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Open borders and affordable fares: the new trends that scale up airline rankings, according to

March 11, 2021
  • Pegasus, Aeroméxico, LATAM Airlines and Turkish Airlines reach the TOP 10 of most booked airlines in 2021 worldwide
  • Iberia and Air Europa climb positions in the global ranking and achieve thirteenth and nineteenth place, respectively, in 2021
  • Since 2020, more than 60% of flights from Spain have been booked using’s Virtual Interlining algorithm, according to which the company connects carriers that normally do not cooperate with each other

Barcelona, ​​11 March 2021 – The pandemic has changed the way people travel. Booking data from has revealed a new trend that is taking hold in the airline industry: Since 2020, airlines flying to destinations open to international travelers are in full swing. Both on a Spanish and global level, airlines such as Pegasus, Aeroméxico, LATAM Airlines and Turkish Airlines, whose network of destinations focuses on the Middle East and Latin America regions, are taking center stage along with popular low-cost airlines such as Vueling and Easyjet.

Turkish Airlines, which according to the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) flew the second most on the continent in 2020, currently occupies the seventh position in the rankings of the 30 main airlines based on data recorded by Meanwhile at the Spanish level, Turkish Airlines has managed to take twenty-third place. The low-cost airline Pegasus has in turn experienced an exponential increase, ranking second in the world rankings in 2021 after ranking fifth in 2020 and thirteenth in 2019.

The case of Aeroméxico has certain similarities with Turkish Airlines: having not appeared in the TOP 30 in 2018 or 2019, it has climbed to fifth position internationally in 2021 and to twenty-fifth in Spain. Continuing onto the American continent, LATAM Airlines has grown to reach the sixth position so far this year nineteenth in Spain, evolving from the twelfth position in 2019 and the seventh in 2020.

“Until last year, none of these airlines managed to enter the TOP 10. Istanbul, Mexico City and Cancun are currently among the main most requested destinations worldwide. Fares can also be an element to take into account, since they have fallen by 25% in the case of Turkey compared to 2019 and even by 40% on flights to Mexico.”, said Mario Gavira, Vice President of Growth at

In February, took the pulse of travelers to learn how they would face 2021 in relation to travel planning. In a survey conducted internally to nearly a thousand travelers from around the world, 62.5% indicated that in a post-pandemic scenario they plan to travel more than before, while 67.4% of the participants were optimistic thinking they could travel in the next five months. The duration of trips is still evenly split, with 45.1% stating that they will opt for fewer but longer trips, compared to 54.9% who will favor more frequent trips of shorter duration.

Entry requirements to Mexico and Turkey

Currently, entry to Mexico does not require a negative PCR test or quarantine, only temperature controls and other tests on arrival. On the other hand, passengers arriving in Turkey must submit a negative PCR test, a measure in effect until April 14, 2021. The sample for the test must have been taken within 72 hours prior to the passenger’s scheduled departure from the country of origin. For travelers from Spain, no quarantine is required either on arrival in Turkey nor on return to Spain. Together, both countries have moderate restrictions that encourage a constant flow of travelers.

Iberia and Air Europa, two Spanish airlines that have made a dent in the international rankings data between 2018 and 2021 reflect a clear increase in the global reservations of Iberia and Air Europa, which are ranked thirteenth and nineteenth respectively this year. estimates that reservations have multiplied by 15 in 2019 compared to 2018 in the case of Iberia, and by 16 in Air Europa during the same period. This year, destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona and Tenerife are concentrating the largest number of bookings. At the same time, the top destinations outside the national borders of Spain are German cities, such as Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt or Munich.

In the national prism, low-cost airlines like Vueling and easyJet have maintained their leadership position in the TOP 10 since 2018.

It is calculated that reservations made using’s own Virtual Interlining algorithm which allows choosing routes between carriers that do not have agreements with each other have accumulated between 60% and 63% of the total between 2019 and 2021.

In 2020, the WHO placed Spain in seventh place in the ranking of health systems worldwide, only behind countries such as France, Singapore or San Marino. “In a health emergency scenario like the one we are experiencing, it is not surprising that travelers inquire in advance about the quality of care in hospitals abroad and avoid those countries where they could run a greater risk in case of contagion”, adds Gavira.

Health and safety, in the sights of airlines

Since 2020, the airline industry has continuously focused on designing and incorporating new standards to ensure safe travel experiences, both on the ground and in flight. Based on the effectiveness of the health security protocols acquired by the airlines during the pandemic, Skytrax’s aviation security classification has placed airBaltic, Oman Air, Qatar Airways as the most efficient in this regard. For its part,’s list of the “20 safest airlines during COVID” includes, among others, Air New Zealand, Delta, Emirates and All Nippon Airways.

Flexibility in the event of possible unforeseen events is one of the factors that travelers value most today. At the time of booking, the traveler can choose a Flexi ticket, ideal for uncertain contexts such as the current one. You can rebook a new flight by only paying the difference, make changes or cancel your flight and get 90% refund up to 48 hours before your trip. For reservations made less than a week before the start of the trip, changes or cancellations can be made up to 4 hours before departure.

– Ends –

About was founded in 2012 by Oliver Dlouhý and Jozef Képesi. The travel tech company was created for travelers by travelers. Its proprietary algorithm – Virtual Interlining – allows users to combine flights and ground transportation from more than 800 carriers, including many that do not normally cooperate. powers more than 100 million searches every day and employs 2,000 people worldwide.

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Carol Barnes, Head of Global Communications,

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