• Chidozie Uzoezie

48 New Routes in Two Days: Only One Airline Can Do It

When on March 26, 2017 Emirates launched three new A380 destinations on the same day, it was a big news and when two days later, Ethiopian Airlines completed the launch of three new routes in three days, it was even a bigger news.

But when Ryanair, a low cost airline launched 48 new routes in just two days – on 26 and 27 March, it was more than a news, it was an aviation new height. It had never been done before, not even by an airline group.

The 48 new routes which are spread across Europe, will be operated using the Boeing 737-800NG. At 1 hr 5 mins, the shortest new route is Gdańsk airport, Poland to Vaxjo airport in Sweden while the longest is the service from Warsaw Modlin, Poland to Faro which takes 4 hrs, 10 mins.

With the new routes, Ryanair now operates in 33 countries, from over 200 airports across Europe and North Africa, with over 1,800 routes and close to 2,000 flights per day.

It is surprising, interesting and even thought-provoking that a low cost airline is able to pull of such a feat which obviously come with additional and expensive resources including aircraft, crew and airport charges.

So How Does It Work?

Basically, Ryanair makes money by saving money. It is a low cost airline with no frills services, providing only the basic passenger services at the expense of luxury, comfort and convenience. Every additional service comes with a fee. Ryanair flies mostly to secondary airports where it pays less charges and taxes, thereby saving huge amount of money.

By operating one type of aircraft and configuring them with more seats than mainline airlines, Ryanair saves money on crew training and maintenance costs while carrying more passengers. Ryanair Boeing 737-800 is configured with 189 seats as against about 150 on a typical B737-800.

Additionally, like most other budget carriers, Ryanair employs less experienced but qualified cockpit and cabin crew who often receive minimal training and are required to perform more roles than usual like ticket checking and cleaning the plane.

In spite of being a budget airline and just over 30 years in the aviation industry, Ryanair is the most successful low cost airline in Europe and probably second to America's Southwest Airline in the world.

By number of passengers carried, Ryanair is the fifth largest airline in the world, only American, Southwest, Delta and China Southern Airlines have carried more passengers. Ryanair is currently the most profitable airline in Europe and the largest by fleet size.

Established in 1984 by the Irish Ryan family with a share capital of just £1, and a staff of 25, Ryanair launched its first route in July 1985 with a 15-seater Bandeirante aircraft. It now has over 11,500 staff and a fleet of 380 Boeing 737-800 aircraft with an average age of 5.5 years.

On 21 March, 2017, Ryanair took delivery of its 450th Boeing aircraft, a 737-800, growing its operating fleet to 380 Boeing 737-800s. With orders for about 100 more Boeing 737-800NGs and 100 Boeing 737 MAX 200s, Ryanair plans to grow its fleet to 546 by 2024.


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