Politics

Ryanair announces $800m investment in Kraków, including ten new routes


Ryanair has announced its biggest ever investment in Kraków, worth $800 million. It will have 73 routes, including 10 new ones, operating in the summer season at its largest Polish base.

The Irish low-cost airline, which began operating in Poland in 2005, is the country’s biggest carrier by passenger numbers. It flies from 12 airports in Poland, with bases in half of them, including Kraków.

The company will be operating 260 flights a week in the summer season, over 40 more than it did in 2019, before the pandemic, Michał Kaczmarzyk, CEO of Polish-based Ryanair subsidiary Buzz, said at a press conference.

As well as major cities including London, Milan and Paris, the routes will include popular holiday resorts such as Corfu, Crete, Santorini and Zadar, reports Gazeta Wyborcza. The 10 new connections are with Agadir, Ancona, Berlin, Budapest, Lille, Newcastle, Riga, Stockholm, Turin and Olsztyn-Mazury.

The investment means 420 direct jobs for pilots, flight crew and ground staff, as well as 3,450 indirect jobs in Kraków, Ryanair said. The firm estimates the investment in Kraków to be worth $800 million, reports the Rzeczpospolita daily.

Kaczmarzyk said that Kraków is an important strategic airport for the airline as it seeks to bounce back from the pandemic. “It is our biggest base in Poland, and alongside Budapest, Ryanair’s biggest airport in this part of Europe,” he said, quoted by TVP3.

The company expects to serve 4.5 million passengers in Kraków – 20% more than in 2019 – and 15 million in Poland in the 2022 summer season.

Six of the eight planes based at Kraków Airport are new Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, dubbed the “Gamechanger”. Ryanair took ownership of these planes, with 4% more seats, 16% lower CO2 emissions, and 40% noise reduction, in summer 2021 after two years of delays.

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Radosław Włoszek, CEO of Kraków Airport, said that he was delighted that Ryanair was continuing to invest there.

“After the difficult time of the pandemic, passengers are all the more willing to travel by Ryanair on holiday to warm and sunny cities in Europe,” he said. “We also invite everyone to Kraków and Małopolska, as spring is an ideal time for discovering the city’s charms and visiting our region.”

Passenger traffic is growing week by week at Kraków Airport, he added, proving that “the fascination and joy of air travel have not ended”.

This month, Ryanair said it expected pre-exceptional losses for the financial year just ended to be between €350 and €400 million, reported the Financial Times. Passenger numbers had recovered to 97 million for the year, compared to 27.5 million for the previous year, but were still well below the 149 million pre-pandemic figure.

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Main image credit: mangopulp2008/Flickr (under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)





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