Ryanair’s winter growth down to 4% from 13% last winter; France #1
In winter 2019, Ryanair will grow total seat capacity by 4% versus W18. This compares to 13% in W18 against W17. The stark difference – accounting for around four million seats – is from no 737 MAXs, with Ryanair due to have 42 in service by March 2020.
Ryanair’s eastwards push
Ryanair’s net increase in destinations in W19 versus W18 is just one. This masks the eastwards focus of the carrier. Of its 15 additional destinations in W19, eight are beyond the EU. They are: Beirut (Lebanon), Eliat (the new airport; Israel); Kharkiv (Ukraine), Kherson (Ukraine), Kutaisi (Georgia), Odessa (Ukraine), Tbilisi (Georgia) and Yerevan (Armenia).
Ryanair’s eastwards focus is clear, with Ukraine standing out. Ryanair serves five cities in Ukraine, and has 50 routes on sale to and from this fast-growing country for LCCs. The emphasis on Ukraine is shown it being the carrier’s fourth-fastest-growing country, albeit from a low base. Israel also
Ryanair focuses on France
It is France – a large country by area and population and tourist appeal – that stands out. This growth is mainly from Bordeaux (258,000 additional seats), Marseille (221,000), Toulouse (141,000) and Nantes (60,000). While France has always been a significant country for Ryanair, the latest push was aided by both strikes in Germany and Germany’s ongoing pricing pressure, which led Ryanair to cut capacity YOY there. Frankfurt Hahn (135,000 seats down) and Frankfurt International (down 152,000) were especially hard hit.
This situation helped Ryanair in creating French bases in 2019. Bordeaux and Marseille became bases in S19 (Marseille used to be a base), both with two based 738s. And in September 2019, Ryanair began its Toulouse base, also with two 738s. These remain its only bases in France to date and, combined, they presently have 111 routes on sale – with a strong focus on Spain, Italy, Morocco (VFR) and domestic France. No wonder Volotea, which focuses heavily on France, is seeing increasing direct competition.
Ryanair’s Italian dream
One interesting observation is Italy, an enormously important market for Ryanair with 29 Italian airports served in all and 14 bases. Despite Milan Bergamo being the airline’s third-largest served airport, it nonetheless grew capacity by 11% – 232,000 more seats – in W19, with from 11 new routes this winter, including to Aqaba (Jordan), Tbilisi and Yerevan. Bergamo nicely shows Ryanair’s eastward push.