Ryanair to Make Drastic Cuts at Alicante

Irish budget carrier Ryanair has revealed that it will cut its activities at Alicante by around 80 per cent this winter, cancelling 31 routes and cutting frequencies on 27 others.  The airline says the move has been “forced” on the airline by a new ruling by airport operator AENA Alicante that the carrier is required to pay over €2 million per year to use airbridges at its new terminal building; a facility it describes as “unnecessary”.  From the start of the Northern Winter schedules at the end of October, Ryanair says it will redeploy nine of the eleven Boeing 737-800s based at Alicante to other airports, reducing its network from 62 to 31 routes and its weekly flights from over 600 to less than 200. 

Up until now Ryanair passengers have been able to walk on to and walk off of its aircraft and climb a stairway into and out of the terminal building, a policy it follows to minimise its turnaround times.  The airline argues that this could still be an option at Alicante’s new terminal but the airport authority have not listened to the airline’s requests.

“Alicante Airport has opened up a new terminal building which was not needed, and to pay for it, Alicante expects efficient airlines like Ryanair to now use the same inefficient and high cost airbridges that other high fare flag carrier airlines prefer to use,” said the airline’s Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary.  “This abusive behaviour by AENA Alicante will now mean that the airport loses over €30 million per annum in revenues, more than 2.5 million passengers and over 2,000 jobs, as Ryanair’s based aircraft and flights are cut by up to 80 per cent from October 2011.”

AIRLINE ANALYSIS: RYANAIR PROPOSED ROUTE CANCELLATIONS FROM ALICANTE (weekly non-stop flights)

Destination

Weekly Flights

Weekly Seats

Aarhus

-

-

Bournemouth

7

1,323

Bratislava

3

567

Brno

2

378

Cochstedt

2

378

Cork

-

-

Derry

-

-

Doncaster Sheffield

3

567

Fez

2

378

Gdansk

2

378

Haugesund

2

378

Humberside

2

378

Kerry

2

378

Knock

3

567

Kaunas

2

378

Maastricht

5

945

Marrakesh

2

378

Memmingen

2

378

Oslo Torp

4

756

Palma

12

2,268

Paris Beauvais

-

-

Pisa

2

378

Poznan

2

378

Santander

3

567

Stockholm Vasteras

2

378

Tampere

2

378

Valladolid

3

567

Vaxjo

2

378

Venice

-

-

Wroclaw

2

378

Zaragoza

4

756

The table above highlights the 31 routes being cancelled and the carrier’s current timetable on the routes in question.  As Ryanair tends to fly to smaller airports, there is limited direct competition to these destinations and some would have been dropped from the winter schedule anyway.  In fact only three routes actually see direct competition.  These are Cork which is also served by Aer Lingus; Oslo Torp/ Sandefjord which has flights by Norwegian and Palma de Mallorca which is served 29 times a week by airberlin, Air Europa and Jetairfly.

AIRPORT ANALYSIS: ALICANTE EL ALTET AIRPORT (weekly non-stop flights)

Rank

Airline

Weekly Flights

Weekly Seats

1

Ryanair

277

52,353

2

easyJet

91

14,189

3

Iberia

77

8,956

4

Monarch Airlines

37

7,908

5

Airberlin

38

6,719

6

Spanair

34

5,398

7

Jet2.com

27

4,544

8

Norwegian

21

3,748

9

Transavia Airlines

23

3,140

10

Air Europa

23

2,451

OTHERS

79

10,711

TOTAL

738

121,833

The cut-backs from Ryanair will however create a vacuum from some European markets and other carriers will be modifying their own network expansion for the coming winter to take advantage of this.  As the table above shows, Ryanair is by far the largest operator at Alicante currently, although other low-cost carriers such as airberlin, easyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch Airlines and Norwegian have a sizeable presence there, as do local operators Iberia, Air Europa and Spanair. 


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NOTE: Schedule data extracted from Flightbase for week commencing April 14, 2011; Traffic data extracted from IATA BSP system for the year ending January 2011.

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