Ryanair arrives at Frankfurt (Rhein-Main)

Frankfurt Airport

Ryanair arrives at Frankfurt (Rhein-Main)

Report by Alex McWhirter

Ryanair becomes the first major low-cost carrier (LCC) to operate at Frankfurt’s main international airport rather than far-out Hahn.

Starting on March 29 next year the carrier will begin flights from Frankfurt to Palma, Malaga, Faro and Alicante.  These will be operated by a pair of B737-800s.

Previously LCCs stayed away from Frankfurt in favour of Hahn because of the former’s congestion and its high costs. And airport management preferred it that way.

But as we reported  (see Analysis Online news May 18, 2016) things are changing at Frankfurt.



In the past the airport relied almost solely on conventional airlines for its passenger traffic.  But that market is not expanding to any great extent.

Quoted at the time in Germany’s financial media, Fraport (Frankfurt’s operating company) CEO Stefan Schulte said, “Low-cost will play a greater role in Frankfurt because the [conventional] market is now so developed.”

“You cannot permanently walk past a market segment [budget air travel] that is now expected [to be made available to] by customers.”

Today’s statement from Fraport says, “Fraport’s cooperation with Ryanair is predicted on long-term growth of the airline at Frankfurt Airport. The basis of this cooperation will be formed by meeting the special requirements of low-cost airlines via customized processes and operations, which also facilitate short turnaround times.  In the medium term, Fraport will also meet the increasing demand for low-cost offerings by adapting passenger and terminal processes accordingly.”

What it means is that congested Frankfurt will make every effort to meet the special operational needs of the LCCs.  It’s similar to what happens at other busy airports like Amsterdam Schiphol and London Gatwick.

Some readers will be disappointed by the first routes announced by Ryanair as they operate solely for leisure.   It had been thought that any routes started by Ryanair or Easyjet would be to business destinations where the fares are more lucrative and would therefore justify the higher costs of operating at Frankfurt.

However Ryanair’s future expansion may well cover destinations in, for example, the UK, Ireland and Holland.

Quoted in lse.co.uk Ryanair CEO Kenny Jacobs said, “This is very small for Ryanair.  But all things start out small. We hope to come back in January with a winter [2017/18] schedule that is much bigger.”


Ryanair intends to have a greater presence in the German market with a share of 15 to 20 per cent with an operation at 20 airports.

Germany’s Lufthansa cannot be happy at this development its home base.

In a tweet @lufthansaNews it said “Welcome to the real Frankfurt, dear Ryanair. In case you get lost on such a big airport, just give us a call !”

Says airline analyst John Strickland tweeted, “Lufthansa’s yields (revenue) are under pressure, union challenges remain and then Ryanair announces a new Frankfurt base.”

Ryanair.com   Frankfurt-airport.com













Ryanair to take delivery of 50 aircraft in next 12 months

Ryanair Aircraft

Ryanair says it will take delivery of 50 new Boeing aircraft over the next twelve months, and plans to hire over 3,500 new staff across sectors including cabin crew, pilots and aircraft engineers.

The low-cost carrier currently operates a fleet of around 360 B737-800 aircraft, with over 100 more on order. Ryanair is also a customer for the forthcoming Boeing B737 Max 200, with 100 of the next-generation aircraft on order.

The airline said that 2017 would be its busiest recruitment year to date, with plans to hire 2,000 new cabin crew, 1,000 pilots and 250 aircraft engineers, as well as promoting over 300 First Officers on its command upgrade programme, and creating new positions in IT, sales and marketing, digital experience, finance and commercial.


Ryanair offers €10 voucher for new My Ryanair members

My Ryanair

Ryanair has launched a promotion encouraging customers to sign up to its My Ryanair service.

Users signing up here by September 9, will receive a €10 travel credit redeemable against their next flight.

Customers must complete their My Ryanair profile – including name, nationality, date of birth, phone number, passport and payment details – to be eligible for the voucher.

The voucher will then “be waiting for you on the payment page when you book your next trip”, which must be booked by September 21, for travel between October 1 and December 18, 2016, and January 10-31, 2017.

The Irish carrier says that the My Ryanair service allows customers to “enjoy faster booking, special offers and a travel experience that’s tailored to you”, by storing personal details on its website.


Ryanair reveals annual profits of £482 million

Budget carrier Ryanair has announced annual profits of 569 million euros (£482 million), an increase of 13 per cent.

Despite higher fuel costs, the airline’s revenues rose to 4.88 billion euros (£4.13 billion) during the year up to March 31.

Passenger traffic grew 5 per cent to 79.3 million, despite the grounding of up to 80 winter aircraft, as Ryanair added 217 new routes to its roster. It now operates 1,600 routes.

During the same period, fuel costs increased by 18 per cent, or by 292 million euros (£247 million) and now makes up 45 per cent of total costs.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Delivering a 13 per cent increase in profits and 5 per cent traffic growth despite high oil prices during a European recession is testimony to the strength of Ryanair’s ultra-low cost model.

