Have you flown into or out of Barcelona's large airport? If you have, you've probably been fortunate to fly out of the new Terminal 1 building, which dwarfs the old airport tri-terminal set up. Well, I was recently there and as I looked across the tarmac from the new to old, I could not help looking at the multitude of Ryanair planes on the ground. This is Barcelona!!! Spanair, Vueling, where are you hiding! They had taken over practically the old airport. Navy-blue and yellow tail fins of a Ryanair plane (locally pronounced "Ria-ner") too many! They roam like passenger buses through the vast number of runways at the new airport.

Gee! Apart from the Barca footall players, who every time they breathe fresh air make the primetime news, Ryanair seems to follow as well.

I am not a proclaimed Ryanair fan, but I used them a couple of times last year when I visited Italy and Spain while on holiday (and yes I hired a car and I took our car hire insurance). I must admit, it was a punctual service with no hassle.

Check this out...

Aena, the Spanish Airports Operator (similar to what BAA is in the UK) released their 1st Quarter statistics for 2011.

To those people monitoring the airline business in Spain, it was no surprise which airline was on top. Ryanair recorded a traffic of 6.2 million passengers at airports in the Aena network in the first three months of 2011, up 38% over the previous year. A figure that places it in front of the passenger traffic in Spain, ahead of the almighty Iberia (6.1 million) and very prominent compared to other airlines: Air Europa (3.1 million passengers), Vueling (3 million), Spanair (2.6 million) or EasyJet (2.3 million).

The aggressive expansion of the Irish airline in the Spanish market is taking off quickly and every month it surpasses its own record. Last year it pounded Iberia during the summer season (July to October), but the Spanish airline maintained its leadership in annual figures, with 28.8 million passengers over Ryanair's 26.6 million.

In the first three months of the year, air traffic at Spanish airports grew by 4.9% to 39.4 million passengers, according to monthly statistics from AENA. Countrywide growth has been about two million passengers over the previous year, of which 1.7 million is directly an increase resulting from Ryanair passengers. Last year the airline opened four bases in Spain, plus the start of operations in the strategic airport of El Prat. In addition to Barcelona, Ryanair has settled in Seville, Valencia and Malaga. All strategic airports for the Irish airline has seen significant increases in traffic: Barcelona (15% in the first quarter), Fuerteventura (28.5%), Sevilla (22%), Tenerife (11.5%), Lanzarote ( 9.7%), Valencia (9.4%) and Malaga (7.9%).

In contrast, airports, which are listed on Ryanair's blacklist (if there is such a little black book!), recorded significant falls in passenger traffic resulting from the withdrawal of routes and frequencies. For example, Girona lost 30% of traffic after it failed to renegotiate with Ryanair favourable airport fees for the coming years. Result...Ryanair left the building and ka-plosh!

At Barcelona airport, at least there is Vueling, with 1.5 million passenger traffic, is a leader in the Barcelona airport, ahead of Spanair (891 000 passengers), followed by Ryanair (705,117) and Easy-Jet (619 000).

In a nut shell, Ryanair is taking over the Spanish airline market, particularly for domestic routes and short and medium range. Despite the many complaints and allegations of unfair consumer trading practices and the controversy for receiving subsidies to fly from regional airports such as Girona. The economic crisis of consumption in Spain is fertile ground for success at the low cost end proposed by the Irish airline.

Who would like to see us sell car hire insurance on board Ryanair flights? It would become a great source of business for us to reach last minute customers desperate to avoid sky-high car hire excess insurance product offered at the car rental desk. What a Big Idea moment!

See you on Ryanair! In Barcelona! Now that would be hilarious.

Buy with confidence from us. We quickly invigorated the car hire insurance market with our iCarhireinsurance.com proposition. We offer the cheapest car hire excess insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), and upgrades that could fetch you additional savings!

Disclaimer: All prices contained in this article were correct on the original date of publication. Prices may change over time, so for current prices, please get a quote.