European budget airlines list

Travel On The Dollar
December 11, 2011  •  2 min(s) read

Air Berlin
Air Berlin
If you are visiting multiple European cities on a single itinerary, then you may no longer require train trips and Eurail Passes, because the low-fare airline boom in Europe has revolutionized travel overseas. Now, budget-savvy travelers can fly around Europe rather than taking the long train rides, and complete the same journey in a quick hour-long plane ride, often at less cost than the train.

The major players in the low-fare European airlines sector, such as Ryanair, easyJet, and Air Berlin, have brought on a bold challenge to the traditional European carriers, such as Air France and British Airways, quite similar to what discount carriers like Southwest and Jet Blue have done in the U.S. Offering no-frills service at dramatically reduced prices, the new airlines have forced legacy airlines to slash their own fares considerably, creating a competitive and very consumer-friendly market overseas.

Here’s a list of European budget airlines and some basic information about them:

Central Europe

This section covers airlines in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands – the best known airline in the region is Germany’s Air Berlin.

Air Berlin
Primary Hub: Berlin, Dusseldorf, and more cities in GERMANY
Air Berlin flies to major European cities, as well as to popular vacation destinations on the Mediterranean coast, in the Canary Islands, and in North Africa.

Primary Hub: Geneva, SWITZERLAND
Flights between Geneva and Florence, Ibiza, Nice, Prague, Venice, and more.

Primary Hub: Frankfurt and Munich, GERMANY
Flights from Germany to major European cities, as well as other international destinations, including U.S.

Primary Hub: Cologne/Bonn, Berlin, and more cities in GERMANY
Germanwings flies from Cologne/Bonn, Berlin, and Stuttgart to numerous European metropolises.

Primary Hub: Cologne/Bonn, Hanover, and more cities in GERMANY
Discount air travel within Germany, and from Germany to more than 30 destinations in 9 European countries.

Helvetic Airways
Primary Hub: Zurich, SWITZERLAND
Flights between Zurich and nearly 20 European cities.

Lauda Air
Primary Hub: Vienna, Salzburg, and more cities in AUSTRIA
Fly from Vienna and other Austrian cities to Greece, England, Italy, and more.

Primary Hub: Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
Formally known as Basiq Air, Transavia operates from Holland and flies to some 70 cities in Europe.

East Europe

There are some airlines currently operating out of Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

Smart Wings
Primary Hub: Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC
SmartWings flies between Prague, and Denmark, France, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and more.

Wizz Air
Primary Hub: Budapest, HUNGARY and Katowice, POLAND
Eastern European airlines operating between Hungary and Poland and major cities in Czech Republic, England, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.


Airlines operating in Scandinavia have hubs in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. While a couple of these carriers offer short jaunts within the region, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Cimber Sterling provide a wider breadth of travel destinations throughout the whole of Europe.

Air Finland
Primary Hub: Helsinki, FINLAND
Fly within Finland, or from Helsinki to Nice, Barcelona, Málaga, Las Palmas, and more.

Blue 1
Primary Hub: Helsinki, FINLAND
Discount Helsinki-based airlines, offering flights within Scandinavia, and to Germany and the Netherlands.

Cimber Sterling
Primary Hub: Copenhagen, DENMARK
Find cheap flights between Nordic countries and major European cities.

Norwegian Air Shuttle
Primary Hub: Oslo, NORWAY
Norwegian-based airlines operating within Norway and around Europe.

South Europe

Southern European airlines operate out of hubs in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Carriers with the greatest scope of routes include Italy-based My Air and Spain-based Veuling Airlines.

Primary Hub: Ancona, ITALY
Travel between Ancona, Italy and France, Spain, and Sicily.

Hi Fly
Primary Hub: Lisbon, PORTUGAL
Discounted flights from Lisbon to Paris and Funchal.

Primary Hub: Florence, ITALY
Flights within Italy, as well as between Italy and England, France, Netherlands, and Spain.

Primary Hub: Barcelona, SPAIN
Budget airlines operating within Spain, as well as to European cities and the US.

Vueling Airlines
Primary Hub: Barcelona, SPAIN
Operates between Barcelona and major Spanish cities, as well as to major European cities, including Brussels, Paris, Rome, and more.

Primary Hub: Catania and Palermo, SICILY
Discount airlines specializing in travel within Italy and Sicily.

U.K. and Ireland

The UK and Ireland offer the greatest concentration of low-cost carriers than any other European region – we’ve found 13 budget airlines with hubs in England, Scotland, or Ireland. England-based easyJet and BMI Baby, as well as Ireland’s Ryanair are three of the most well-reputed budget carriers in not just the region, but in all of Europe.

Aer Arann
Primary Hub: Dublin, IRELAND
This Ireland-based airline flies throughout Ireland and the UK, as well as to several destinations in France.

Air Southwest
Primary Hub: Plymouth, ENGLAND
Discount flights within England and Ireland.

BMI Baby
Primary Hub: Nottingham, ENGLAND and other cities in the UK
This spin-off of British Midland Airways, bills itself as the “airline with tiny fares,” featuring low fare flights to more than 20 European cities from 5 UK airports, including Nottingham, Cardiff, and Manchester.

Budget Travel
Primary Hub: Dublin, IRELAND
Fly between Dublin and select cities in France and Spain.

Primary Hub: London-Luton, ENGLAND with secondary hubs in continental Europe
One of the major staples in Stelios Haji-Ioanno’s “easy” empire, the popular discount airlines operates a young fleet of planes, which fly 250+ routes across 70+ key European airports.

Primary Hub: Exeter and Southampton ENGLAND
Largely focused on travel within the UK, Flybe’s network spans 40 airports in 7 countries.

Primary Hub: Leeds/Bradford, ENGLAND
Low-cost flights between England and continental Europe.

Monarch Airlines
Primary Hub: London-Luton, ENGLAND
London-based carrier, with low-cost flights to Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

Fly Thomas Cook
Primary Hub: Birmingham, ENGLAND
Budget airlines operating between Birmingham, England and Southern European destinations.

Primary Hub: Dublin, IRELAND with secondary hubs in continental Europe
The original low fares airline in Europe, Ryanair is the largest discount carrier operating on the continent, offering more than 300 routes across 120+ European countries.

Primary Hub: Coventry, ENGLAND
ThomsonFly flies from 20+ UK airports to over 80 destinations worldwide.

VLM Airlines
Primary Hub: London City, England
Flights between England and Northern European cities in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and more.

Travel On The Dollar