Ryanair adds connecting flights at Milan Bergamo – anna.aero investigates traffic stimulation factor at largest mainland European hub

This week in Dublin: anna.aero Publisher Paul Hogan welcomes Michael O’Leary to Future Travel Experience Europe, a sister business unit to anna.aero. Ryanair was the Headline Partner of Future Travel Experience Europe & Ancillary, where the Ryanair CEO gave a keynote presentation on the strategic goals of Year 4 of the Always Getting Better programme for which “Connecting Flights (Ryanair, then others)” is listed as the number-one priority. The whole presentation is available here.

Milan Bergamo is Ryanair’s largest mainland European base, with it accounting for 4.0% of the carrier’s weekly one-way seat capacity in S17. To put this into perspective, London Stansted has 7.9% of weekly one-way seats and has Dublin 5.1% respectively. On 21 June the carrier announced that Bergamo would become its second hub to offer connecting flights, following in the footsteps of Rome Fiumicino, the carrier’s 17th largest airport operation in S17, with the Italian capital airport handling 1.3% of ULCC’s weekly seat capacity.  

A brief of Ryanair at Bergamo

anna.aero has been informed that 9.2 million passengers travelled on Ryanair from Bergamo in 2016, with its average load factor being 90% for the entire year across all routes. Now looking at Ryanair’s annual seat capacity for 2017 so far (winter changes could still be made), it is currently showing to be up 8.5% to over 11.3 million annual seats. Now if the carrier is able to maintain its 90% load factor for 2017 from Bergamo, that means the carrier will handle over 10.1 million passengers from the Italian airport this year. While this is very positive for the airline and indeed the airport, breaking the 10 million annual passenger milestone, it still means that there will be a surplus of one million unsold seats from the airport, so hopefully the carrier will be able to attract a fair amount of connecting passengers via Bergamo to fill the unused capacity.

At the start of this venture from Bergamo, Ryanair will offer connection options to passengers travelling between Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Corfu, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Lamezia Terme, Madrid, Malaga, Malta, Naples, Palermo, Pescara, Trapani, Valencia and Zaragoza. Looking at the press release sent out by the airline, it states that the new connection options will open up to 300 new routes via Bergamo, however an analysis by anna.aero reveals that it will actually only open up 200 new booking options for passengers via the Italian city during the initial phase of the operation. Of these 200 routes, 65 are ‘illogical’ domestic connections, i.e Alicante – Bergamo – Barcelona. As part of this analysis, we have excluded all domestic-domestic connections, due to the unrealistic option of passengers taking such a route, and because of the geographical position of Milan. However, that does not mean that someone would not take that routing, if the price was right.  

Ryanair Milan Bergamo connections

Seen celebrating Ryanair’s announcement of opening connecting flights from Milan Bergamo, the ULCC’s largest mainland European hub, along with two crew members are: SACBO Director General, Emilio Bellingardi; Ryanair CCO, David O’Brien; and Milan Bergamo’s Commercial Aviation Director, Giacomo Cattaneo. Connecting flights begin 3 July.

Ryanair already serving 13 connection options 

Of the remaining 135 routes left after excluding domestic-domestic connections, 33 sectors already have direct flights between them this summer. However, even with direct flights, an analysis of OAG Traffic Analyser data reveals that a significant proportion of these services still see a strong level of indirect traffic, so Ryanair can take advantage of this. Of those 33 routes that have direct flights, Ryanair already serves 13 of them. They are:

  • Athens to Malta (three times weekly);
  • Barcelona to Naples (daily);
  • Bari to Malta (four times weekly) and Valencia (three times weekly);
  • Catania to Madrid (twice-weekly) and Malta (daily);
  • Madrid to Lamezia Terme (twice-weekly), Malta (five times weekly), Naples (twice-weekly), and Palermo (five times weekly);
  • Malta to Trapani (four times weekly) and Valencia (twice-weekly);
  • Naples to Valencia (twice-weekly).

So by removing these 13 routes from the remaining 135 non-domestic routes opened up by Ryanair via Bergamo, only 122 are new connecting options for the carrier. 

Athens and Madrid to lead the connection charge 

anna.aero has conducted an extensive analysis of OAG Traffic Analyser data for each of the new connection options via Bergamo, and the results indicate that Madrid and Athens are the leaders when it comes to where people will be connecting to. For the analysis, anna.aero has assumed that Ryanair will be able to capture 5% of the indirect market on routes that currently have no direct flight, and 2.5% on services that are served directly by other airlines (excluding Ryanair’s 13 routes), regardless of the business model (legacy vs LCC).

