Ryanair Gets Ready To Bid For Munich And Frankfurt Slots

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Ryanair has jumped at the opportunity to secure take-off and landing slots at two German airports. The low-cost carrier based in Ireland is hoping to enter the bidding when the ex-Lufthansa slots become available shortly.

Ryanair flying in distance between 2 ryanair tails
Ryanair eyes up German airport slots. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair to profit from Lufthansa’s slots

When a €9 billion bailout was presented to Lufthansa, it came with a sigh of relief. The airline was reportedly losing $1.1m per hour in May, and its future looked uncertain. Yet whatever elation the German airline felt at the time was marred by the restrictions imposed against it. As part of the deal, Lufthansa was asked to surrender 24 take-off and landing slots in the interest of fair competition. In dire need of cash, Lufthansa’s board agreed to the deal, surrendering these valuable assets.

Nearly two months on and the bidding process is yet to open; however, Ryanair has expressed interest. According to Dutch newspaper NTV, the Marketing and Digital Director at Ryanair Dara Brady shared that the airline will “seize its opportunities in the German market.”

From the outset, Ryanair has expressed adversity towards Lufthansa’s bailout; however, its latest move is more than just vengeance. Securing these slots at Frankfurt and Munich could be a lucrative deal for the airline.

Ryanair tail at Lufthansa HQ
Ryanair’s interest is more than just hitting back at Lufthansa. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair in the German market

At present, Ryanair operates in both Munich Airport and Frankfurt International Airport. However, there is certainly scope for improvement. Frankfurt is the most popular of the two airports for Ryanair customers. It flies to the airport from London Stansted and Manchester and serves another nine countries.

By contrast, its offering in Munich is much more limited. There are currently no connections between England and Munich with Ryanair; however, the airline does operate services between the city and Malta, Ireland, and Spain.

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In addition to the services in these two cities, Ryanair also has a foothold in the following German destinations:

  • Baden-Baden;
  • Berlin;
  • Bremen;
  • Cologne;
  • Dortmund;
  • Dusseldorf;
  • Hamburg;
  • Memmingen; and
  • Nuremberg.
Ryanair coming into land
According to reports, Ryanair would station four more aircraft in German. Photo: Getty Images

With services in Germany already, why are Lufthansa’s airport slots so attractive to Ryanair? It is thought that Ryanair will station a further four aircraft in Germany if it is successful on bidding for Lufthansa’s slots. With two planes at each airport, the airline will be able to widen its connectivity to Germany.

How would Ryanair leverage German airport slots?

According to the latest data, in 2019, Munich received 8.8 million tourists who invested €8.29bn ($9.48bn) into the local economy. The highest percentage of those visitors came from the US closely followed by 613,000 Italians and 586,000 UK nationals. With so few connections between the UK and Italy from Munich, Ryanair could undoubtedly capitalize on the market in these areas.

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Ryanair takeoff
In 2019, Frankfurt and Munich experienced high travel demand presenting Ryanair with an exciting opportunity. Photo: Getty Images

Frankfurt was also popular with similar foreign nationals in 2019. US citizens made up the highest proportion of visitors, followed by the UK, China, Spain, and Italy. According to Ryanair’s timetable, it already services 11 Spanish destinations but just two in the UK and five in Italy. There is certainly potential for the airline to expand.

As for when it will be able to do so, the EU Commission is expected to announce plans to open the bidding shortly. Only then will we find out just how interested Ryanair is and what it plans to do with its new Germany investment.

What do you think Ryanair would do with additional airport slots in Frankfurt and Munich? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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