Irish budget carrier Ryanair has celebrated 20 years of operations at Bournemouth Airport in the UK but establishing a base at the regional airport on England’s south coast. The airline will station a single Boeing 737-800 there from October 2016 to boost its winter offer by around a fifth, including one brand new destination and three new winter routes.
The expanded offering will boost its available capacity by 19 percent to 450,000 annual seats and will include a new twice weekly link to the recent Routes Europe host city, Kraków, in Poland. It will also extend summer routes to Faro, Gran Canaria and Malta into the winter schedule, adding to its current flights to Alicante, Malaga and Tenerife.
Ryanair first introduced flights into Bournemouth in May 1996 and its latest growth will boost its offer to its highest level since the late 2000s when it offered 479,055 annual seats (2008) and 500,661 annual seats (2009), according to OAG historic schedules data.
“We have built up a good working relationship with Ryanair over the past 20 years and we are delighted to see that they are marking this anniversary by extending their winter programme and adding a new route to Krakow,” said Paul Knight, managing director, Bournemouth Airport.
The airline has been the largest operator from Bournemouth Airport for many years and has offered non-stop flights to 34 different destinations from the facility over the past ten years. Its schedule is currently heavily weighted to its summer operations (accounting for around 83.3 percent of departure capacity last year).
The new Ryanair route to Kraków will be the only current link between Bournemouth and Poland and marks the return of flights on a city pair previously served by easyJet between October 2007 and March 2008.
Ryanair previously linked Bournemouth to Wroclaw on two separate occasions between April 2008 and March 2009 and more recently for the summer 2012 and 2013 schedules. Wizz Air also previously linked Bournemouth with both Gdansk and Katowice during the second half of the 2000s.
Looking more closely at the OAG data, it is clear that Ryanair has had a fluid view to its operations from Bournemouth and has regularly chopped and changed its network over the years. The commitment to establish a base is a major fillip for airport operator MAG Airports and will help it to drive passenger levels close to the one million position, a milestone previously passed in 2007 and 2008.