Ryanair Says Newcastle Airport Was performing well

Ryanair bullish on Newcastle bookings as rivals’ customers turn to its routes amid travel chaos. The low cost airline says Newcastle International Airport had performed well throughout current challenges affecting the sector.

Ryanair has talked up performance of its Newcastle routes following the launch of its new base – and says customers of competitors beset by disruption are turning to its fares.

The budget airline said it had experienced a strong start to its summer season across 19 routes from Newcastle, eight of which were launched earlier this year when the carrier introduced a new aircraft to be based at the airport. Speaking to Business Live, Dara Brady, director of digital and marketing at Ryanair, said “good decisions” during the pandemic saw the airline retain staff while some competitors shed workers – a move industry experts have said is one of the factors causing well publicised disruption at UK airports in recent months.

Mr Brady said: “Since we announced the start of the new base we’ve been very happy with the operation over the summer period. I think Newcastle International Airport in particular has been one of the better performing airports. There’s been a lot of disruption at other airports.

“We’ve had a very solid start to our summer season and we’d see ourselves as the best performing airline in the UK in terms of reliability and operation.

“We’re delighted to say that for people at Newcastle we’ve had no disruption in terms of flight cancellations. We’d launched an awful lot of new routes for the summer season including Ibiza, Menorca and Chania – with a relatively small amount of time to build up a bit of momentum but the booking profile has been very strong. Demand has been very good.

“We’re now moving towards our biggest ever winter schedule at Newcastle – we’ll be flying over 50 to 60 weekly flights.”

Despite inflationary pressures, including fuel costs, Mr Brady said pricing was “pretty good” and that customers can access cheap flights for around £25 to £30. He acknowledged that future price rises were likely – driven by continued cost pressures and a reduction in capacity.

Following widespread chaos for passengers at UK airports this summer – fuelled by staff shortages following Covid layoffs and a resurgence in demand for holidays – Ryanair’s competitor Jet2 was withering in its assessment of airport operators.

Its founder and executive chairman Philip Meeson said most of Jet2’s base airports had been “woefully ill-prepared” and branded the supposed lack of preparedness as “inexcusable” but later excused Newcastle from those comments.

Mr Brady said Ryanair understood some of those comments in relation to the wider airport landscape – particularly as the airline had made schedules known in good time – but noted Newcastle had performed well throughout the period.

He said: “In Newcastle we have a two aircraft based operation and 19 routes – by and large there’s been quite a decent performance out of Newcastle. I think it would be very unfair to put Newcastle International Airport in the same bucket as a Manchester.”

He added: “But it’s not inaccurate in the main to say that UK airports have been under a lot of pressure and they failed to properly ramp up for the recovery. I would certainly say our operations in Newcastle – to be fair to the team up there – have gone well.”

Newcastle International Airport said in the year to date, 98% of passengers got through security in six minutes or less.

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