“Fuel costs rose by over 290 million euros, and now represent 45 per cent of total costs. Excluding fuel, unit costs were up 3 per cent due to excessive and unjustified increases in Italian ATC, Eurocontrol and Spanish airport fees.”

Ryanair’s fleet increased by 15 aircraft during the tax year and it added seven new bases, namely: Chania, Greece; Eindhoven, Netherlands; Fez, Morocco; Krakow, Poland; Maastricht, Netherlands; Marrakech, Morocco; and Zadar, Croatia.

The carrier is forecasting net profits of between 570 million to 600 million euros (£483 million to £508 million) over the next year.

Earlier this year, Ryanair signed an agreement to purchase 175 new-generation B737-800 aircraft from Boeing (see online news, March 2013).

The deal will allow Ryanair to grow its all-B737-800 fleet to over 400 aircraft, and serve over 100 million passengers per year by 2019.

Around 75 of the aircraft will replace existing fleet, with the remainder being used to grow the carrier’s service “by about 5 per cent per annum over the next several years”.

For more information, visit ryanair.com.

Report by Graham Smith

EU set to reject Ryanair’s takeover bid for Aer Lingus

The EU Commission looks set to reject Ryanair’s latest bid for Aer Lingus, according to a press release from the low-cost carrier.

In a statement Ryanair said that it has been “notified this morning (February 12) at a State of Play meeting with the EU Commission, that the EU Commission intends to prohibit Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus, despite the fact that Ryanair has met every competition concern raised in the EU’s Statement of Objections and during the review process, including providing the EU – at its request – with irrevocable commitments from not one, but two, upfront buyers to eliminate all competitive overlaps between Ryanair and Aer Lingus”

The carrier says that BA’s owner IAG has committed to “take over divestments of Ryanair’s and Aer Lingus’ entire London-Gatwick operations”, while Flybe has committed to take over 43 Aer Lingus UK and European routes (see online news February 6).

The European Commission is expected to give its decision on Ryanair’s latest bid for Aer Lingus on March 6, and the carrier says it has “instructed its lawyers to appeal any prohibition decision to the European Courts”.

Ryanair’s recently appointed head of communications Robin Kiely said:

“It appears clear from this morning’s meeting, that no matter what remedies Ryanair offered, we were not going to get a fair hearing and we’re going to be prohibited regardless of competition rules.

“Given Ryanair’s remedies package clearly addresses every issue raised in the EU’s Statement of Objections, any decision to prohibit would be manifestly unfair and in contravention of EU competition rules.

“Ryanair has no alternative but to appeal any prohibition decision and we expect to get a fair hearing at the European Courts, as we haven’t received one from Commissioner Almunia and his case team. This decision is clearly a political one to meet the narrow, vested interests of the Irish Government and is not based on competition law.”

For more information visit ryanair.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Ryanair “withdraws from Stansted sale process”

Ryanair says it has withdrawn from the sale process of Stansted airport, citing the current owner’s decision to exclude the low-cost carrier from the process.

The airline – which accounts for nearly 70 per cent of Stansted’s traffic – said that it had been advised by BAA’s owners Ferrovial that it would “exclude Ryanair (and any Ryanair related consortium) from the Stansted sale process”.

Ryanair’s spokesperson Stephen McNamara said the airline regretted Ferrovial’s decision, “and the failure of the Competition Commission to restrain this anti-competitive and anti-customer behaviour by Ferrovial”.

As a result the carrier says it has “written to all investors/consortia it has held discussions with to advise them that Ryanair will not participate in the sale process or seek a minority stake”.

The airline also said that it would “continue to explore the rapid traffic growth opportunities it believes are available at Stansted, if and when the new owner of Stansted reverses the doubling of prices which the BAA/Ferrovial monopoly imposed on Stansted’s airlines and passengers in 2007, which has resulted in a 25 per cent traffic decline at Stansted from 23.8m passengers in 2007, to just 18m passengers in 2011”.

BAA agreed to sell Stansted airport in August, following a three-year battle against the UK’s competition authorities (see online news August 20).

For more information visit ryanair.com, stanstedairport.com, baa.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Ryanair increases baggage charges… again

Ryanair passengers will see checked luggage charges on peak services increase by up to £60 per bag for bookings made from next week, and the penalty for forgetting to print out your boarding pass will soar to an eye-watering £60 from January.

From December 15, checked luggage bookings made online for “peak travel periods” (which Ryanair determines as June, July, August, September and “Christmas”) will increase by £5 to £25 per bag, for bags weighing up to 15kg.

Meanwhile fees for the same bag checked in at the airport will increase to £60 (up £25) per bag for off-peak services, and to £100 per bag for peak services (up £60).

In addition the carrier is increasing its “boarding card reissue penalty” from £40 to £60 per person per flight from January 15, 2012. Ryanair says that “less than ten passengers per day” forget to bring their boarding passes with them.

