Edinburgh airport boost as Ryanair announces biggest ever summer schedule
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The airline will have a total of 250 weekly flights from the Capital – 50 more than in the pre-pandemic summer of 2019.
It will offer 65 routes, including the new destinations of Bari, Cork, Madrid, Marrakesh, Nimes, Palermo, Paris, and Santiago.
And it will base two additional aircraft at Edinburgh for summer 2022, increasing the fleet to 10, five of which will be Boeing 737 8-200 “Gamechanger” aircraft which have four per cent more seats, burn 16 per cent less fuel and create 40 per cent less noise emissions.
Ryanair said it represented an investment of over a billion euros and would support 300 highly-paid aviation jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs at Edinburgh airport, including 60 new jobs associated with the extra aircraft and around 500 new indirect jobs.
It said the expanded summer operation would give holidaymakers an abundance of choice to top European destinations in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Croatia and also give Scottish tourism a much-needed boost after two lost summers.
And Ryanair combined the announcement with a call to the UK government to scrap Airport Passenger Duty (APD) immediately for all travel saying that while the proposed cut is a step in the right direction, it is simply not enough and that the UK Government have missed an opportunity to kickstart tourism recovery, particularly for Summer 2022, by delaying the reduction in APD until 2023.
Commercial director Jason McGuinness said: ”Efficient operations and competitive airport charges provide the foundation from which Ryanair can deliver long-term traffic growth and increased connectivity. We worked closely with our partners in Edinburgh airport to secure this growth and improve the services for those that live, work, or wish to visit the region.
“Ryanair now calls on the UK Government to further support this traffic recovery by scrapping APD completely. The 50 per cent reduction proposed for 2023 is too little, too late for post-covid recovery since APD puts UK airports at a severe cost disadvantage versus their European competitors.”
Edinburgh Airport CEO Gordon Dewar welcomed Ryanair’s announcement.
He said: "Ryanair's continued expansion at Edinburgh is extremely encouraging and is a huge show of confidence in the Edinburgh market. Aviation will play an important role in the recovery of the Scottish and UK economies and to be in a position where Ryanair are offering more than they did pre-pandemic is a very good place for us to be in, especially when five of the based aircraft will be the quietest and most environmentally friendly in the industry.
"We know there's a pent-up demand for travel and we want to offer choice to people, which is why we are looking to both retain and grow Edinburgh's connectivity. We must work with partners including airlines and governments to ensure Scotland is flexible in its approach and is seizing new opportunities that arise."
- To celebrate the new summer schedule, Ryanair said it was launching a three-day seat sale with fares available from £19.99 for travel until October 2022, which must be booked by Friday February 18.
‘After two lost summers, people want to travel again’
Demand for air travel has bounced back from the depths of the pandemic and will carry on growing, says Ryanair commercial director Jason McGuinness.
"We’ve recovered incredibly quickly,” he said. “In terms of passenger numbers, we’ve gone from carrying 1.5 million last April to over 11 million in October. There was some disruption with Omicron across December and January, but the volumes are recovering strongly again.”
He says Ryanair took a different approach from many airlines during the pandemic. “While other airlines were frantically cancelling aircraft orders and trying to park planes in the desert, we were doing the exact opposite and negotiating a larger aircraft order.”
And the airline is aiming to grow by 50 per cent over the next five years.
“We lost over a billion euros the first year of Covid and we will probably lose in the region of 250-450 million for our current financial year ending March 2022.”
But he is optimistic about the future and the Edinburgh investment is a sign of that.
“This summer we estimate European capacity, including the UK, is probably in the region of ten per cent less. But Ryanair is going to operate a schedule that's close to 15 per cent larger than 2019.
“Pre-pandemic we carried close to 150m passengers, we're targeting 165m or 2023. That shows our ambitions coming out of Covid.”
He says after two lost summers, people are keen to travel again.
"We were saying from last summer that people who are fully vaccinated should be allowed travel into Europe and that's broadly where we're now at.
“Subject to there being no more variants, I think demand is very strong.”
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