Ryanair doubles Reus traffic with launch of several domestic services

Image: Ryanair route launch
Ryanair made Reus a base last November and held a traditional celebration (is that really Michael Cawley at the bottom of that pile of children?) The launch saw the commencement of daily domestic services to Palma de Mallorca, Santander and Santiago de Compostela, and double-daily flights to Seville.

Reus Airport is located around 80 kilometres south of Barcelona and serves the Costa Daurada region of Catalonia. For many years it was primarily a destination served by charter airlines (mostly from the UK) during the summer season (from May to October), who flocked to the region to enjoy the extensive golden beaches.

In November 2003 Ryanair began scheduled services from London Stansted followed by Dublin and Frankfurt Hahn in 2004. Further flights to Liverpool and London Luton were added in 2005 with Glasgow Prestwick making it six routes in 2006.

Chart: Reus airport traffic
Source: AENA

These scheduled services helped the airport grow its traffic from 760,000 in 2002 to almost 1.4 million in 2005. The airport’s seasonality profile is one of the more extreme in Europe with the summer peak of 200,000 monthly passengers ten times higher than the winter peak of around 20,000 last January.

Chart: Reus seasonality
Source: AENA

While Ryanair operates year-round and handled some 625,000 of Reus’ 1.28 million passengers in 2008 the other major carriers are all charter carriers, which only operate in the summer peak. The largest of these is Thomas Cook airlines which handled around 186,000 of the airport’s passengers last year followed by First Choice (135,000), Thomson Airways (133,000) and Monarch (40,000).

UK & Ireland account for 18 of top 22 destinations

Analysis of the top destinations from the airport in 2008 reveals that UK and Irish destinations accounted for 18 of the top 22. The other destinations were Brussels, Frankfurt Hahn, Moscow Vnukovo and Seville. In 2008 the top three destinations were all year-round Ryanair routes; Dublin (176,573 passengers), London Stansted (165,273) and London Luton (107,888). The leading non-Ryanair routes were Manchester (75,732), London Gatwick (67,150) and Glasgow International (55,404).

Ryanair started domestic routes last November

Image: Ryanair plane
Following Ryanair’s decision to make Reus its 26th base, the airport’s passenger numbers increased 97% in November, 136% in December and 144% in January.

Ryanair made Reus a base last November when it launched daily domestic routes to Palma de Mallorca, Santander and Santiago de Compostela and double-daily flights to Seville. It also added a new daily service to Paris Beauvais. As a result Reus’ passenger numbers were up 97% in November, 136% in December and 144% in January.

However, starting new routes in winter is a challenge, even for Ryanair, especially when the airport has no history of domestic services. Load factors for the domestic routes in their first three months of operation are summarised below.

Route Frequency November December January
Palma de Mallorca* Daily   63% 34%
Santander Daily 45% 44% 29%
Santiago de Compostela Daily 50% 58% 40%
Seville Double-daily 49% 60% 43%
* Route started on 19 December 2008. Source: Derived from AENA data

On the international routes Ryanair achieved a 70% load factor in November on four of its seven international routes (led by Liverpool with 72%). In December it was just two routes (London Stansted at 72% and London Luton at 70%), while in January the best performing route was London Stansted with a 58% load factor. However, in volume terms the new Seville service carried most passengers, almost 10,000.

Apart from Ryanair one other carrier operates scheduled services in winter. Since the end of October Romania’s Blue Air has been operating twice-weekly services from Bucharest Baneasa.

Six more routes starting this summer

Not content with its current route portfolio, Ryanair will be adding six more destinations during the summer season. Bournemouth and Brussels Charleroi will be started at the end of March followed by Eindhoven (Netherlands), Nador (Morocco) and Poznan (Poland) in June. Finally, Bristol services begin in early July.


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