Ryanair Adds 3 New Routes To Limited London Stansted Network

Ryanair has today added three routes to its limited network of flights. The Irish low-cost carrier has been operating a skeleton service since late March. As such, 99% of the airline’s flights were canceled.

Ryanair, Limited Network, New Routes
Ryanair is slowly beginning to operate more routes. Photo: Getty Images

Airlines around the world have been forced to trim their operations seriously. Many have halted flights entirely as a result of low demand. While Ryanair has severely cut its route offering, it has kept a few essential connections open from London Stansted and Dublin. Today, the low-cost carrier added three more routes.

99% of aircraft grounded

Ryanair, like every airline around the world, is currently faced with a crisis of unprecedented scale. The airline was faced with a choice, operate a full network with empty aircraft, or trim its offering substantially. Like almost every other airline, Ryanair went with the latter option. Operating empty flights is neither good for the environment, nor the airline’s bank balance.

As such, since late March, practically the entire Ryanair fleet has been stuck on the ground. However, there have been a few exceptions. Notably, the airline flew a one-off private charter flight to Liberia, and a medical aid flight to Poland.

Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, Coronavirus
Ryanair’s CEO had thought that the situation would improve by Easter. Photo: Getty Images

So what is operating?

Despite grounding most of its fleet, some Ryanair aircraft are still operating. For example, many of the airlines’ Boeing 737 aircraft have been seen still operating, albeit doing ghost flights. These ghost flights have been carried out to keep aircraft and crew ready for flight. Without them, Ryanair wouldn’t be able to help with aid flights and repatriations at short notice.

The Irish low-cost airline was once known as the biggest in Europe, with a network spanning the continent. However, now its operations are focused out of two hubs. Dublin, and London Stansted.

The airline had been operating 17 routes out of the two airports. A vast number were connecting the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, the airline was also flying further afield to destinations such as Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Berlin.

Ryanair, Limited Network, New Routes
Ryanair is currently operating a skeleton service for emergency travel. Photo: GCMap

Today the low-cost giant announced three new routes that will be restarted. The three routes will be operated out of London Stansted and will see the famous yellow, white, and blue livery flying to Bucharest, Porto, and Sofia. The new routes will recommence three times per week from next Friday. The Porto route will then become daily from the 22nd of May.

Speaking about the increasing flight network, a Ryanair spokesperson said:

“We are pleased to add these routes connecting London Stansted with Bucharest & Sofia (3 pw) and Porto (daily) as we work with EU Governments to try to keep some minimum flight links open for emergency reasons, even though the passenger loads on these flights is very low.

Ryanair, Ghost Flights, Empty Flights
99% of the airline’s fleet is currently grounded. Photo: Getty Images

She added that the airline is now expecting to return to a more normal service in July.

“At this time, we expect scheduled flights to return sometime in July. We support the action taken by EU Governments to combat the virus, and we now hope there is a coordinated plan to lift travel restrictions when Europe is ready to return flying once COVID-19 is defeated, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later. Until then let’s all take care of ourselves, each other, our families and our communities.”

What do you think of Ryanair’s three new routes? Are the essential, or unneeded? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!