Despite currently dealing with shockingly low passenger numbers, Ryanair remains optimistic about the future. The airline’s CEO even told Simple Flying that it is carefully watching Lufthansa’s recovery to see if there is room for expansion in Germany.
COVID-19 has massively shaken up the aviation industry, as everybody is aware of by this point. Many are expecting airlines to relaunch with more streamlined route networks. After all, taking Lufthansa, for example, the airline has cut a significant portion of its fleet due to the situation. With fewer planes, it goes without saying that the airline couldn’t operate the previous timetable.
Ryanair ready to pounce
It seems as though Ryanair is ready to pounce on any capacity dropped by Lufthansa due to the COVID-19 crisis. When asked by Simple Flying, the group’s CEO Michael O’Leary told us,
“We would expect, particularly as there’s been a dramatic decline in air travel, or in capacity and traffic at a lot of German airports, that there will be more opportunity to grow with those airports into the future. But much depends on how Lufthansa reallocates capacity as it recovers from COVID.”
O’Leary went on to add,
“I think we would watch Lufthansa’s recovery carefully, and where they leave gaps in that record in that capacity recovery, there’ll be an opportunity for us to deliver further growth, whether that’s at Frankfurt or at other German airports. At this point in time it’s too early to say.”
An ongoing feud
Ryanair and Lufthansa remain in a bit of an ongoing war of words that predates the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the past years, Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr has called out Ryanair’s low fares as “irresponsible”. This is a claim that the airline has even used in its advertising before. However, recently Sphor admitted that he would sell flights for €9.99 if needed to enable Lufthansa to keep its slots at key airports.
More recently, O’Leary has been calling out European airlines on receiving state aid, even launching legal action against such subsidies. O’Leary has previously likened Lufthansa to a drunk uncle at a wedding. This was something reemphasized by the Irish LCC boss today, who told Simple Flying,
“[Lufthansa] has been the greatest accumulator of state subsidies through the COVID pandemic. It has been wading around Europe like a drunken uncle at a wedding hoovering up state subsidies, not just from the German government but the Austrian government the Swiss government the Brussels government. There’s no government that Lufthansa hasn’t tapped for state subsidies, and no government it appears in Europe that hasn’t given them egregious amounts of state subsidies.”
Would you like to see Ryanair further increase its presence in Germany? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.