Ryanair closure of Faro base could impact seats
Lowcost airline Ryanair’s decision to close its base at Faro airport as part of a cost-cutting operation affecting Southern Europe could have a disastrous impact on seat numbers and revenues.
Up to 1.4 million seats could be affected next year in the pull-back measure that would also affect Tenerife Sur, Las Palmas and Girona as well as Faro.
The airline blames the closures on Boeing’s failure to deliver new 737 MAX aircraft which were grounded and withdrawn from the market after glitches in its computer systems caused two fatal crashes earlier this year. The result has allegedly also cost the TUI travel agency around €150 million in lost seat revenue.
According to Mabrian Technologies, which measured the impact of the decision for each one of the destinations, Faro airport in the Algarve would be one of the worst affected airports and services “suffering a considerable fall” in seats with 360,000 affected.
In terms of issue markets, the UK would be most affected by the possible reduction in seat numbers, losing over 530,000 seats, followed by the Spanish market with 253,000 seats and the German market with 172,000 seats.
Ryanair’s experience at Faro airport has been less than a happy one in recent weeks as staff at the airline pledged to go on strike from 21 August to 25 August.
Ryanair issued a communiqué on Tuesday that it would close its base in Faro in January 2020 and make around 100 staff redundant, although it would retain flights.
The President of the National Union for Civil Aviation Flight Personnel (SNPVAC), Luciana Passo, said that a Human Resources director from the company had been in Faro to announce the closure.
Luciana Passo said that Ryanair had “already warned us that it would cut the number of pilots and crew members.”
She added that the “decision had already been taken some time ago and had nothing to do with the strike” and stated that from Wednesday the airline would announce the closure of more bases in Europe.
Ryanair will fly 5 million fewer passengers than planned next year owing to delayed deliveries of Boeing’s grounded 737 Max aircraft and warned in July that jobs would be affected and airports closed as a result.
Ryanair now expects to carry 157 million passengers in the year to March 2021, cutting its summer 2020 growth rate to 3% from 7%. The lower than expected passenger numbers suggest the airline will cut about 30,000 flights from its plans for next year.
However other factors would have been taken into consideration regarding Faro. Portugal’s tourism which had been growing for eight years in a row, helping the country recover from a severe debt crisis and economic recession, saw a falloff in visitor numbers from the UK so far in 2019, party due to Brexit and a fall in the value of the pound.