Ryanair has announced that it will open two new Italian bases in Alghero and Cagliari, in March 2009.These two new bases will create 8 new domestic and 11 new international routes to/from the island of Sardinia. Ryanair also announced that it will increase frequency to 5 daily return flights on the Rome-Milan route (from Nov 24th) and from Dec 4th it will add a new route with a twice daily Rome-Trapani service. Alghero and Cagliari become Ryanair’s 6th and 7th Italian bases with 3 new aircraft worth over $210m.
At Alghero, Ryanair will base 1 brand new Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, it will operate 18 routes to/from the North Sardinian city, delivering 1.2 million passengers p.a.
At its Cagliari base, Ryanair will start with 2 new based aircraft, offering 19 routes, delivering annual traffic of over 1.3m passengers.
These two new Italian bases will in 2009 increase Ryanair’s presence in Italy to 7 bases (Rome, Milan, Pisa, Bologna, Forli, Alghero and Cagliari) and over 15 million passengers annually.
Announcing this Italian expansion, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
p>“Italy is now Ryanair’s second largest market after the UK. At a time when Alitalia and Air One are merging, increasing fares and raising unjustified fuel surcharges, the conditions for more Ryanair low fare growth in Italy have never been better. Ryanair is already the No.1 international airline in Italy, carrying more international passengers to/from Italy than Alitalia.
“This investment in two new bases in Italy, with additional domestic routes and frequencies from our Rome Ciampino base, means that Ryanair will continue to grow its domestic operations in Italy, in a market where Italian consumers have been ripped off for many years by Alitalia’s high fares, fuel surcharges and strike ridden services. Only Ryanair guarantees the lowest fares and no fuel surcharges in Italy, which is why Ryanair continues to be the fastest growing, and the largest airline carrying people to/from Italy. This expansion will allow Ryanair to replicate that success on Italian domestic routes, particularly to the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, which will lower the cost of travel for Italian consumers, as well as making it more affordable for millions more European visitors to travel to the beautiful islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
“Ryanair’s growth in Italy is all the more important now that Alitalia and Air One are merging to form a higher fare, fuel surcharging, domestic monopoly. Thanks to these new bases, routes and frequencies, many more Italian consumers now have a real choice between Alitalia’s high fare, fuel surcharging flights or Ryanair’s lowest fare, no fuel surcharge flights. We remain confident that millions of Italian domestic passengers will continue to switch from Alitalia to Ryanair in the coming months and years”.