Forgotten Aircraft: A Look At Ryanair’s Airbus A320s

While everyone knows Ryanair’s B737-800s, of which the Group now has more than 400, far less attention is given to the carrier’s small fleet of A320s. Subsidiary Lauda Europe operates these on behalf of Ryanair using the ‘FR’ IATA code.

Lauda A320
This specific aircraft (9H-LMP) is 13.23 years old and was initially delivered to India’s GoAir in 2008. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Ryanair’s A320s… well, Lauda Europe’s

Ryanair and its subsidiaries have 470 aircraft, including one B737-700 for charter operations and training. The Group is, of course, nearly entirely about the B737-800, of which it now has 409, ch-aviation.com indicates.

The Group also currently has a fleet of 32 197-seat MAX 200s, which is expected to grow to more than 65 next summer. The MAX 200 is mainly deployed on longer sectors to benefit from the higher fuel efficiency while having 4% more seats per departure. They’ll help to further improve route performance.

Then there’s the anomaly: the A320. With 29 examples, they’re operated by Ryanair’s subsidiary Lauda Europe, a Maltese unit. All but one aircraft is currently active, according to Radarbox.com. They have an average age of 14.7 years, all are on the Maltese register (9H-), and all have 180 seats. And, in another element of commonality, it seems that the A320s will (inevitably?) be replaced by MAX 200s.

Lauda A320
Ryanair uses Lauda Europe’s A320s to 76 airports in November. Image: Robot8A via Wikimedia.

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Just four in every 100 Ryanair flights

In November, Ryanair and its subsidiaries have 62,857 flights, based on their schedule submission to data experts OAG. Of these, A320 has a mere 2,586 or about four in every 100. Where are they used?

Lauda A320s in the air
When writing, only seven A320s are in the air. Highlighted is FR9477 making its way from Vienna to Paphos, Cyprus, with 9H-LOO (!) operating today. After returning to Austria, the aircraft will go to Lappeenranta, Finland, near the Russian border. Image: Radarbox.com.

96 routes see the A320

Some 76 airports across Europe and the Middle East see Ryanair’s A320s this month, with Vienna, Palma, Zagreb, and Stansted the origin/destination for all. With seven in ten flights, it is primarily about Vienna, thanks to being the home of defunct Laudamotion, the predecessor of Lauda Europe.

The A320 has 55 routes from the Austrian capital, although it’ll be interesting to see the impact, if any, of the newly imposed country-wide lockdown. Excluding routes between the above-mentioned four airports to avoid duplication, Stansted and Zagreb have 14 A320 routes each and Palma 13.

A320 network Ryanair
A mess of a map, but you can see how the A320 moves around the system, but Vienna is naturally its main airport. The longest A320 route is Vienna to Tenerife South, 2,247 miles (3,616km) apart. Image: GCMap.

Top-15 A320 routes

The 771-mile (1,241km) link from Vienna to Stansted has more A320 flights than any other Ryanair route, with typically two departures a day. The Airbus narrowbody operates alongside the B737-800 on the airport-pair, although it is overwhelmingly by the A320. Stansted also has a once-daily service from Zagreb using Croatia-based aircraft.

  1. Vienna to Stansted: 55 departures (in that direction) in November
  2. Vienna to Milan Malpensa: 50
  3. Vienna to Palma: 38
  4. Vienna to Barcelona: 30 (i.e., once daily)
  5. Vienna to Cologne: 30
  6. Vienna to Dortmund: 30
  7. Vienna to Kyiv Boryspil: 30
  8. Vienna to Lisbon: 30
  9. Vienna to Madrid: 30
  10. Stansted to Zagreb: 30
  11. Vienna to Tel Aviv: 30

Have you flown a ‘Ryanair’ A320? Share your experiences in the comments.

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