Cyprus and Morocco are Ryanair’s stand out winter growth markets alongside its new Ukraine and Jordan operations

It is just a couple of weeks before the northern hemisphere switches to its winter flight schedules and latest flight data from OAG shows that Ryanair will offer its largest winter programme with available seats up +12.7% versus winter 2017/2018, based on planned schedules. This is the highest rate of year-on-year seasonal growth since summer 2016 and if the planned flights operate, will be the second largest winter capacity rise this decade.


Summary:

  • Ryanair is set to offer its largest winter programme in forthcoming 2018/2019 schedule with available seats up +12.7% versus winter 2017/2018;
  • This is its highest rate of year-on-year seasonal growth since summer 2016 and could be its second largest winter capacity rise this decade;
  • As well as notable new winter operations in Ukraine and Jordan, the largest growth markets for Ryanair this winter will be Cyprus and Morocco;
  • This winter sees the addition of ten destinations to the Ryanair network (versus winter 2017/2018), but also includes the loss of flights to four destinations.

Like most European airlines, Ryanair faces significant seasonality in demand between the summer and winter months. At times this decade its summer schedule has been more than double the size of its winter offering with a significant number of aircraft taken out of the system during the quieter travel periods. This year that divide is not so pronounced, and the planned winter programme is actually larger than Ryanair’s summer operation in the last year of the last decade.

The OAG data shows the LCC is adding more than six million seats to its winter programme, exceeding 52 million for the full period that spreads from 28-Oct-2018 through to 30-Mar-2019. This is the first time it has offered more than 50 million winter seats and is almost double the level it offered ten years ago. In fact its winter capacity has grown at a CAGR of +6.7%.

As well as notable new winter operations in Ukraine and Jordan – becoming the airline’s 25th and 28th largest country markets, respectively – the largest growth markets for Ryanair this winter will be Cyprus, where it will more than double its inventory (+105.0%), and Morocco, which will replace Greece as its tenth largest winter market with capacity growth of +44.4%. Double-digit year-on-year capacity rises are planned in seven of its ten largest winter country markets and two of the remaining three will see are expected to see growth of more than +9%.

CHART – Ryanair will offer its largest winter programme this year spread across 35 country markets. Its ten largest country markets account for more than 85% of its season capacitySource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG 

In the United Kingdom’s last winter offering as part of the European Union, Ryanair’s planned operation will see the largest boost in terms of additional seats thanks to a +13.8% rise in departure capacity, and in the process overtake Spain as its second largest country market during the forthcoming schedule. Italy will remain its largest winter market with departure capacity set to rise +9.6%. Alongside Ukraine and Jordan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Finland will also be new winter markets for Ryanair.

Romania will be the largest market to see a reduction in Ryanair capacity this winter with departure capacity reducing -2.1% year-on-year. Austria, where Ryanair is now cooperating with Laudamotion, Switzerland and Croatia are the only other country markets where the carrier’s offering is set to decline versus winter 2017/2018, based on current published schedules.

CHART – The ten largest airports in the Ryanair network this winter are all expected to see a rise in departure capacity versus winter 2018/2018, based on current published schedulesSource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG

The Blue Swan Daily analysis of the OAG schedule data shows the addition of ten destinations to the Ryanair network this coming winter (versus winter 2017/2018), but also includes the loss of flights to four destinations. The new arrivals in the Ryanair winter network include Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Tampere, Finland; Berlin Tegel and Düsseldorf, Germany; Amman and Aqaba, Jordan; Essaouira-Mogador and Ouarzazate, Morocco; and Kiev and Lviv, Ukraine. The departures from the Ryanair winter departure list consist of Linz, Austria; Varna, Bulgaria; and Craiova and Oradea, Romania.

Ryanair will remain Europe’s largest airline, but OAG data shows that many of its rivals will grow winter capacity at a faster rate, based on current published schedules.  These include easyJet, Eurowings, Norwegian Air, Vueling and Wizz Air – all with year-on-year growth rates of more than +15%. Other stand out operators among Europe’s top 30 carriers, in terms of expected capacity growth, include LOT Polish Airlines (+29.9%), Air Europa (+18.1%) and Aeroflot Russian Airlines (+17.5%).