In 2016, just over 275,000 passengers used Ryanair’s link between Madrid and Bergamo, representing a load factor for the carrier on the route of 92%. Looking at connections for Madrid using OAG traffic data, the new operation could generate a further 2,700 passengers on the route, which would help contribute to increasing the airline’s load factor to the Spanish capital to just under 93%. Athens’ load factor is not a good as Madrid’s (87%), however with a potential connecting market size of 3,500, this would jump to just below 89%. 

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser data.

Looking at the top 12 unserved routes that are now available on Ryanair, four of them in 2016 saw over 10,000 indirect passengers. The leading unserved route is between Madrid and Cagliari, a sector which in 2016 saw 36 PDEW (It should be noted that the route has just been started by Iberia Express, with it beginning services on 16 June). If Ryanair is able to capture some of the market on all of these top 12 unserved routes and track them through Bergamo, it should generate 4,700 annual passengers for Bergamo, around 24% of the expected total connecting traffic that the new ULCC hub will generate. The table below shows how the new connections could help stimulate traffic from Bergamo on the initial 20 routes in more detail (assuming that seat capacity remains unchanged). 

Route Estimated 2016 PAX on Ryanair 2016 LF% Connection demand potential Estimated PAX with connections New expected LF LF increase
Alicante (ALC) 84,176 92.8% 516 84,692 93.4% 0.6%
Athens (ATH) 151,805 86.6% 3,505 155,310 88.6% 2.0%
Barcelona (BCN) 377,345 91.2% 2,118 379,463 91.7% 0.5%
Bari (BRI) 448,544 92.0% 1,129 449,673 92.2% 0.2%
Brindisi (BDS) 384,728 92.6% 663 385,391 92.8% 0.2%
Cagliari (CAG) 352,027 91.4% 1,901 353,928 91.9% 0.5%
Catania (CTA) 388,638 91.1% 1,289 374,381 91.4% 0.3%
Corfu (CFU) 36,095 91.8% 218 36,313 92.4% 0.6%
Ibiza (IBZ) 126,776 85.0% 329 115,695 85.3% 0.3%
Lanzarote (ACE) 48,196 91.7% 53 48,249 91.8% 0.1%
Lamezia Terme (SUF) 387,077 91.3% 475 375,940 91.4% 0.1%
Madrid (MAD) 275,230 91.8% 2,748 277,978 92.7% 0.9%
Malaga (AGP) 47,752 91.9% 1,762 49,514 95.3% 3.4%
Malta (MLA) 117,376 91.1% 602 117,978 91.5% 0.4%
Naples (NAP) Launched 1 May N/A 659  N/A N/A N/A 
Palermo (PMO) 395,750 92.4% 966 396,716 92.6% 0.2%
Pescara (PSR) 177,896 79.1% 35 177,931 79.1% 0.0%
Trapani (TPS) 248,204 90.8% 3 248,207 90.8% 0.0%
Valencia (VLC) 233,809 92.3% 1,208 235,017 92.8% 0.5%
Zaragoza (ZAZ) 66,515 92.6% 6 66,521 92.6% 0.0%

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser data 2016. Based on 5% caption of indirect traffic on unserved routes and 2.5% on served.

Looking at the routes, excluding Naples (highlighted in green) which only started on 1 May, the destination that sees the greatest benefit is Malaga, which if demand is to be believed, could see a healthy 3.4% increase in its annual load factor, while Athens is second with a predicted load factor increase of 2.0%. 

First round of connections could lead to 19,000+ extra Bergamo passengers  

With this first round of connection options via Bergamo, Ryanair can expect to welcome an additional 19,000+ passengers across these 20 routes. If we take the 122 routes that are not served directly by another carrier, a 5% share of the market would generate an extra 10,600 passengers. Of the routes that are served directly by another carrier, yet still see indirect traffic, Ryanair could accumulate 8,800 passengers if it was able to take a 2.5% share of the indirect market. 

Now it should be pointed out that Ryanair is already offering connections via Fiumicino for passengers travelling from Alicante, Barcelona, Bari, Brussels, Catania, Comiso, Malta & Palermo, with six of these also being connection routes at Bergamo (excluding Brussels and Comiso). This option could effect the traffic demand that could pass through the Milanese airport. 

Ryanair Milan Bergamo

Milan Bergamo is Ryanair’s biggest base in mainland Europe, with it welcoming 9.2 million Ryanair passengers in 2016 and achieving an average load factor of 90%. The airport, with the addition of connecting traffic, can expect to welcome an additional 19,000 passengers (based on the anna.aero forecast) during the initial phase of the scheme, while O&D traffic should pass 10 million this year.


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