Ryanair and Wizz lead revival in European air travel

News of bookings boost comes as Irish carrier resumes Shannon Airport flights

Ryanair is leading a revival in European flight bookings, along with its rival Wizz.  Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ryanair is leading a revival in European flight bookings, along with its rival Wizz. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Ryanair and low-cost rival Wizz are leading a revival in European flights, new figures show.

The news came as the Irish carrier resumed eight services to from Shannon Airport following a spate of bad news on air travel in the Republic.

Ryanair has restarted flights to Barcelona, London, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw and Warsaw from the mid-western airport. It is due to add Manchester to its schedule from Shannon this weekend.

The airline will begin further flights ahead of July 19th, the date on which the Republic is due to implement the EU’s digital Covid certificate, meant to restore freedom of movement in the bloc.

Bookings for flights within Europe improved to 44 per cent of 2019 levels in the week ending June 6th, from 41 per cent seven days earlier, according to Bank of America’s Sky Tracker.

The number of flights also grew last week, with overall activity down 54 per cent on the same period in 2019, up from minus 56 per cent the previous week.

Bank of America says that Ryanair and Wizz showed the biggest growth in flights. The Irish giant boosted flights by 17 percentage points to be down 55 per cent on the same period in 2019.

Its Hungary-based competitor, Wizz, increased activity by 10 percentage points to minus 47 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

Ryanair confirmed recently that it added 1.3 million seats a week to its capacity at the start of the month. The group also began hiring cabin crew.

More customers are starting to visit European airlines’ website, says Bank of America. Website visits in the week ending June 6th were only 36 per cent behind the same period in 2019.

“Ryanair and British Airways were up by circa 11 to 14 percentage points, while Turkish Airlines increased by eight percentage points,” Bank of America notes.

All other carriers rose by three to five percentage points, it adds.

The bank suggests that progress on the EU’s digital Covid certificates, meant to allow member state citizens to travel freely again, is benefitting from bookings. France and Spain last week adopted the system.

Minister of State Ossian Smith estimated last week that the Government could issue one million certificates immediately to those who had registered online for vaccination through the Health Services’ Executive portal.