Boost for Cardiff Airport as low-cost carrier Ryanair returns after eight-year absence

By Sion Barry,

Cardiff Airport has received a significant boost with Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier Ryanair confirming it is investing in a new route to Tenerife – which if successful could pave the way for it adding more destinations.

The Dublin-based airline is returning to Cardiff Airport after an eight-year gap with the launch of a once-a-week route in October to the Spanish resort – a service which is projected to support 15,000 passengers annually.

If, as expected, the route is a success, Ryanair could potentially add further destinations from Cardiff as part of its European-wide summer schedule for 2015.

The airline, which last year handled nearly 80 million passengers across Europe, last operated from Cardiff with a route to Dublin which ran from 1996 to 2006.

It is confident that its new route from Cardiff to Tenerife will at least achieve its network plane occupancy average across Europe of 80%.

Business Editor Sion Barry on the Ryanair announcement

Ryanair’s deputy director of route development Kate Sherry said she was confident that the Tenerife service, for which tickets go on sale today, will be a commercial success.

She said: “We are really excited about this route and we think it is great that we can bring ultra-low fares to Welsh passengers.

“We also think this is incredibly positive for the airport in its drive to grow passenger numbers

“We have a good relationship with Cardiff and have been in discussions with its chief executive Jon Horne since he returned to the airport last year.

“With a significant increase in our capacity over the next five years [180 new aircraft] there is plenty of potential for growth [possibility of additional routes at Cardiff].

“However, this is a first step and we will have to first see how this route develops.”

She confirmed that over the next few months the airline would be evaluating its schedule for the summer season starting in April next year.

Although the Tenerife service doesn’t launch until later this year she said an assessment of the success of the route could be gauged from early forward bookings.

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