Irish budget carrier Ryanair is to launch its first flights to the small Brittany facility, Aéroport de Lorient Bretagne Sud, with a new twice weekly link from its base in the Portuguese city of Porto staring from April 4, 2015. The airport serves as an active French Navy Base under the name Base Aéronavale de Lann Bihoué and was originally built during the Second World War to support German submarine operations from the nearby base in Lorient.
The new link will be the only scheduled international link from Lorient and will see the Irish carrier generate an estimated 18,000 passengers per year to Lorient, a seaport in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.
Air services from Lorient are currently limited with Eastern Airways offering a domestic connection to Lyon, which will be joined by a seasonal international summer link to Southampton from July 2015, while Hop! has a connection for flag carrier Air France into Paris Orly.
Lorient will be Ryanair’s 32nd destination in France, according to an airline statement. However, analysis of data from OAG Schedules Analyser for the past ten years shows that the Irish budget carrier operated flights from 40 different French airports between 2004 and 2013. In this period it boosted its offering from 11,300 departures in 2004 to almost 30,000 last year with available departure capacity from France growing from 1.9 million seats in 2004 to 5.5 million in 2013.
Alongside the new route to Lorient, Ryanair has this past week also confirmed it has further extended its London Stansted summer 2015 schedule with the return of a route to Deauville, which will operate twice weekly from April 3, 2015. This carrier previously served Deauville – Saint-Gatien Airport in the Basse-Normandie region of France from London Stansted in 2007.
In our analysis, below, we highlight Ryanair’s total capacity in the French market over the past ten years. This declines slightly in 2014 to 5.44 million from 5.54 million seats in 2013, a 1.8 per cent decline. Paris Beauvais is its largest point in the country with 38.0 per cent share in 2014, but Marseille-Provence Airport has seen rapid growth over the last ten years, especially in 2007 and 2009 and now has a 19.5 per cent share.