Ryanair is #1 in Italy; we look at fares before COVID-19 using RDC data
Italy is crucial country for Ryanair. Last year, the ULCC had almost 45 million seats to, from, and within it, up 7%, or 2.9 million, YOY. This made the Southern European nation the carrier’s third-largest country market, behind the UK (52 million) and Spain (48 million). Fast-forward to 2020, and Italy is currently the world’s second-worst affected country by coronavirus deaths and it was one of Europe’s earliest-hit. As such, Ryanair ended all Italy flights from 13 March.
RDC Aviation’s Apex tool shows Italy flights had 45% lower fares YOY
Across Ryanair’s served airports in Italy in March 2020, RDC’s Apex shows that its one-week-before-departure fares fell by 45% versus March 2019: from €80 one-way (including taxes and ancillaries) to €44. This was the result of quarantines and very rapidly falling consumer confidence and demand. With Apex calculating Ryanair’s operating cost per passenger for the past financial year at €47, its fare reductions would clearly impact its profitability. However, its very low breakeven fare – far lower than most airlines – would soften the blow, and even more so given the significant reductions in the price of fuel. While this is completely overshadowed by Ryanair grounding 99% of its fleet until June at the earliest, it nonetheless shows the available insight on a airport-by-airport, route-by-route, and country-by-country basis.
Ryanair’s 2019 total seats lead over Alitalia grew to 14 million
While Ryanair has been Italy’s leading carrier for total seats since 2012, the gap over number-two Alitalia has obviously continually grown as a result of Alitalia’s on-going struggles. In 2019, the total seat gap reached its highest yet, 14 million, up nearly one-quarter YOY. This was the combination of Alitalia almost not growing YOY (+0.7%) and Ryanair’s strong growth (+7.0%). Ryanair’s dominance is the result of its strength internationally, with over seven in ten of its Italy seats deployed internationally last year. This was its highest for the past few years from both strong international growth (a CAGR of 7.8% since 2015), counterbalancing that, sluggish domestic performance (1%).
Ryanair had 606 Italy routes last year
Last year, Ryanair had 606 routes across the 29 airports it served in Italy. Catania – Rome Fiumicino (747,300 seats), London Stansted – Rome Ciampino (673,200), Rome Fiumicino – Palermo (666,800), Bergamo – London Stansted (557,900) and Bergamo – Naples (509,700) were its top-five routes. The first three of these were its third, sixth, and seventh-largest routes across its entire network. Airports-wise, with 12 million seats, Milan Bergamo had more than twice as many as number-two Rome Ciampino (5.8 million). Bologna (4.7 million), Pisa (3.6 million), and Palermo (3.5 million) complete its top-five Italian airports.
Bologna is Ryanair’s third-largest Italian airport
Ryanair had 59 routes from Bologna last year, up by a net of nine YOY, with its Bologna base generating almost 11% of its total Italy seats. New routes in 2019 included Corfu, Kutaisi (served for the Georgian capital, Tbilisi), Marseille, Santander, Tel Aviv. In 2020, two new additional Greek destinations, for a total of nine, were meant to begin: Kefalonia (9 May) and Zakynthos (1 June). Both are still bookable on its website.
Bologna one of the hardest-hit by fare cuts
RDC’s Apex shows that Bologna was one of the worst-hit Italian airports by Ryanair’s fare cuts, with a 58% decline YOY. Looking at a selection of 20 routes from Bologna in March this year, Bologna – Brussels Charleroi saw an 83% decline, from €113.11 to just €18.79. Ryanair ordinarily operates this route up to 10-weekly. Valencia, also served around 10-weekly, was second-worst.
What is even more interesting here are the one-week-before-departure fare premiums – in normal times – commanded on most domestic routes from Bologna, such as Catania (€127.35), Cagliari (€115.36), Lamezia Terme (€110.75), and Palermo (€98.35), especially given the relatively short sectors. This is no doubt the consequence of Ryanair’s Bologna dominance and, for some routes, the relatively high proportion of business travellers. With the coronavirus number improving all of the time in Italy and the potential for international restrictions, higher-yielding domestic services are most likely to rebound quicker.
RDC provides world-leading aviation data through its online apps, data services and APIs. Its Apex platform delivers airline route performance data (fares, profit, schedules, costs, CO) while AirportCharges has detailed tariff data for over 3,000 airports as well as global en-route navigation fees and government taxes. Over 250 companies subscribe to RDC’s services; contact Iain Smith, Commercial Director, for more information: Iain.Smith@rdcaviation.com