Record summer ahead at Birmingham for Ryanair
Budget airline Ryanair is now the biggest by market share operating out of Birmingham Airport.
The budget airline will carry a record number of passengers from Birmingham this summer.
Dara Brady, Ryanair's director of marketing, communications and digital, said the summer programme from the airport would be 20 per cent bigger than last year and more than two million passengers would be carried.
Ryanair now has six of its jets based at Birmingham and will be adding one of its new Boeing 777 Game Changer aircraft from March 26. The investment in aircraft at the airport amounts to more than £530 million.
The airline, which has its headquarters at Dublin, is planning to bring 210 Game Changers into its fleet and already has more than 80 operating.
They are more environmentally efficient and offer four per cent more seats.
Ryanair sees the West Midlands as an important market and already employs almost 200 directly at Birmingham including pilots, cabin crew and support staff.
Dara, who is a Walsall FC fan as his father was from the town, said: "Ryanair is a big economic contributor to the region already.
"We are very excited about Birmingham Airport's potential.
"We will have 42 routes from there this summer – more than 350 weekly flights.
"Our winter season has yet to be announced, but we are working closely with the airport as a major hub.
"We are always looking at the opportunity to grow."
Flybe ran a recruitment event at the airport on Thursday for staff made redundant by Flybe which was based at Birmingham and collapsed on Saturday.
"It was very unfortunate, but we are growing at a rate bigger than anyone else and have jobs for pilots, cabin crew and support staff. Hopefully some of the Flybe staff will be joining us at Birmingham," added Dara.
He said that Ryanair had come out of the pandemic in good shape and made a strong recovery. It had seen passenger numbers at 115 per cent of pre-pandemic levels last summer.
"We kept all our staff and we were the most reliable airline in the UK last year and were well staffed," he added.
He said bookings for Easter and the summer were going well with people in the region keen for summer sun and in the cost of living crisis seeking the lowest costs for travel.
"Our key message is that if you are looking for reliability and certainty this summer then you should be booking with Ryanair. Don't leave it to the last minute for cheap seats," he stressed.
The airline is also stepping up city breaks flights to destinations like Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Milan and Stockholm from Birmingham.
"By 2026 we aim to be carrying 225 million passengers a year in total from 168m this year. The new flights will be spread across out network of airports and those that are cost effective and well run – like Birmingham – will be rewarded," Dara added.
* Ryanair enjoyed a 69 per cent rise in passengers on its flights last month.
The airline carried 11.8m - up from 7m in January last year. Its more than 68,200 flights were 91 per cent full.
In the year to January numbers carried rose 111 per cent to 165.3m.