Ryanair overtook (09-Mar-2012) Alitalia as the largest air operator in Italy with the LCC transporting 28.0 million passengers in Italy compared to Alitalia’s 25.0 million in 2011, according to the Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Italy.
Ryanair overtakes Alitalia as largest carrier in Italy in 2011
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Ryanair's accelerated growth in Italy shows the success of its hard-ball game over tax hikes
Not for the first time, Ryanair has won in a game of hard ball. It has a long history of forcing others to do business on its own terms – otherwise it will go elsewhere. After Italy increased municipal taxes on air traffic in Jan-2016, Ryanair decided to close its bases at Alghero in Sardinia and Pescara on Italy's Adriatic coast, and to withdraw from Crotone in the south of the country from Oct-2016. It had also planned to close 16 routes this coming winter.
Ryanair now says that it will accelerate its growth plans in Italy, allocating a further 10 new aircraft to the country. This was prompted by the Italian government's decision to reverse the tax increase from 1-Sep-2016. It may also have been facilitated by Ryanair's plans to reduce its UK growth after the Brexit vote.
Ryanair announced on 17-Aug-2016 that it will launch 44 new routes in Italy next year. It plans 21 new routes at airports in Rome and Milan and 23 at regional airports in Italy. Ryanair expects that it will increase its passenger numbers in Italy by 10% to 35 million in 2017 as a result of this expansion. Already the biggest airline by seats in Italy, Ryanair looks set to extend its lead.
Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Wizz Air, Pegasus Airlines: Europe's top LCCs' collective margin drops
CAPA's previous analysis of the 3Q2016 results of Europe's big three legacy airline groups highlighted a fall in their collective operating margin, after growth in 1H2016. This report shows that Europe's five leading LCCs, in aggregate, also suffered a fall in profit and margin in the quarter.
Three of the five – Ryanair, Norwegian and Wizz Air – improved their profit margin in the quarter, but easyJet's drop in margin was heavy enough to bring down the collective result. Pegasus' margin also declined.
Nevertheless, the LCC five remain collectively far more profitable than the legacy three. Moreover Europe's two most profitable airlines, Ryanair and Wizz Air, look set to increase their margin lead this year. Even easyJet, which has had a bad year by its standards, achieved a higher margin for calendar 9M2016 than the most profitable of the big three legacy groups, which was IAG.
The divergence of results in the European sector suggest that not all airlines are following the same cycle. However the collective margin decline for the continent's leading LCCs, and its major legacy airline groups, at least gives reason to question whether or not the cyclical upswing may have run its course.