Ryanair adds summer sparkle to Manchester's growth

Low-cost carrier Ryanair is to further expand its capacity from Manchester Airport this summer with the launch of ten new routes. It comes as new research reveals the UK airports which have enjoyed the largest passenger growth over the past year, with Manchester among the front-runners.

Ryanair is to base an additional three aircraft at Manchester Airport for its peak summer 2018 schedule (June-September), adding an extra 300,000 seats.

The low-cost carrier will also launch ten new routes to Agadir, Almeria, Barcelona Reus, Belfast, Cagliari, Palermo, Ponta Delgada, Porto, Rhodes, and Venice Treviso, as well as adding extra capacity on existing services.

In total it will offer 57 routes from Manchester this year and have 12 aircraft based at the airport.

“We will deliver an exciting set of ten new Manchester summer routes, some of which are connecting with Manchester for the first time, and add an extra 300,000 summer seats to the schedule,” said Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs.

“Over the past four years, Manchester has been one of our fastest growing bases in the UK and this year summer numbers will grow again by a further 9 percent.”

Ryanair has expanded its Manchester capacity significantly in recent years growing from 2.3 million in 2012 to 4.9 million in 2017, according to OAG Schedules. As a result, its capacity share at the airport has increased from 10 percent to 14.9 percent over the same periods.

The expansion of Ryanair comes as research by aviation consultancy ASM, a sister business of Routes, has revealed that Manchester recorded the second largest increase in passengers of any UK airport in 2017. 

Preliminary figures from Sabre show the airport added 1.3 million passengers to total 27 million during the 2017 calendar year. London Gatwick topped the list after adding 1.5 million passengers, a 3.6 percent increase on 2016. 

“Preliminary numbers for 2017 are showing that Manchester was the second largest growth airport in the UK last year after Gatwick, adding an estimated 1.3 million passengers over the year before,” said James Nicholls, senior analyst at aviation consultancy ASM.

“Manchester Airport can expect another successful year in 2018, with Jet2.com, Ryanair and easyJet all substantially benefiting from the continued growth of the UK’s regional markets.

“This new announcement from Ryanair will help backfill the loss of seats from Monarch’s collapse last year and further establish the carrier’s dominance in the UK.”

Top five UK airports by passenger increase in 2017 (preliminary Sabre figures): 

Airport  2016 2017 Change % growth 
London Gatwick (LGW)   42,051,754   43,554,790   1,503,036 3.6%
Manchester (MAN)   25,698,647   27,001,189   1,302,541 5.1%
London Stansted (STN)   24,340,546   25,608,213   1,267,667 5.2%
London Luton (LTN)   14,488,900   15,608,906   1,120,007 7.7%
Edinburgh (EDI)   12,211,702   13,262,228   1,050,526 8.6%