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:
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) November 2, 2016
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)