By Geoff Percival
Ryanair is confident of expanding its route network further this year, after announcing its entry into the Turkish market.
A spokesperson for the airline — which recently announced a move into the Middle-East, via flights to Jordan, from next winter — said, “We are always interested in new markets… and we expect to launch more new markets over the next 12 months.”
The Turkey move forms part of Ryanair’s summer schedule and will see one return flight per week to Dalaman, from Dublin and Bratislava. Meanwhile, Ryanair is set to offer direct employment contracts, within the next few weeks, to all pilots in Germany who are currently on contracts via an agency.
The airline has come under fire from unions, especially in Germany, for employing some pilots via third-party agencies. Last year, Ryanair recognised unions to improve relations with its pilots and ease a staffing crunch. Ryanair has so far agreed union-recognition deals in Britain and Italy and hopes for similar in Spain, by the end of this month.
Goodbody analysts said the move to offer direct contracts in Germany should ease relations between Ryanair management and the German pilots union.
Elsewhere, German carrier, Lufthansa, has cut its growth plans for the year, citing a lack of planes and crew, after reporting a 70% jump in profit for 2017. It plans to increase capacity by 9.5% this year, down from plans in January for a 12% increase.
Lufthansa — which reported 2017 adjusted earnings of €2.97bn — has seen delays to deliveries of the Airbus A320neo plane, following engine problems at maker, Pratt & Whitney. Regarding takeover links with Italian carrier, Alitalia, Lufthansa said it expects any necessary restructuring at Alitalia will progress slowly after the elections in Italy.
“The recent election has not accelerated the necessary restructuring in Alitalia,” Lufthansa chief, Carsten Spohr, said.
“We want to see restructuring. Without that, we have no interest in Alitalia,” he said.
- Additional reporting by Reuters