Ryanair Will Finally Compete With Lufthansa In Frankfurt

Filed Under: Lufthansa, Other Airlines

Ultra low cost carriers like EasyJet and Ryanair have been gaining market share in Europe like crazy, causing the legacy carriers to have to evolve. For example, arguably British Airways’ recent decision to eliminate food and drinks in economy on short-haul flights is a competitive response to these airlines.

However, relatively speaking German carriers have had it quite good, as Ryanair and EasyJet haven’t expanded in the German market too much, and most of their routes to Germany have been to secondary airports.

Recently Lufthansa announced that they’d be taking over much of airberlin’s fleet and operating many of their leisure routes, given the horrible financial situation that airberlin is in. On the surface that seems like an odd move, since Lufthansa is helping their biggest competitor by taking over their most unprofitable routes.


However, the motivation for this is rather simple — Lufthansa wants to keep EasyJet and Ryanair out of Germany as much as possible, and they know if that airberlin went out of business, EasyJet and Ryanair would come in with full force. That’s something Lufthansa wants to avoid.

This is also why Lufthansa is expanding their Eurowings division, which is their low cost carrier that’s quickly growing throughout Europe.

Well, despite their best efforts, it looks like Europe’s biggest low cost carrier will finally start service to Lufthansa’s biggest hub.

Starting in March 2017, Ryanair will be adding four routes out of Frankfurt Airport. As of now Ryanair flies to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, which is a good distance from Frankfurt-Am-Main Airport. Here’s Ryanair’s press release:

Ryanair, Europe’s No 1 airline, today (2 Nov) announced it will open a base at Frankfurt am Main (No. 85), from March 2017, with 2 based aircraft (an investment of $200m) and 4 new routes to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma. Ryanair’s lower fares and “Always Getting Better” customer experience programme will deliver over 400,000 customers p.a. at Frankfurt Airport as follows:

  • 2 based aircraft ($200m)
  • 4 new routes: Alicante (daily), Faro (daily), Malaga (daily) and Palma (daily)
  • 28 weekly flights
  • 400,000 customers p.a.

Ryanair becomes the first low fares airline to open a base at Frankfurt am Main, which is Germany’s biggest airport and the main home of Lufthansa. Ryanair will be working closely with Frankfurt am Main to open new routes and deliver low fare traffic growth as part of Ryanair’s continuing rapid growth in the German market.

It’s interesting that Ryanair’s first routes out of Frankfurt are to leisure destinations and not business destinations, as Ryanair has significantly increased their presence in business markets the past few years.


Perhaps the best part of this news is the hilarious exchange on Twitter between Lufthansa and Ryanair:

For those of you not aware, Lufthansa is throwing shade at the fact that Ryanair typically flies to secondary airports. Unfortunately for Lufthansa, they left the door wide open for Ryanair’s response.

Here’s to hoping we see a lot of Ryanair expansion out of Frankfurt soon, given how expensive airfare can be out of the airport.

(Tip of the hat to Economy Class & Beyond)

  1. Yes would love to see Ryanair further grow at FRA plus having other LCCs like EasyJet entering the airport also.

    Its appalling that LH can charge what they do out of FRA on what is essentially a stripped down LCC like product anyhow within Europe. Might as well have the actual LCC and their fair pricing.

  2. I think Lufthansa’s shade also involves the fact that in the picture Ryan Air was using a marshaling vehicle to guide their aircraft to the stand. Lufthansa is joking at the fact that they would get lost at FRA otherwise

  3. Well, the Ryanair base at FRA might not be that bi Business as they may expect. Most Lufthansa routes within Continental Europe are either connections via their hubs at FRA and MUC (e.g. Scandinavia – Span) or Long Haul Feeders.

    Also, most Lufthansa high-yeald customers are corporate accounts who value their or other Star Alliance partners’ loyality programs and benefits.

    So, where again is the value Ryanair can offer to those customers here?

  4. @Jan, they offer low prices. That’s why they’re the biggest airlines in Europe. And that can’t be all tourists.

  5. @Jan is correct.

    The ULCCs are not for everyone. They may be the darlings of the drunken leisure crowd; but, the business sect wants reliability and consistent frequencies.

  6. Here’s to hoping that competition at FRA like FR will make LH someday finally drop their ridiculous policy of charging double or triple for one-way EU segments. I know this is highly unlikely but still one can always hope right ?

  7. Ryanair is not for everyone but it will serve the locals on vacation. FRA is a really convenient airport as it has a station with ICE/IC/EC that connect all neighboring cities within minutes. For departures, I always find FRA much better than other cities because convenient DB connections. Even for my business trips, I have taken Ryanair. They have a business/class even though it is just the front seat with priority boarding and faster security etc but much cheaper than competitors. I think for short EU flights where you wanna fly directly, Ryanair business makes more sense. Of course, LH price for direct routes out of FRA is notorious, so I really hope Ryanair expands its network out of FRA

  8. Are Ryanair and Easyjet as subject to IRROPS disruptions as Spirit Airlines is in the US? (If Spirit cancels a flight, passengers may need to wait days for re-accommodation. Is that also true of the European ULCC’s?)

  9. @UAPhil
    They do NOT rebook you on any other carriers and you indeed are stuck with the very flights they themselves offer in case something goes wrong. Of course, EU Law dictates compensation for 3h+ delays but well, then you are stuck with 200€ (assuming short distane flights) for 4 days as some of their routings have only a 2flights/week frequency (some even 1/week).
    All in all I do understand flying Ryanair as I do so myself. I am a leisure traveller but fares aren’t my only motivation. Problem is most ‘permium’ carriers are becoming LCCs servicewise with the branding and fare of a premium one. I actually prefer FR over SN in quite some situations nowadays: better times, better fares and a cheaper fare. Servicewise… Well as long as you assume everything will go as promised (ie no delays/cancellations) I really don’t see any difference: I pay for food, beverages, luggage, seat selection… in both cases. I even find Ryanair more flexible when they have schedule changes than others (eg willing to rebook my whole itinerary simply due to a small difference arrival timings…).

    Over the years, Ryanair has earned more of my respect. No sorry let me correct that sentence, Ryanair has kept the same level of respect it always had, only the other carriers that form the comparison have worsened.

  10. @UAPhil
    If Ryanair cancels or reschedules a flight they will not rebook you on another airline.
    And if you dont have more than 1 flight per day to that destination it can suck big time.
    This is the most inconvenient thing about Ryanair and Wizz air..
    Really the only think that motivates me to fly with them are the 10€ tickets (1 carry on and 1 handbag/laptop bag included)..

  11. My philosophy is that “life is too short to fly Spirit Airlines”. Looks the same for Ryanair and the other European ULCC’s.

    (Actually, knowledgeable frequent flyers can ensure they have reasonable cost backup plans, such as using miles on another carrier if the ULCC strands them. It’s the infrequent flyers who may be hung out to dry.)

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