Tricky Approach: Ryanair To Open New Madeira Base

Ryanair has announced its next base at Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Located in the North Atlantic, some 600 miles (966km) from Lisbon, Funchal is renowned for its challenging operations. We see what’s planned.

Ryanair B737-800
Ryanair will have ten routes from Funchal. Photo: Adrian Pingstone via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Launching at the start of summer 2022 will be Ryanair’s fifth base in Portugal: Madeira. Supplementing existing bases at Faro, Lisbon, Porto, and Ponta Delgada, the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) will station two B737-800s on the island. It comes as Ryanair added ~250 routes in the space of 31 days.

Funchal is the latest in a string of bases announced during the pandemic. It joins others, including Agadir, Beauvais, Billund, Corfu, Chania, Helsinki, Malaga, Newcastle, Stockholm Arlanda, Riga, Treviso, Turin, and Venice Marco Porto. Ryanair and Wizz Air have used the pandemic to grow.

Speaking at World Routes in October, Ryanair’s Commercial Director said that he didn’t expect any new bases until at least winter 2022. However, he quickly clarified that it’s always open to deals and can easily move aircraft around.

Ryanair new Funchal base
The average distance is 1,409 miles (2,268m). Image: GCMap.

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Ten routes are coming

With ten routes, Ryanair will have more connections from the airport than any other carrier. It’ll have 42 weekly departures or six daily. Half of its routes will have no head-to-head competition: Beauvais, Bergamo, Charleroi, Dublin, and Marseille. The routes planned are:

  • Funchal to Beauvais: starting April 1st, twice-weekly in the first week
  • Bergamo: March 31st, twice-weekly
  • Charleroi: March 31st, twice-weekly
  • Dublin: March 30th, twice-weekly
  • Lisbon: March 27th, twice-daily (14 weekly)
  • Manchester: March 30th, three-weekly
  • Marseille: March 29th, twice-weekly
  • Nuremberg: March 29th, twice-weekly
  • Porto: March 29th, once-daily (seven-weekly)
  • Stansted: March 29th, six-weekly

The core link to Lisbon will have about 12 daily departures in the first week of summer, seven with TAP Air Portugal, over three with easyJet (22 weekly), and two with Ryanair.

Funchal to Lisbon
The fare war has started. TAP Air Portugal’s lowest one-way fare on the day examined (March 27th) is presently €43, although that’s for its 05:40 departure to the Portuguese capital. Image: Google Flights.

A look at what aircraft will do what flying

To understand Ryanair’s schedule at Funchal, the following day-by-day plan has been created. Because of longer sector lengths, each based aircraft will have only two round-trips per day. However, it’ll counterbalance fewer sectors for typically more block hours per trip. The exception is to Porto, just 740 miles (1,190km) away.

Based aircraft oneScheduleBased aircraft twoSchedule
Monday06:15-14:10 (Stansted); 15:00-22:45 (Beauvais)Monday06:45-11:20 (Porto); 12:10-20:15 (Manchester)
Tuesday06:45-11:20 (Porto); 12:10-20:05 (Stansted)Tuesday06:30-15:05 (Nuremberg); 15:55-23:10 (Marseille)
Wednesday06:45-11:20 (Porto); 12:10-19:55 (Dublin)Wednesday06:10-14:10 (Stansted); 15:00-23:05 (Manchester)
Thursday06:00-14:15 (Charleroi); 15:05-23:00 (Stansted)Thursday06:45-11:20 (Porto); 12:10-20:35 (Bergamo)
Friday06:15-14:10 (Stansted); 15:00-22:45 (Beauvais)Friday06:45-11:20 (Porto); 12:10-20:15 (Manchester)
Saturday06:45-11:20 (Porto); 12:10-20:05 (Stansted)Saturday06:30-15:05 (Nuremberg); 15:55-23:10 (Marseille)
Sunday07:45-16:10 (Bergamo); 17:00-21:35 (Porto)Sunday06:10-14:25 (Charleroi); 15:15-23:00 (Dublin)

Each aircraft in use by 06:45

Each aircraft will be operational by 06:45, with 23:10 the latest time they’ll end the day. It’s noteworthy that there are multiple days when flying will end quite early. They couldn’t really get more flying in. You may notice two things:

  1. Lisbon won’t use Funchal-based equipment. With a 14-weekly service, it couldn’t be scheduled with only two aircraft unless other routes weren’t operated, so it’ll instead use Lisbon aircraft
  2. There are 50-minute turns at Funchal

What do you make of this development? Will you use any of the new routes? Let us know in the comments.

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