Santa Delivers New Ryanair Routes to Shannon

It may only be late October but Santa Claus made an early delivery this week when he arrived at a Ryanair press conference in Shannon Airport on the morning of October 24, 2013 to deliver eight new international routes to the Irish airport.  The growth from the budget carrier will increase its network at the airport from ten to 18 destinations and is a direct response to the recent government budget decision to abolish its unpopular travel tax from April next year.

Ryanair will launch flights from Shannon to Berlin Schonefeld, Faro, Fuerteventura, Krakow, Munich Memmingen, Nice, Paris Beauvais and Warsaw Modlin from April 2014 increasing its traffic from around 450,000 to 750,000 passengers per annum.  The new destinations will comprise a mix of year-round and seasonal routes and will almost certainly result in a second Boeing 737-800 being added to the airline’s Shannon base once schedules are confirmed.

Speaking at the briefing in the airport’s viewing gallery, Michael Cawley, deputy chief executive officer and chief operating officer, Ryanair, confirmed the first stage of the airline’s promise to introduce more than one million additional passengers into the Irish market that it promised in the immediate aftermath of the announcement on the removal of the €3 tax.

Ryanair announces eight new routes from Shannon Airport.

“The Independent ownership of Shannon Airport has enabled it to move quickly with us to introduce these new routes, and other announcements will come as we actively engage with other Irish airports.  We are committed to delivering on our promise to our home market and will even take aircraft from other bases in other countries to fulfill our obligation,” he said.  Cawley even explained that Ryanair would consider leasing aircraft to grow in Ireland.  “We won’t have to, but we would have done it if we didn’t have the available capacity,” he added.

Ryanair is in continuing discussions with the four other main Irish airports – Cork, Dublin, Kerry and Knock – to finalise its growth plans for summer 2014 and hopes to announce more route and frequency growth from Ireland in the coming weeks.  “Let’s make this clear, the removal of the travel tax is the key ingredient in us being able to agree deals with first Shannon and then other Irish airports,” said Cawley.

The new routes are a significant endorsement for the Shannon market and additional destinations could be added from winter 2014 to develop a more balanced network.  “This will be the start of much more for Ryanair in Shannon.  This has been put together quickly and we certainly start with less than what Shannon will have in the long term,” said Cawley.

But, although more growth is anticipated, the airline does not expect to hit the lofty passenger numbers it had previously reached at the west Ireland airport in the mid 2000s when almost two million passengers flew on Ryanair routes from the facility. 

“The scrapping of the air travel tax will help restore Ireland’s competitiveness and attractiveness to overseas visitors from the UK and Continental Europe in particular but we need to get engagement from the public to back the new routes,” said Cawley.  Alongside the new destinations the carrier is also boosting frequency on its Shannon – London Stansted route from 14 to 15 flights per week, a link Cawley described as “an old reliable”.

In the table below we look in more detail at how Ryanair rapidly grew capacity at Shannon during the second half of the 2000s but then reduced capacity at the end of that decade and the start of the 2010s.  It subsequently increased capacity in 2012 for the first time in four years and will this year offer 4.8 per cent more seats while still serving ten different destinations.

RYANAIR SCHEDULED OPERATIONS FROM SHANNON AIRPORT (non-stop annual departures)

Year

Flights

Available Seats

% Capacity Change

Destinations served

2013

1,617

305,613

4.8 %

10

2012

1,543

291,627

1.4 %

10

2011

1,521

287,469

(-37.1) %

11

2010

2,419

457,191

(-60.6) %

20

2009

6,145

1,161,405

(-14.9) %

35

2008

7,221

1,364,769

16.9 %

39

2007

6,177

1,167,453

14.8 %

35

2006

5,381

1,017,009

35.8 %

30

2005

3,962

748,818

161.1 %

18

2004

1,888

286,805

(-13.3) %

5

2003

2,339

330,717

-

5

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