Ryanair announces its winter schedule
Ryanair will follow standard practice and scale down routes this winter, temporarily halting operations from Malta to Seville, Valencia and Girona.
However, it will fly to Madrid with two services per week, one less than summer.
Ryanair had also stopped operating flights from Malta to Seville and Girona last winter.
Announcing Ryanair’s winter schedule yesterday, the airline’s Malta marketing manager Luis Fernández-Mellado said the financial crisis in Spain meant demand for the routes in winter was very low.
This coupled with high fuel prices worldwide and the hike in Spanish airport taxes last July meant “there is no justification” to maintain the routes in winter, he said, warning that fares to Spain are likely to increase slightly next summer.
Ryanair will operate a total of 36 weekly flights from Malta this winter, down from 75 at the height of summer and one less than last winter’s schedule.
In addition to Madrid, Ryanair will fly to six destinations in the UK, six to Italy, one to Ireland (Dublin), one to Sweden (Stockholm Skavsta), one to France (Marseille) and one to the Netherlands (Eindhoven).
There will be just one flight a week to Stockholm and Edinburgh; two per week to Eindhoven, Madrid, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London Stansted, Dublin, Marseille, Bari, Pisa and Turin.
There will be three flights a week to Luton, Venice-Treviso, Trapani and Bologna.
One Ryanair aircraft will be based in Malta this winter, compared with two in summer.
Flights from Malta to Billund (Denmark), Kaunus (Lithuania), Oslo (Norway), Malmö (Sweden), Krakow (Poland), Wroclaw (Poland), Bournemouth (UK) and Glasgow (UK) have also been removed from the itinerary for the winter.
Mr Fernández-Mellado said that the summer schedule has not yet been finalised, but he expected these and the Spanish routes to operate again in summer.
The number of Ryanair passengers flown to Malta since 2006
“The reality is that most of these suspended routes are seasonal and Malta is a very seasonal destination,” Mr Fernández-Mellado said. Ryanair is working on identifying additional routes for next summer, he added. Last summer, Ryanair introduced flights from Malta to Turin, Kaunas, Bournemouth, London Stansted, Malmö, Oslo Rygge and Wroclaw.
Mr Fernández-Mellado said the Turin, Stansted and Kaunas routes in particular had proved to be popular, with Wroclaw performing “quite well”. Flights to Malmö were suspended in August due to “commercial performance” and poor prospects for late summer, but Mr Fernández-Mellado said Ryanair still plans to restart the route next summer.
Ryanair, which arrived in Malta in 2006, carried its three millionth passenger to/from Malta last Monday. This figure includes 370,000 independent travellers. The Irish carrier announced a seat sale to “celebrate” this milestone: seats on November flights will be on sale from €12 until midnight tomorrow.