Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has agreed to cut fares from Stansted airport after reaching a 10-year agreement with Manchester Airport Group, the airport’s new owners, according to a report by the Mirror.
The cheaper flights are part of plans to increase passenger numbers by at least 50 percent to more than 20 million a year by 2023, the budget airline said. The agreement is crucial to MAG, as Dublin-based Ryanair already accounts for 75 percent of Stansted’s business. Ryanair had accused the airport’s previous owners, BAA, of imposing rip-off charges, making the airline less profitable.
Ryanair is also looking to increase passenger traffic at the Essex airport by at least 50 percent, to more than 20 million a year by 2023.
‘We will be cutting our average fares to deliver this. We are the good guys,’ Michael O’Leary reportedly said.
Meanwhile, MAG said that it was in talks with other airlines with regards to introducing long-haul flights from the airport, which presently focuses on short-haul flights to holiday hotspots. According to O’Leary, Stansted’s expansion could create more than 7,000 jobs.
The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group has however opposed the deal. The Mirror has quoted its economics adviser, Brian Ross, as saying that he failed to ‘understand the business logic’ behind the deal. ‘It will simply entrench Ryanair even deeper as the dominant airline at the airport and reinforce Stansted’s reputation as nothing more than a ‘cheap flights’ airport,’ he said.
He added, ‘When MAG bought Stansted, it said that it wanted to make the airport more broadly based, with more airlines and more destinations. This Ryanair deal, coming on top of the deal MAG did with Easyjet a few months ago, indicates that MAG has so far done exactly the opposite.’
Speaking at the World Low-Cost Airline Congress in London, O’Leary repeated that there is potential growth for a low-cost transatlantic operation.
He said that a transatlantic operation would not follow the no-frills business model adopted by Ryanair’s short- and medium-haul operation, saying that there would be a business-class cabin on the transatlantic services.