Ryanair surprises with new base in Germany; Baden-Baden becomes 4th German base and 47th in all despite tax issues

Celebrating the new Ryanair Baden-Baden base with a cake yesterday were Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary; Heinz Fenrich, Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe; Henrike Schmidt, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Manager Germany; and Manfred Jung, CEO Baden-Airpark GmbH.

Earlier this year, at the enormous ITB exhibition in Berlin, anna.aero’s editor bumped into Ryanair’s Director of New Route Development Ken O’Toole. This brief encounter (“You haven’t seen me, I’m not here”) took place in the hall dedicated to Baden-Württemberg and close to a stand promoting Baden-Baden (Karlsruhe) Airport. Given that Ryanair already served the airport, there was no obvious significance to the event.

But now, after making major cuts to its German routes earlier this year as a result of the government’s decision to impose a departure tax on all air passengers, it comes as something of a surprise that Ryanair has this week announced that Baden-Baden (Karlsruhe) will become the airline’s 47th base, and fourth in Germany (after Bremen, Hahn and Weeze) in March 2012. However, the decision to base two 737-800s at the airport will only increase the number of destinations served from 12 to 19, as the aircraft will take over operating many of the existing routes.

Baden-Baden ranks 18th in Germany with 1.2 million passengers

Last year, Baden-Baden handled 1.18 million passengers, making it the 18th busiest airport in Germany. Ryanair is already the biggest airline serving the airport with 12 destinations and almost 40 weekly departures this summer. airberlin operates three daily flights (on weekdays) to Berlin Tegel and Hamburg but with smaller aircraft than Ryanair, while airberlin partner niki this summer served Palma de Mallorca with daily flights.

Ryanair started serving the German airport (which is less than 60 kilometres from Strasbourg in France) from London Stansted in September 2003, when a French court upheld an appeal against the deal that Ryanair had negotiated to operate from the French airport. Since then, a total of 16 destinations have been served at one time or other. Ryanair’s current network of routes from Baden-Baden is summarised in the following table by country market.

Country Airport served (Start date, current weekly frequency)
Italy Bari (17 Jan 10, 2), Cagliari (30 Mar 09, 2), Rome Ciampino (28 Jan 04, 4), Trapani (7 May 10, 2)
Portugal Porto (27 Oct 09, 3)
Spain Alicante (14 Nov 07, 4), Girona (5 Feb 04, 5), Gran Canaria (16 Feb 11, 2), Lanzarote (8 Apr 11, 2), Tenerife South (14 Apr 11, 2)
Sweden Stockholm Skavsta (10 Oct 07, 2)
UK London Stansted (25 Sep 03, 7)
Source: anna.aero LCC history database, OAG Max Online for w/c 3 October 2011

Destinations that have been served in the past but are no longer operating are Dublin (Ireland), Marseille (France), Pisa (Italy), and Valencia (Spain).

Seven new routes starting in March including four new country markets

The airline has announced that as a result of basing two 737-800s at Baden-Baden (Karlsruhe) it will launch seven new routes from the airport. These are Faro (Portugal), Malaga (Spain), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Riga (Latvia), Thessaloniki (Greece), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Zadar (Croatia). All of these airports are already served by Ryanair from a variety of its other bases across Europe.

What they said

On site in Germany, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said: “Now Baden-Baden consumers/visitors can beat the recession and escape both Lufthansa and Air Berlin’s high fares by switching to Ryanair’s lowest fares and enjoy our no fuel surcharge guarantee to 19 exciting destinations in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Scandinavia among others. Ryanair’s traffic of 800,000 p.a. will sustain up to 800 jobs at Baden-Baden (Karlsruhe) Airport and in the surrounding region.”


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