Ryanair Zagreb base expects 2-3 million passengers over the next three years, capital in high demand
May 15, 2021 – Ryanair Zagreb base expects two to three million passengers over the next three years and will open Zagreb base earlier than expected due to high interest and demand, the company’s commercial director has revealed , Jason McGuinness.
McGuinness says Ryanair decided to open the Zagreb base two months earlier than originally planned due to heavy bookings and inquiries from Zagreb and high demand for flights to Zagreb, reports Index.hr.
At the Ryanair base in Zagreb, which opens at the end of July, the airline will have one plane by the end of August and plans to introduce another in September, McGuinness said.
It also reveals that following the request; the airline is considering the possibility of introducing a third plane during the winter if bookings are successful as it plans flights to Zagreb all year round and already has 14 destinations planned from Zagreb from November of this year. By summer 2022, around thirty people are expected.
“I will not give you information on bookings by individual routes, but I will repeat what I underlined at the press conference at the end of March when we announced our arrival: Zagreb has been under-represented for years For example, Zagreb and Dublin are cities of similar size. Yet before Ryanair arrived, Zagreb had flights to 38 destinations and Dublin to around 200, and Zagreb is much more beautiful and interesting than Dublin, “said McGuinness on the status of bookings and sales of flights to Zagreb.
He says he is surprised by the bookings from Zagreb. However, this year’s expectations are still conditioned by the pandemic and travel restrictions. There is a lot of competition for flights to sunny destinations such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Croatia.
He adds that Ryanair will not operate traffic to Zagreb only with “Zagreb” planes as it has 450 planes and can fly to Zagreb from the other 80 bases across Europe.
When asked how long they planned to have a base in Zagreb, he replied that they saw great potential in Zagreb and that she would be dedicated to his and to the growth of the airport. from Zagreb.
“We will follow developments and decide on routes, where costs are one of the main points of our decisions. We are the company with the lowest low-cost price in Europe, and we are precisely because of our primary focus on costs, we work with partners to operate efficiently, and costs determine our future decisions, ”says McGuinness.
As previously announced, they will need around 60 workers at the Ryanair base in Zagreb. McGuinness explains that each plane needs around 30 people for its maintenance, from pilots and cabin crew to engineers and support.
When asked if they would look for these employees in the local market or bring them from other countries, he said they already had many pilots and cabin crew from Croatia and many people who would like to live in Croatia because of the climate.
“We work in around 40 countries, 230 airports and have workers of different nationalities. For example, members of around 30 nationalities work in our base in Dublin. In Zagreb and Zadar, where we will also have a base this summer, people from Zagreb and Zadar, but also from other countries who want to live and work in Croatia, ”says McGuinness.
In addition to employing themselves, he emphasizes that one should not forget the indirect jobs that their flights bring to a destination, that is, the benefits that taxi services, buses, catering , hotels and the like have passengers.
The situation is similar in Zadar, where they will have two planes at the base during the summer season this year, for which, like in Zagreb, they are investing 200 million euros.
Asked how he would invest given the losses he, like many other businesses, has in the pandemic, McGuinness said this should be ‘put in context’.
“In the last two months Ryanair has opened ten new bases in Paris, Venice, the Greek Islands, Denmark, Riga in Latvia and Stockholm in Arland. You know we are the strongest company in Europe , and we do not receive state aid and funds, as is the case with other companies, including Croatian Airlines. We do not receive such aid, and we have the strongest balance sheet Europe, and we have merged the strongest airlines. We are the only European company to have experienced growth in air traffic over several years. We find that, for example, Croatia Airlines has postponed the purchase of new aircraft, while Ryanair has confirmed orders for 210 new Boeing 200s, which are the most powerful in this category, ”said McGuinness.
Regarding the purchase of new planes, he says he will resume them in the next four years, bringing the fleet to more than 600 planes, which they plan to carry around 200 million passengers per year.
