Last week Ryanair revealed plans to open its third base in Morocco, a country on the North-West coast of Africa. However, the airline’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, today revealed that the airline has no plans to expand on the continent outside of the country for the time being.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryanair was the world’s number one international airline in terms of passengers carried. The airline was operating from 79 bases across Europe and Northern Africa. While the pandemic prompted a mammoth Ryanair charter repatriation flight to Liberia, the airline has no plans to launch any African bases outside of Morocco any time soon.
No African expansion imminent
While Ryanair announced its third Moroccan base last week, “Europe’s favorite airline” is in no rush to conquer another continent just yet. Speaking to CAPA Live earlier today, the airline’s CEO Eddie Wilson commented,
“I’m in no hurry to go to another [African] country… We’ve been in Morocco since 2006, and we have a very good relationship there. We’ve grown steadily. We’re under about 5 million passengers there this year, which is not insubstantial in that country alone, but without any domestics or anything.”
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Steady growth in the country
Ryanair arrived in Morocco in October 2006, with two flights to Fez and two flights to Marrakech, according to aviation data experts Cirium. For the first year, the airline averaged 48 one-way flights departing the country per month. By 2019, this had grown to an average of 1,115 flights a month from up to 10 airports at once.
Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the airline’s North African operations, although schedule data suggests that flights from the nation have already recovered by around half. In June, the Irish low-cost carrier had 508 flights scheduled from ten airports from Agadir to Tangier. In July, this is set to almost double to 933 flights.
Another Moroccan base
The comments come just a week after Wilson was in Morocco to launch a new Ryanair base. From this winter, two of the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft will be based in the city of Agadir, with an accompanying investment of around $200 million. The base will create 60 new jobs, with 16 routes to seven European countries. Including flights to Agadir from other bases, the airport will have 25 routes, equating to around 55 departures a week.
Ryanair first began flying to Agadir in October 2008, with an average of 13 flights a month. By 2019, this had increased to an average of 48 flights per month in 2019. June 2020 and May 2021 both saw no flights to the city by the LCC. However, 25 flights were scheduled last month, increasing to 45 in July 2021.
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