by Margaret Kearns
Ryanair yesterday launched eleven new routes from Edinburgh Airport to destinations all across Europe and established the Scottish airport as it’s 27th base. Two brand new Boeing 737-800’s, worth an estimated £90 million will now serve 23 routes between Edinburgh and airports including Billund, Poznan, Stockholm and Malaga, amongst others. Ryanair’s European Head of Sales and Marketing Lesley Kane, said “the 23 routes to/from Edinburgh will deliver in excess of 1.2 million passengers per annum generating an annual visitor spend of over £112 million and sustaining 1,200 jobs in Edinburgh and East Scotland”
The winter season is often a time of doubt within airports as the post Summer slump threatens jobs on annual basis. Ryanair owner Michael O’Leary courted controversy earlier in the week by making claims that Air Berlin, Germany’s second biggest airline is under threat of collapse. Three days ago he informed the BBC: “What we’re seeing is the market being cleaned out. I expect to see another five or six airline bankruptcies in Europe before Christmas”.
This summer also saw the major depletion of the charter industry as companies such as Futura, Sterling and XL bowed out but Denise Hill of Visit Scotland has said “Direct access to a destination is an extremely important factor when people are making holiday choices. So we are delighted that these new routes into Edinburgh will provide us with additional opportunities to promote Scotland in Europe”
With benefits predicted nationwide the launch will be especially welcomed amidst the confirmation of reports that Icelandair is set to halt it’s Glasgow operation until next year. This is an extremely tense time within the airline industry as the recent spike in oil prices has begun to adversely affect many of the giants in aviation with American Airlines and Delta struggling to stay out of the red after June’s peak of $140 a barrel. Meanwhile, Ryanair seems to remain impervious to the global crisis, taking the opportunity yesterday to announce yet another seat sale, whilst spokesman Stephen McNamara spoke on Tuesday of boss O’Leary’s ambitious plans to commence transatlantic routes as soon as Ryanair have secured a 50 aircraft fleet to begin the operation.