Ryanair jobs growth at Prestwick as record Edinburgh winter flights confirmed

Ryanair said it planned to create extra maintenance jobs at Prestwick and potentially expand at Glasgow as the budget airline confirmed its biggest yet winter flight schedule at Edinburgh.

The Irish carrier told The Scotsman it was looking to add to the 500-strong workforce this winter at its Prestwick aircraft maintenance base – its second biggest – and may increase flights from Glasgow next summer.

It came as the airline confirmed it would fly a record 57 routes from Edinburgh this winter, 14 more than pre-pandemic 2019, after increasing the number of aircraft based there this year from eight to ten.

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Four new winter routes include the previously-announced Stansted, Grenoble and Verona, while summer flights to Santiago will continue year round.

Ryanair became the biggest airline at Edinburgh Airport for the first time this summer. Picture: Neil Hanna Photography

Total flights from Edinburgh, where Ryanair overtook EasyJet this summer to become the airport’s biggest airline for the first time, will increase to 224 a week compared to 164 in 2019.

Ryanair expects “strong demand” on the Stansted route, which will resume on Sunday after a gap of three years.

The initial 14 flights a week are expected to grow, with the airline saying it had “all the ingredients to be a high-frequency route”.

Ryanair’s winter schedule at its three other Scottish airports remains unchanged on 2019, with 28 flights a week on five routes from Glasgow, 14 flights on five routes from Prestwick, where two aircraft are based, and two flights on a single route from Aberdeen.

However, marketing director Dara Brady said expansion at Glasgow could be on the horizon.

He said: "We are in very good dialogue with Glasgow. We are in discussions for future growth, perhaps heading into next summer.”

But he said there was “huge demand” from airports across Europe for basing its new aircraft.

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He said: "We decided Edinburgh was the location this time around. It’s a massive growth story for Edinburgh, which is a big vote for confidence in the region and airport itself. It's not often we have such substantial growth to announce coming into winter, and with every other airline pretty much cutting back on capacity.”

Mr Brady said Ryanair expected to prosper despite the cost-of-living crisis. He said: "People will still continue to travel, but they have the tendency to trade down to cheaper options. As the market leader in low fares, when pockets have got squeezed, our business has benefited.”

Meantime, Mr Brady also signalled good news for Prestwick, where much of the airline’s heavy maintenance takes place. He said: "We are growing that base and think there will be new opportunities for job growth. There will be strong growth over the next two to three years as we continue to massively grow as an airline. We are looking to grow jobs there over the coming winter.”

Edinburgh Airport aviation director Kate Sherry said: “Seeing Ryanair bring their biggest ever winter schedule to Edinburgh is fantastic news for our passengers and allows us to continue the momentum we’ve seen building throughout 2022.

“For many people, this year represents the first time they’ve been able to take a winter break since 2019/20.

A Glasgow Airport spokesperson said: “Our route development team engages regularly with each of the airport’s airline partners to deliver the routes and services our passengers demand.”

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