Ryanair targets main airports, prepares for landing in Lisbon
Ryanair is considering the opening of a new base in Portugal's capital Lisbon in a move that will set the airline further on a trajectory of establishing a presence in main airports as it attempts to continue its expansion.
The airline is currently in negotiations to establish the base at Portela Airport, which is already served by Aer Lingus. It is believed that ensuring it can have its aircraft turned around within 25 minutes is one of the key issues to be thrashed out between the airline and airport management.
Ryanair already has a base in Portugal, at Porto. It is understood that the carrier is hoping to have the Lisbon base established by next summer.
Following Ryanair's AGM last week, chief executive Michael O'Leary said that he's planning to open bases at most of the main European airports.
"Increasingly in the future there's going to be a spread of bigger airports, as well as secondary ones," he said.
Plans for the Lisbon base come as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said yesterday that international scheduled air passenger traffic rose 6.4pc in August compared to the corresponding month last year, while cargo levels jumped almost 20pc.
When seasonally adjusted, however, the IATA noted that passenger traffic volumes were actually down 1pc and cargo volumes off 0.8pc compared to July.
"The rapid improvements in demand that we saw earlier this year are behind us," said IATA's director general and chief executive Giovanni Bisignani. He added that the slowdown in demand during August was consistent with the organisation's forecast for a tougher end to 2010 as government stimulus money runs out.
"We do not yet see the strong consumer confidence needed to sustain the expansion with spending," Mr Bisignani warned.
Within Europe, the IATA said that carriers reported 5pc year-on-year demand growth in August.
It said that demand was being supported by inbound traffic on the back of the weak euro, while business travel had also been boosted by a revival in exports.
Meanwhile, the country's Commissioner for Aviation Regulation, Cathal Guiomard, told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday that he expected that remaining passenger claims being proc- essed by Ryanair and Aer Lingus relating to the eruption of the volcano in Iceland earlier this year would be finalised by the end of 2010.
Hundreds of thousands of claims were received by the two carriers, as well as Aer Arann, which between them will incur costs of well over €70m.