Irish budget carrier Ryanair has announced it will introduce eight new routes from its Stansted Airport base during the winter 2014/2015 schedule as part of an expanded offering from the London facility. The low-cost carrier will add winter links to Athens, Basel, Bordeaux, Bucharest, Perpignan, Prague, Rabat and Skelleftea as well as increasing flights on 36 other routes.
The schedule growth supports Ryanair’s ten-year agreement with airport owner M.A.G, which will see the airline increase the number of passengers it serves at the airport from just over 13 million a year to more than 18 million by 2018 and then upwards to nearly 21 million passengers a year by 2023. Ryanair says its revised network will deliver two million additional passengers per annum to London Stansted and will see its winter network grow to 109 routes and schedule rise from 490 weekly flights last winter to over 700.
“Ryanair is a very valued customer and the boost to next winter’s schedules, including new destinations and increased frequencies on key routes, gives leisure and business passengers even greater choice at great value and builds on the strength of Ryanair’s extensive network here at Stansted, their largest base in Europe,” said Andrew Harrison, managing director, London Stansted Airport.
“Ryanair passengers are already benefiting from customer service improvements including a second free bag and allocated seating with more changes to come. Ryanair is changing, Stansted is changing and today’s announcement is further evidence that we are succeeding in transforming Stansted under our new ownership,” he added.
In our analysis of schedule data from OAG Schedules Analyser, we look in greater detail at Ryanair’s capacity at Stansted Airport over the past ten years and how its share of available seats may have declined from its high of 2007 and 2008, its share of total capacity at Stansted has actually risen to over 75 per cent. After a negligible decline in capacity in 2008, Ryanair made more notable cuts to its network in the two subsequent years with capacity declining 10.3 per cent and 9.5 per cent respectively in 2009 and 2010.
A further decline of 6.0 per cent in 2011 saw capacity levels return to the levels being recorded eight years earlier in 2003. However, the statistics show that Ryanair has already started to reverse the decline and a small capacity increase of 1.0 per cent was recorded in 2012, while an 8.5 per cent growth ttok place last year, returning annual capacity above the eight million seat milestone again.
Ryanair has also announced an expanded offering from Dublin Airport for winter 2014/2015 with seven new winter routes and increased frequencies on 21 existing services from Ireland’s largest airport. The budget carrier will operate new winter services to Bucharest, Cologne, Lisbon, Marrakesh, Nice, and Prague. It has also indicated that it will add capacity to a range of existing services to Britain and continental Europe for the winter season and confirmed the growth was a direct result of the Government’s decision to scrap the travel tax from April 1, 2014.
"We are delighted that Ryanair is expanding its winter schedule at Dublin Airport,” said Vincent Harrison, managing director, Dublin Airport. “These seven new winter routes and the increased frequencies on 21 existing Ryanair services provide the travelling public with greater choice in terms of routes served and also the number of flight options that are available to them.”
Ryanair’s expansion for the winter season will contribute to additional passenger growth at Dublin Airport this year, according to Harrison. “Dublin Airport has already had a very strong start to the year, with passenger numbers up 9% for the first two months – which is equivalent to about 200,000 extra passengers. These additional Ryanair services will help underpin that growth and hopefully carry it into 2015,” he said.
The network growth at London Stansted and Dublin clearly illustrates how Ryanair is adapting its business model and building frequencies across its network to better serve the business market while also attracting stronger leisure flows. For example, at Dublin, routes to Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Riga and Warsaw, which were served with between 8 and 12 weekly frequencies will be flown double daily during winter 2014/2015. Meanwhile, capacity to Barcelona, Bergamo, Madrid, Paris and Rome will double from two to four daily rotations and Brussels, Birmingham and London Gatwick will increase to six, eight and ten daily frequencies, respectively.