Ryanair plans record number of routes from Dublin this summer
Airports should continue to offer airline discounts until next winter to restore pre-pandemic services, Ryanair chief Eddie Wilson said on Thursday.
Ryanair will fly 900 times a week across 120 destinations from Dublin this summer in what the airline says is its biggest ever schedule from the Irish airport, lured by discounts of up to €80m available for all carriers.
Speaking after the carrier and national airport company DAA announced the plan, Mr Wilson stressed that the incentives would have to continue through the winter if airports were to restore pre-Covid traffic.
“There is a summer sale on airport charges, which is due to continue through the winter,” he said.
Ryanair is adding 22 new routes from Dublin to its pre-pandemic 2019 summer schedule. The carrier will serve destinations in Spain, Portugal, Italy, including Sardinia and Sicily, Greece, Croatia and France.
Mr Wilson, chief executive of the group’s largest subsidiary, Ryanair DAC, noted that Ryanair’s 120 routes from Dublin outnumber the 117 short-haul services all airlines serve from London Heathrow.
He confirmed the airline was boosting its presence in Dublin through a scheme funded by €90m government aid to enable airports to offer airlines incentives to restore routes and passenger numbers.
DAA chief executive Dalton Philips said the company’s share of the amount would be 80 million euros. About 70 million euros of this sum will go to Dublin, while the balance will be spent at Cork airport.
Mr Philips explained that DAA would use the money to offer discounts on its fees to all airlines, depending on the pace at which they restore passenger numbers to pre-Covid levels.
Carriers that restore more than half of their 2019 traffic to Dublin will receive 50% of their airport charges, while those that return more than 70% will be reimbursed 100%.
“It’s a very aggressive program, designed for both long and short haul,” said Philips. “But you have to earn it, if you don’t fly you won’t earn it.”
Ryanair is taking delivery of 67 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft which are part of a global order for 210.
The airline’s summer schedule will make it the largest carrier at Dublin Airport. The company will base 33 aircraft there.
A total of 52 airlines will operate to and from Dublin this year, serving more than 200 routes compared to 190 destinations in 2019.
The government-appointed Aviation Task Force, whose members included DAA and Ryanair, recommended the introduction of the Resumption of Traffic Support Scheme when it reported in July 2020.
“After two years of ineffective travel restrictions, the DAA has finally been given the tools to incentivize travel with its Traffic Recovery Support Program,” Wilson said.