To achieve this and overcome pandemics and other challenges, he is currently working with partners across Europe to find recovery opportunities, which he considers very important.
“We are doing this in Croatia, where we have been flying since 2006, which means that this year we are celebrating our 15th anniversary, during which we have carried around five million passengers to and from Croatia, which we are. very satisfied. We also know that. the importance of tourism for the Croatian economy and the fact that it represents about 20% of the national GDP. In cooperation with Zagreb and Zadar airports and others, we are also making investments. We believe this is the right way in which we can help recover traffic at this time, ”says Ryanair’s commercial director.
Besides Zadar and Zagreb, this summer they will also travel to Pula, meaning that they will have 58 connections to Croatia, 33 of which are new.
There are a few routes to Dubrovnik and Split, but since the fees at the airports in those cities are too high for them, he says they are discussing other conditions with partners and an agreement is unlikely. be concluded.
When asked if they were satisfied with the agreement reached with Zagreb airport, he only said that “the agreements can always be better”, that they are committed in Zagreb, but also that they always focus on the price.
“Ryanair is a pretty opportunistic company, and there are a lot of places we don’t fly, and people are wondering why. Under our terms, we have a lot of places where we could put our capabilities and where there is a market gap for us, and one of them was Zagreb. I am happy that we have come to an agreement and that we will fly to Zagreb and set up our base there sooner than planned, “said McGuinness.
In the region closer to Croatia, they are introducing innovations this year, such as two flights to Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They also operate in Banja Luka and Podgorica in Montenegro and Nis in Serbia.
They are happy with the activity in the Balkans and hope they will continue to grow there as well, as they have the largest base closer to Croatia, and if not the largest, in Italy with 70 planes.
They also operate in Hungary, Greece, Israel and Cyprus.
Regarding the company’s business as a low-cost carrier, McGuinness says one model is suitable for airlines and good deals, and it’s low cost.
“I repeat that we are the most powerful airline in Europe and that we do not receive state aid for our investments, including for the purchase of new planes, which we consider to be extremely important in a situation where companies across Europe have received around 30 billion euros in aid. since the pandemic. It’s illegal. And we are really calling and challenging because this situation can destroy the market, which is bad for consumers, and it can destroy competition. We will continue to fight for consumers across Europe and to ‘challenge’ all these illegal actions in courts across Europe, ”comments McGuinness.
Even so, and unlike many companies that have received grants, their prices remain extremely low across Europe.
Asked about the owners of Ryanair, he said the state-owned companies are listed on the London, Dublin and New York stock exchanges, which have many shareholders around the world, mostly large institutional funds, institutions and others.
He says flying and traveling on their planes during the pandemic is safe in every way, including health, as safety is their top priority.
“Aircraft are disinfected every 24 hours, everyone who has to be in the area and on the plane pays attention to health safety measures in accordance with international rules, and the air quality on the plane is as in the operating room. Therefore, all available seats can be reserved. on the plane, and passengers and staff must wear masks, ”says McGuinness.
He also considers EU Covid passports a good idea, which will make it easier for people to travel from this summer, and Ryanair has already made its so-called covid wallet or passport, in which all the necessary information can be entered via the application. and website on testing, proof of vaccination etc.
Asked to comment on Croatia Airlines’ complaints, McGuinness said it was not at all inappropriate to complain because they had “received millions of euros”, he said, in illegal state aid.
“The point is that Croatia Airlines has not achieved growth and profit in the past four years. Ryanair will bring 14 new routes to Zagreb this year, and Croatia Airlines has brought three in the past four years. We think Croatia Airlines needs to do its homework again and recalculate, ”comments McGuinness.
When asked if Croatia Airlines is their competitor in Croatia and how they generally deal with competitors, he reiterated that they operate in 40 countries, concluding that they still see competition as good for consumers, airports. and Ryanair, as well as for Croatia, Zagreb, its airport and the inhabitants of Zagreb.
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