No Seat Goes Vacant – Spain v. The Netherlands

In a report published in August 2018, Suburbia looked at passenger traffic in the Dutch air hub (Schiphol). We showed in data what airliners are not accepting in words: more of us are packed per plane as the number of passengers has tripled and the number of airplanes has doubled.

Iberian airports are experiencing a transformation in their management and future goals. The increase in flying demand is seen as the next challenge in maintaining a sustainable industry that is eco-friendly and yet still profitable.

In Schiphol we noticed that the number of passengers per flight is increasing every year. The figure below shows that top four Iberian airports are keeping their number of passengers per flight relatively constant. Barcelona’s El Prat has the lead with an average of 146 passengers per flight since June 2016.

Figure 1: Number of passengers per flight leaving or arriving  each month in four largest Spanish airports:

image (25)

From the figure above we can see that airlines pack more passengers per plane during the busy months of July and August. This becomes even clearer when we compare this data with that of Schiphol.

Figure 2: Number of passengers per flight leaving or arriving  each month

image (24)

The figure above also illustrates that overall in Spanish airports there are fewer passengers per plane packed than when compared to Dutch Schiphol. Fluctuations in this number are remarkably so close that the coefficient of correlation between the two almost as close to 0.95.

In the peak of tourists, Spanish airports pack more passengers per plane than the Netherlands. From the figure above we can notice that the top four Spanish airports take the lead only during July and August.

Yet, Schiphol is the busiest Dutch airport and the argument above sounds like comparing apples and oranges. If we were to calculate the average number of passengers per plane in the Netherlands, we would get a more reliable insight.

Aye Carumba, Spanish Airports are Getting Overcrowded

Spain is a fascinating mix of people, languages, culture and food. Spaniards have it all in their Iberian peninsula. In 2017, the country climbed from third to second place in  tourist arrivals and held on to 2nd position in receipts.

In the same year, air passengers counted almost double the population of Spain. Gorgeous beaches, rich history, amazing food and cheerful people make tourism the third contributor in the economic activity. The Madrid – Barcelona route used to be among the busiest in the world thanks to tourism but the arrival of high speed rail has greatly dented demand.

Figure 1 below displays the number of passengers since June 2016 in the four largest Spanish Airports. Adolfo Suarez airport in Madrid is still the largest with an average of 4.5 million visitors each month and the highest peak in the month of July.

Figure 1: The number of passengers flying each month in the four largest Spanish airports:

image (21)

In terms of passengers, in August 2017 El Prat airport of Barcelona matched Adolfo Suarez of Madrid.

Figure 2 below illustrates the number of planes each month leaving and arriving the top four Spanish airports. In the plane classification, Madrid has the lead, followed from Barcelona El Prat.

Figure 2: Number of planes leaving or arriving  each month in four largest Spanish airports:image (22)

Nothing uncommon: When compared to February 2017 the number of planes increased by 80% in August 2017 and the number of passengers increased by 110%. If you are afraid of big crowds, going to the big cities in Spain during summer might not be the best idea.


Download the full report: What is the Spanish word for “Flight”?

Coffee is Making you Broke and Xmas isn’t Helping

Coffee drinking might be the most common habit people have. Have you ever thought about how much non-coffee drinkers save? This piece is going to look at monthly transactions and expenses for three different price levels of coffees: cheap, average and expensive. Every month, people are spending more on expensive coffee and less on average-priced coffee.

Even if you’re not a java junkie,  you probably just ended up inviting a friend for coffee.  But if you regularly guzzle it, have you ever made an estimate of your monthly expenses on java?

There can be huge variations between the “standard” amounts of coffee consumed by most people. That means how much we really spend on coffee each month remains a puzzle. In a study by Amerisleep (2018), 1,008 coffee drinkers were asked about their coffee drinking habits. 79 % of coffee drinkers stated they consume at least one cup on a daily basis, even though 12% of those daily drinkers believed that caffeine is “damaging to their bodies”. One of the most interesting insights from this study is that millennials spend more on coffee than any other age group.

There is no doubt that demand for coffee has always been solid. The International Coffee Organization estimated that 11.2 million bags of 60kg of coffee were distributed all over the world in August 2018, or 5% more than the previous month.

Some countries drink more cups of coffee per day than others. The Finns, for example, grind their way to the top of the ranking through an impressive 12kg per person per year, according to stats from the International Coffee Organization (ICO, 2018). In the same ranking, the Netherlands scores quite high with the average Dutch drinking 1.84 cups of coffee per day.

If millennials and the Dutch like coffee, it does not take a math wizard to conclude that the Dutch millennials love drinking coffee. But how much do students actually pay for coffee? The following data comes from the Netherlands’ biggest student city of Utrecht. It covers coffee consumption at small kiosks next to university campuses from October 2017 until September 2018.

Data and Insights

When it comes to good coffee, those who appreciate it are willing to pay a little bit extra and that makes price a pretty good measurement of quality. For that reason, looking at coffee by price brackets might be a more insightful picture.

We define cheap coffee as any coffee sold below one euro, average coffee as any priced between one and three euros, and expensive coffee as any sold above three euros.

Let’s start by looking at transactions. How many cups of coffee were consumed each month during the last year on the university campuses of Utrecht?

Figure 1: Coffee transactions in Utrecht by monthimage (18).png

On average, 4,000 cheap coffees were sold each month, followed by 10,000 average-priced coffees and 45,000 expensive coffees per month. On average, a total of 60,000 coffees are consumed each month with a spike in the months of October through December.

How about expenses? How much do non-coffee drinkers save? The figure below  shows that cheap coffee drinkers spend around €25 each month on coffee. The average coffee drinkers fork out €78 and the biggest coffee snobs splurge €110.

Figure 1: Coffee expenses in Utrecht each monthimage (19)

What is striking about the figure above is that monthly expenses on average-priced coffee have decreased by 25%, while those on expensive coffee have increased by almost 10%.

This can be seen from a drop in demand for average-priced coffee from January onwards while demand for premium coffee rises.

It could be the case that the price of average coffee went up during the last year and exceeded the threshold of three euros. Keeping in mind how difficult it is to switch to a different type of coffee, the sales boom of pricier coffee should not come as a surprise.


Download the full report: Coffee is Making you Broke and Xmas isn’t Helping