Pushing Ahead: Ryanair Is Starting 250 Routes In The Space Of 31 Days

Ryanair is renowned for fast growth and for introducing – and cutting – large numbers of routes. The period around the start of winter 2021 is no exception. Between October 18th and November 18th, approximately 250 routes will commence across Europe and to North Africa and the Middle East.

Ryanair B737-800
Agadir, Billund, Riga, Stockholm Arlanda, and Turin are all new Ryanair bases. Note that Billund was previously a base but is back. Photo: Adrian Pingstone via Flickr.

What’s happening?

The Ryanair Group will add about 250 routes in the 31 days to November 18th. That’s a finding from the Anker Report, which has painstakingly analyzed the Group’s entire network around the start of the winter season (we’ll take a look at routes cut another time).

The additional routes are across 116 airports and 34 countries. Of these 116 airports, only Stockholm Arlanda – a brand-new base for Ryanair – welcomed the airline’s first service. The other 115 airports currently or have previously been served by the airline, once again reiterating the importance of connecting the dots as an easier, quicker, and cheaper way to grow.

Arlanda will welcome more new routes than any other airport. However, it comes at the expense of very long-served Skavsta, 66 miles (107km) from central Stockholm, which has now been fully pulled from Ryanair’s website. Sweden has seen 27 Ryanair routes added in all, the sixth-best by the measure, behind Italy (88), Spain (64), the UK (33), Morocco (32), and France (29).

Where the most routes have been added
Not surprisingly, base launches (in blue) generally see more added routes. Image: The Anker Report.

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On the road to 225 million passengers a year

The 250 routes added around the state of winter are mainly brand-new, but they also include some, such as Stansted to Tampere, that were cut but have restarted. They don’t include airport pairs simply shifting between airlines within the Group. The figure of 250 is approximate as some dates for particular launches, especially involving Morocco, will inevitably and understandably be pushed backward.

This route development is one step in the ultra-low-cost carrier’s ambition to grow passenger numbers to 225 million passengers in the financial year 2026. Ryanair’s recently said it has launched over 500 ‘new’ routes since the pandemic started.

Ryanair B737-800
Italy remains the epicenter of growth during COVID for both Ryanair and Wizz Air. The latter has added six bases across Italy since the pandemic started. Photo: Adrian Pingstone via Flickr.

The author’s favorite introductions

Seeing Ryanair grow beyond its typical geography is especially exciting. For example, Amman has welcomed routes from Madrid, Paris Beauvais, Poznan, Rome Fiumicino, and Vienna, with the ULCC to serve 17 destinations from the Jordanian capital this winter. Jordan has open skies with the EU and will welcome Wizz Air later this year and see easyJet grow.

At 2,274 miles (3,659km), Madrid to Amman is Ryanair’s sixth-longest route this winter, with the flight back to Spain having a flight time of around five hours and 20 minutes. Of course, longer sector lengths mean fewer sectors per aircraft per day. This pushes down aircraft productivity by this measure but not for daily block hours.

What are your views of the latest tranche of routes? Let us know in the comments.

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