Demise of SkyEurope provides Ryanair with opportunity to expand

RYANAIR, which is expected to launch its 33rd European base today, believes the collapse of Austrian airline SkyEurope will open up opportunities for it to expand.

The airline is likely to consider operating routes in areas left vacant by SkyEurope, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday. This news comes as Ryanair prepares to announce new routes from Porto in Portugal today.

SkyEurope began operations in 2002, expanding to carry about 3.7 million people a year to 29 destinations from Prague, Vienna and the Slovak cities of Bratislava, Kosice and Poprad.

Following its collapse this week, Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is already adding flights from Prague and is looking at expanding in Slovakia and commencing services from Vienna.

Ryanair said it’s keen to hear about the cost of operating to the airports that SkyEurope served.

“The fact that SkyEurope has gone under opens up opportunities for really good low-cost deals at the airports they operated to,” said Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara.

“There will be gaps there at those airports and we are more than happy to takeadvantage.”

Bloxham analyst Joe Gill said Ryanair will have the capacity to move into the marketplace left vacant by SkyEurope, if they can get the right deal.

SkyEurope, which was listed in Vienna and operated a fleet of Boeing 737s, was granted creditor protection at a Slovakian court hearing in June and said in July it was in talks withinvestors to secure fresh funding.

“The sharks are circling,” said Stephen Furlong, an analyst at Davy Stockbrokers in Dublin. “There will be a pick-up in volumes and passengers for the stronger airlines, notably Ryanair, who fly to and from Bratislava.”

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