Ryanair announced (05-Jul-2012) plans to expand its Birmingham network from winter 2012 with the launch of services to Barcelona El Prat, Krakow, Milan Bergamo and Palma de Mallorca. Service to Barcelona will operate four times weekly, Milan Bergamo service will operate three times weekly while service to Krakow and Palma de Mallorca will each operate twice weekly. The network expansion will see the LCC operate 18 routes from Birmingham in winter 2012/13, expecting to deliver 1.5 million passengers p/a to the airport and sustaining 1500 on site jobs at Birmingham Airport. Birmingham Airport CEO Paul Kehoe said, "I’m certain this news will be welcomed in the Midlands as it means that people can use their local airport rather than having to travel outside the region to fly. Ryanair is an important customer of Birmingham Airport and we’re delighted that the carrier has placed even more confidence in the region by adding further routes to its current Birmingham operation." [more - original PR]
Ryanair to expand Birmingham network in winter 2012/13
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LCC Volotea Part 2: in a competitive space positioned between regional airlines and LCCs
Part 1 of CAPA's analysis of Spanish LCC Volotea highlighted its rapid growth, but noted that its load factor left room for improvement. The Spanish LCC flies almost two thirds of its seats in domestic Italy and France, but operates in a total of 12 countries and 66 airports across Europe. It concentrates on small and medium-sized airports, with Italy and France dominating its list of leading routes.
This second part of CAPA's report on Volotea looks at its generally favourable competitive position on its leading routes (it is the biggest airline on 15 of its top 20 routes). This positive competitive standing has been carried onto the majority of the 32 routes that Volotea has launched in the past year, although its low frequencies and very strong summer bias limit its appeal to business passengers and give it a leisure focus.
Volotea's average trip length sits between those of regional airlines and Europe's principal LCCs. This is evidenced by the fact that two of its most frequent competitors are Hop (Air France's regional airline) and Ryanair (Europe's leading LCC). Volotea's fleet strategy is now to replace its 125-seat Boeing 717s with 150-seat A319s. This will result in it butting up against LCCs more often.
Volotea Part 1: Spanish LCC, growing at ~40% pa - focussed on domestic Italy & France
Volotea is an unusual creature. It's a Spanish airline, but has almost two thirds of its seat capacity in domestic Italy and domestic France. It's an LCC, but mainly operates 125-seat Boeing 717 aircraft – much smaller than the 737-800 and A320 aircraft more typically flown by European LCCs. Nevertheless, more than four years after its 2012 launch, it is one of the fastest-growing airlines in Europe, with passenger growth of 39% in 2015 and a similar rate expected in 2016.
This first part of a two-part series on Volotea looks at the airline's growth record and load factor development. It analyses the geographic distribution of Volotea's capacity across Europe and examines its network of small and medium-sized airports. It also presents the airline's leading routes, which are dominated by Italy and France.
Part 2 of CAPA's analysis of Volotea will consider the airline's competitive position and its recent route launches. It will also analyse its low-frequency schedule and high seasonality levels, in addition to its fleet strategy.