Online checked baggage fees outside of peak travel periods will remain at £15 per bag.

For more information visit ryanair.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Airlines’ dismay at Treasury APD statement

The bosses of Easyjet, Ryanair, IAG and Virgin have called the government’s response to the consultation on reform of Air Passenger Duty “a sham and a waste of taxpayers’ money”.

The Treasury has today released a response to the recent consultation on the reform of APD, confirming the decision made in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that next year’s double increase will go ahead (see online news November 29).

The 27-page document states the consultation received over 500 responses from the aviation sector, domestic and international tourism, other business sectors and consumers. The Treasury said that the consultation “raised a number of specific questions on the future structure of APD, whilst stressing the need to maintain revenues from the aviation sector”.

The response highlights changes to the tax including its extension to include business jets, and the cut in rates for passengers departing airports in Northern Ireland.

However no changes have been made to the current banding structure depending on distance travelled, variations in the charge for regional airports, or the treatment of premium economy passengers within the higher rate of APD. On the latter point, the Treasury stated that:

“Any attempt to define premium economy for taxation purposes would… increase the complexity of the tax. This would also lead to greater administrative burdens for both the industry and HMRC. In addition, the Government notes that any attempt to define premium economy by seat pitch would inevitably discriminate between similar products offered by different airlines, including some and excluding others.”

In response the CEOs of Easyjet, Ryanair, IAG and Virgin have released the following joint statement:

“The Government’s consultation on APD has been a sham and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“We are left with a tax that has already cost 25,000 jobs, is doing increasing damage to the prospects for economic recovery – and sends a message to the world that Britain is a difficult and expensive place to do business.

“We are united in calling for the Government to commission an independent study of APD’s overall economic value and impact. We have no doubt this would confirm that APD’s negative effect on UK GDP significantly outweighs its revenue benefit for the Treasury.

“EasyJet, IAG, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic call for this tax on passengers to be axed.”

In addition British Airways has released its own statement, saying that the confirmation of the rises next year “is completely at odds with the Government’s declared aim of creating the foundations for growth”.

The carrier said that the hikes meant it would have to halve its plans to create 800 new jobs next year, and that it would also have to postpone plans to bring an extra Boeing 747 into service next summer.

To read the HM Treasury’s statement in full, click here.

Take out a Ryanair Cash Passport… or pay £12 admin fee per trip

From October 4 the only way to avoid Ryanair’s £6 each way “admin fee” will be to take out its new Ryanair Cash Passport Mastercard prepaid card.

Those using the card to purchase tickets online at ryanair.com will not have to pay the carrier’s £6 per person per flight admin fee, which Ryanair says “relates to the costs associated with Ryanair’s booking system”.

Cardholders will also avoid payment transaction fees for Ryanair flight purchases made online, and until March 31, 2012 no fees will be payable on any UK purchases made using the card.

Note that the card – managed by Access Prepaid Worldwide – costs £6, but cardholders will receive a £6 travel voucher towards a Ryanair flight.

From October 4, all UK bookings made with any credit or debit cards, including any UK Mastercard prepaid card other than the Ryanair Cash Passport card, will be liable for the £6 per flight admin fee.

For more information visit ryanair.com.

Report by Mark Caswell

Ryanair to impose “compensation levy”

The carrier says it will add a €2 fee to all bookings made from April 4, to compensate for costs suffered by “force majeure” incidents such as the volcanic ashcloud, strikes and snow closures.

The carrier says that it suffered costs of over €100 million over the last year, arising from from “flight cancellations, delays and providing right to care, compensation and legal expenses arising from more than 15,000 flight cancellations and over 2.4 million disrupted passengers”.

Ryanair says that the majority of these claims arose from three periods during which it was “prevented from flying by the failure/inaction of third parties”, these being:

  • the Icelandic volcano airspace closures of April/May 2010
  • the snow closures of many EU airports during November/December 2010
  • over 15 days of national ATC strikes, primarily in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain in summer 2010, which caused repeated flight delays and cancellations.

Ryanair has named the new fee the “EU261 Compensation Levy”, referring to the EU regulation which requires carriers to provide customers with compensation and assistance in the event of delays and cancellations caused by incidents such as those listed above.

The carrier says that it is “unfair and discriminatory that airlines are made liable for providing refunds, meals, hotels and phone calls during ATC strikes, bad weather airport closures, or (volcanic) airspace closures when even travel insurance companies avoid liability during these “force majeure” events, and when competing transport providers (rail, ferries and coach operators) have no such “force majeure” liability under their equivalent EU261 regulations”.

It added that the new €2 levy will “help to defray these costs”, and said that it will reduce or eliminate the fee “if the EU261 regulations are reformed, to include an effective right of recovery clause and a non discriminatory “force majeure” clause”.

For more information visit ryanair.com.

Report by Mark Caswell