Ryanair announced that effective June 1 the airline will cut back its domestic flights in Greece and transfer one aircraft from Athens and another from Chania to Germany while closing it’s Chania base.
There was some speculation over many months that Ryanair’s operations in Greece aren’t as profitable as the Irish carrier initially hoped they would be and the opportunity to station further aircraft in Germany instead was obviously taken with much enthusiasm. And not only that, in the same swing Ryanair also decided to close down it’s base at Crete’s Chania Airport.
You can read more about this from The Greek Observer (access here).
… From June 1 the airline will cut back its domestic flights in Greece and transfer one aircraft from Athens and another from Chania to Germany, where it is expanding its services.
“Ryanair’s base in Chania will close, with the result that four, low-frequency flights from Chania to Venice, Vilnius, Katowice and Memmingen will be abolished. Ryanair will continue to link Athens with Mykonos, Santorini and Thessaloniki this summer. All the other domestic flights in Greece will be cancelled,” said the company’s announcement.
The Irish airline explained that “charges made by Greek airports, in their majority, encourage flights only in summer and only to international destinations; flights that need fewer aircraft in Greece. So, two aircraft will be transferred from Greece to Germany where they can generate higher performance on an annual basis. Ryanair remains open to discussion with airport authorities on formulating a development plan for all airline companies that will support flights throughout the year and justify additional aircraft with a permanent base in Greek airports,” stated Ryanair Sales and Marketing director for the Eastern Mediterranean Nikolaos Lardis.
Ryanair is known for operating only if they get favorable conditions from the local airports such as reduced fees and handling charges. As soon as these conditions aren’t to the liking of Ryanair anymore the airline will abandon the destination, a practice which received increasing criticism throughout Europe especially when Ryanair attempts to serve airports where other carriers pay full fees.
Obviously the carriers business model depends on low costs associated with their operations so in the end it depends on how much an airport really wants Ryanair’s business (or not).
Crete is a popular holiday destination during the summer and fall of each year and this will come to the dismay of many holidaymakers who already booked their trips individually, meaning separate flight and hotel. Searching for replacement flights during holiday season even after the summer might be costly.
It’ll be interesting to see how much market share Ryanair will be able to chew off in Germany, as of now they already operate from many airports including Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF), Munich Memmingen Airport (FMM), Stuttgart Airport (STR), Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN), Frankfurt–Hahn Airport (HHN).