Ryanair Expanding To Frankfurt

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Ryanair made an announcement yesterday that the airline would open a base in Frankfurt and start flying from the airport (Lufthansa’s hub) to four destinations early next year.

ryanair-frankfurt

The first destinations are in Spain and Portugal but Ryanair plans significantly expands its Frankfurt operations later in 2017/2018 to include more business friendly destinations.

Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg (access the entire piece here):

Ryanair Holdings Plc’s plans for its first-ever flights from Frankfurt sparked a bitter response from Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which vowed to fight back against the surprise incursion at Germany’s biggest hub.

While Ryanair will begin Frankfurt services with just two jets and four routes, Europe’s top discount airline sees potential for a bigger operation there, David O’Brien, its chief commercial officer, said at the airport Wednesday.

“We doubled our presence in Germany within three years,” O’Brien said at a media briefing. “There is no reason why that pace shouldn’t continue. There is great potential for cheap flights from Frankfurt.”

Here’s what WSJ writes (access the piece here):

Chief Executive Carsten Spohr also said Lufthansa’s budget unit, Eurowings, could start flying from Frankfurt to compete with Ryanair if necessary. Frankfurt is the heart of Lufthansa’s premium long-haul operation.

Mr. Spohr said Ryanair’s arrival in Frankfurt wasn’t a surprise and validates the company’s decision several years ago to expand its Eurowings discount arm to compete. Ryanair also is helping lower Frankfurt airport costs, he said, benefiting Lufthansa.

And here’s Irish Examiner (access here):

Ryanair, meanwhile, has been expanding in Germany, where it wants to grow its market share to 20%, from 8%, and is expanding at primary airports across Europe in a drive for more passengers and to attract business travellers.

The Irish carrier said it will start flying from Frankfurt airport, Germany’s largest, from next summer to four tourist destinations in Spain and Portugal, with plans for strong growth in winter 2017/18. Frankfurt Airport, operated by Fraport, has few low cost carriers due to its high fees and long turnaround times.

Conclusion

Ryanair used to fly mainly to/from obscure secondary airports that often were far away from their advertised destinations. The airline, however, has started to offer service from major airports and trying to lure more business travelers. The CEO has also tamed down his rhetoric as of late (used to be outrageous to get free publicity).

You have to be careful when flying on Ryanair. You must take into account all the charges the airline has from printing a boarding pass at the airport to checking in a bag. I have no issues flying on Norwegian or AirAsia. Ryanair, however, could be bit too much for me.

It is interesting how the CEO of Lufthansa commented that Ryanair’s Frankfurt entry that they may bring the Eurowings subsidiary to compete. Eurowings was supposed to only fly routes for Lufthansa that didn’t touch either Munich or Frankfurt. The airline recently made a deal with Airberlin to wetlease planes and crews to fly under their Eurowings brand.

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