Ryanair sticks to post-Brexit plans of non-UK expansion: It's now flying from Frankfurt

 
Rebecca Smith
Move over Lufthansa? Ryanair is coming to Frankfurt
Move over Lufthansa? Ryanair is coming to Frankfurt (Source: Getty)

Ryanair's branching out (but not in the UK). The no-frills airline is spreading its wings and opening a base at Frankfurt airport.

That makes it the first of the low fare airlines to open a base at Germany's biggest airport as the rise of the budget carriers continues.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, has said the airline will focus expansion away from its central base in the UK, because of the Brexit vote.

Frankfurt had been the last of Europe's big hub airports to hang onto "legacy" airlines, but is bowing to the popularity of the low-cost names, with Ryanair the first through the doors. It will launch the new base from the end of March 2017.

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The chief executive of airport operator Fraport, Dr Stefan Schulte, said it was "responding to the strong and growing demand in our region for this aviation segment".

The Irish airline will have two Boeing 737s there; an investment of $200m (£162m) for the company, along with four new routes to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma. There will be 28 weekly flights, with the expectation that Ryanair will deliver over 400,000 customers per year through Frankfurt airport.

It marks the airline's 9th German base and its 85th in Europe.

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Ryanair's chief commercial officer, David O'Brien, said: "Our two based aircraft represent an investment of $200m, which further underlines our commitment to growing traffic, tourism and jobs in the Hessen region. We look forward to working closely with Fraport to deliver industry leading efficiencies and further growth at Germany's biggest airport."

It also signals Ryanair stepping up its battle with Lufthansa; Frankfurt airport is the German airline's main base. It has been facing difficulties of late with strikes as it tries to lower costs and expand its own budget unit, Eurowings.

Frankfurt is the third busiest airport in the EU, after Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

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