Next week will mark the fifth anniversary of Ryanair basing aircraft at Weeze Airport in Germany, although the airline first started serving the airport (located close to the Dutch border and around 50 kilometres from Düsseldorf) in April 2003 when it introduced daily flights from London Stansted. Last week saw the launch of seven new routes from the airport (to Bilbao, Budapest, Chania, Jerez, Mahon, Pescara and Thessaloniki) bringing the total number of destinations served, at one time or another, to over 75. However, the introduction at the beginning of 2011 of an ‘eco-tax’ on flights departing German airports resulted in Ryanair making significant cuts to its capacity and route network from the airport last summer.
Almost three million passengers in 2010; down 30% in 2012
By the time Ryanair decided to base aircraft at Weeze, it was already operating routes from six of its bases across Europe; Girona, Glasgow Prestwick, London Stansted, Rome Ciampino, Shannon, and Stockholm Skavsta. The based aircraft enabled Ryanair to start new routes to Alghero, Alicante, Palma and Venice Treviso in the summer of 2007 and a further eight new routes at the start of the winter season.
By the summer of 2010, Ryanair was serving over 50 destinations non-stop and by the end of that year, the airport had handled almost 2.9 million passengers, the vast majority on Ryanair flights. In 2011, passenger numbers fell by 16% to 2.4 million as a result of Ryanair’s cutbacks, while the winter season cuts have seen passenger numbers fall by almost 30% in the first four months of 2012.
Data published by the German government reveals which routes had the highest and lowest load factors for Ryanair at Weeze in 2011. Although load factor is not a completely accurate guide to profitability on a route, it is fair to assume that routes with higher load factors will usually be more profitable than routes with lower load factors. In terms of departing passengers, the leading routes for Ryanair at Weeze in 2011 were London Stansted (74,214), Milan Bergamo (57,823), Barcelona (57,264) and Madrid (50,380).
Network back up to over 50 routes in 2012
This summer sees Ryanair serving a total of 53 destinations from Weeze, eight more than last summer (the seven new routes started last week, plus Warsaw Modlin that starts in September), and even one more than in the summer of 2010.
|Country||Airport served (Weekly frequency)|
|France||Beziers (3), Marseille (2)|
|Greece||Chania (2), Rhodes (1), Thessaloniki (3)|
|Italy||Alghero (2), Ancona (3), Bari (3), Bologna (3), Cagliari (4), Lamezia Terme (3), Milan Bergamo (6), Palermo (3), Pescara (3), Pisa (2), Rome Ciampino (4), Trieste (3), Venice Treviso (3)|
|Morocco||Agadir (1), Fez (4), Marrakech (2)|
|Poland||Bydgoszcz (2), Warsaw Modlin (4, starting 2 September 2012)|
|Portugal||Faro (6), Porto (3)|
|Spain||Alicante (7), Almeria (2), Arrecife (2), Barcelona Girona (10), Barcelona Reus (3), Bilbao (3), Fuerteventura (2), Gran Canaria (2), Ibiza (4), Jerez (2), Madrid (4), Mahon (2), Malaga (7), Palma de Mallorca (11), Seville (2), Tenerife Sur (2), Valencia (3)|
|Sweden||Stockholm Skavsta (5), Växjö (3)|
|UK||Edinburgh (5), Leeds/Bradford (3), London Stansted (8)|
|Source: Innovata data for August 2012|
Italian and Spanish destinations form the core of the airline’s network from Weeze, reflecting the most popular holiday destinations for northern Germans. Curiously, Ryanair has moved its flights to Barcelona El Prat (BCN) back to Girona (GRO) for this summer.
Over 20 airports no longer served by Ryanair from Weeze
Airports not served this summer by Ryanair from Weeze (but which have been served at some point during the last five years) are Balaton, Barcelona, Berlin Schönefeld, Birmingham, Bratislava, Dublin, Gdansk, Glasgow Prestwick, Gothenburg City, Kaunas, Kerry, Krakow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Oslo Rygge, Oslo Torp, Santander, Shannon, Stockholm Vasteras, Trapani, Turin, Valladolid, Wroclaw and Zaragoza.