Despite just three days earlier announcing an 85% slump in profits and the likelihood of dropping into the red this year, Michael O’Leary is continuing his maverick expansion of Ryanair by announcing the opening of a new hub in Bologna.Scheduled to open in June 2010, Bologna will become Ryanair’s 30th European base with an initial investment of $140m in two aircraft, rising to five aircraft (a total investment of $350m), 25 routes, two million annual passengers, and 2,000 jobs by 2012.
The low fares airline also announced that it will open a base in Forli in March 2009 (the airline’s 29th), investing $70million in one aircraft which will deliver 400,000 passengers to at least three new destinations and 400 local jobs.
Speaking in Bologna, Michael O’Leary said: “The growth of Ryanair’s low fares in Italy marks a major breakthrough for passengers who will now benefit from increased choice and the lowest airfares from Bologna to seven European destinations. This will release the region from the high airfares, fuel surcharges and frequent strikes of Alitalia and underlines our commitment to the Italian travelling public.”
“Ryanair’s low fare routes are good news for business and tourism in Bologna as we will deliver 800,000 passengers each year. This traffic will initially create 800 local jobs, rising to over 2,000 in 2012.”
“I congratulate the forward thinking executives at Bologna Airport who have secured the future of tourism in the area for many years to come and assure them of our support.”
Giuseppina Gualtieri, Chairman of Bologna G. Marconi Airport said: “Thanks to this agreement, the Airport will fill the existing gap of low cost flights offering and pave the way for future development, making a vital contribution to the region’s economy and giving a real boost to the influx of tourists; Bologna’s role as a European gateway has thus been consolidated.
“In March 2009 Ryanair will base an aircraft at Forli Airport concentrating on domestic routes. This will preserve the Ryanair passenger traffic at the airport at its current level of 400,000 and sustain the 400 jobs created as a result, while saving passengers over €40 million on Alitalia’s average fares”.