Madrid to Vigo in June. Image: Google Flights.

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.

  1. Turkey: approximately 24,310 round-trip widebody flights
  2. Russia: 20,971
  3. UK: 8,632
  4. Spain: 5,933
  5. Germany: 3,338
  6. Ukraine: 2,832
  7. Italy: 2,497
  8. Netherlands: 2,412
  9. Greece: 2,055
  10. France: 1,365
Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer
Although Iceland isn’t in the most-served-by-widebodies table, Icelandair uses the B767-300ER to nine airports across the continent this summer, especially to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and London Heathrow. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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.

Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer
Like most flights from Heathrow to Dublin, EI179 often has a flight time of between 45 and 50 minutes. Image:

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.

  1. Antalya to Moscow Sheremetyevo: approximately 2,511 round-trip widebody flights
  2. Antalya-Moscow Vnukovo: 1,538
  3. Amsterdam-Istanbul Airport: 1,334
  4. Istanbul Airport-London Heathrow: 1,186
  5. Istanbul Airport-Moscow Vnukovo: 1,170
  6. Istanbul Airport-Kyiv Boryspil: 878
  7. London Heathrow-Madrid: 868
  8. Frankfurt-Istanbul: 802
  9. Istanbul Airport-Paris CDG: 790
  10. Berlin-Istanbul Airport: 670
Wow: 249 Intra-Europe Routes Will Use Widebodies This Summer
The Star Alliance carrier has widebody service to 32 European airports from Istanbul Airport alone, well ahead of the 15 served in early April. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

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!