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Ryanair to Open Paris Base and Stimulates Demand with 2-4-1 Sale
In a positive strategic move, Ryanair announced that the airline’s fourth base in France would open at Paris Beauvais (BVA), from 3rd December 2020. The Irish carrier already has bases in Toulouse, Marseille Provence and Bordeaux. François Rubichon, BVA’s Chairman of the board, said, “(BVA) is the first base announced by Ryanair in Europe since the beginning of the (COVID-19) crisis and materializes the hard work carried out for several months between SAGEB and Ryanair teams.
The airline will base two aircraft at BVA operating 32 routes to 13 countries in what the airline claims to be a $200 million investment. BVA is 53 miles north-northwest from the center of Paris and is linked to the city by an 80-minute bus journey.
Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness said, “This development will create over 2,300 direct and indirect jobs at a time when other airlines, including Air France, retrench and reduce capacity and investment, despite receiving €7bn in discriminatory State Aid.” He added that there would be “two new services to Paphos & Manchester (both twice weekly) and connections to exciting business and leisure destinations such as Barcelona, Milan, Faro and Thessaloniki.”
Ryanair also this week launched a series of commercial initiatives to stimulate demand in anticipation of a brutal winter in the European aviation industry. On Thursday the airline held a ‘Buy 1, Get 1 Free’ sale on 1,600 routes across its network for travel between 25th September and 14th December 2020. The 24-hour sale was the first-ever for the airline and comes after an announcement that the airline will waive change fees for passengers booked to fly in October and November.
Inconsistent travel restrictions across Europe and the U.K. have deterred passengers from advance booking. In an interview with the U.K.’s ITV News, chief executive officer of the Ryanair Group Michael O’Leary said that the state of the airline industry has “never been worse”.
Ryanair’s winter bookings were a fraction of the level in the same period last year said Mr. O’Leary. “We operated about 50% of our schedule through August. September, we expect to operate only 40% of our schedule into October. And at the moment November and December look like they’re booking at around ten per cent of our normal volumes.” Stating that other carriers were in a similar position, Mr. O’Leary said that the ten per cent of normal bookings for the period was “a number that’s repeated across most of the European and the U.K. airline industry. We have never seen such awful forward bookings.”
Mr. O’Leary had particular criticism of the U.K. government’s travel restriction strategy. He stated, “The British government doesn’t have any competence, nevermind confidence.” Each Thursday the U.K. government has announced which countries will be added or removed from the ‘travel corridor list’ on the following Saturday. This week Denmark, Iceland, Curacao and Slovakia were added to the list requiring passengers arriving from those countries to self-isolate for fourteen days upon arrival into the U.K. Previously France and Portugal were on the U.K. travel corridor list but removed a few weeks later resulting in passenger cancellations and chaos as travelers hurried to return home.
Mr. O’Leary did have praise for the European Union’s strategy for intra-European travel which is scheduled to come into effect from 13th October. Though this could change depending on the rise of COVID-19 cases in member countries which could further restrict travel to some regions.
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