Ryanair reveals nine new routes
Published 14/11/2013 | 09:11
Ryanair has put its money where its mouth is by launching nine new routes in to Dublin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.
The low-fares carrier said 300 jobs will be created and 700,000 more passengers carried by the expansion in services, which are due to take off next April.
Another 700 spin-off jobs are expected to be supported at Dublin Airport.
Ryanair insisted the new routes - and extra frequencies on eight other services - are the final part of the one million passenger growth it promised to deliver if Government scrapped the 3 euro (£2.50) travel tax.
Mr Kenny said airline boss Michael O'Leary put his money where his mouth is.
"I think this is a great decision by Ryanair," the Taoiseach said.
"He did say it. He has done it. Let's all work together and build on it."
The new routes to Almeria, Bari, Basle, Bucharest, Chania, Comiso, Lisbon, Marrakesh and Prague were announced jointly by Ryanair and Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
Mr O'Leary said a critical component of the growth will also be 100 extra weekly flights on popular services from Britain, reversing the trend of dwindling tourism numbers from the UK.
Pilots, cabin crew and engineers will be hired next year.
Meanwhile recruitment is already under way for customer service specialists and software developers for its new head office as it rolls out an extensive programme of customer service and website improvements, which will include family-friendly incentives, business flexi fares and allocated seating.
Mr O'Leary claimed he was making changes because having young children has opened his eyes to the hassle of travelling with a family.
"I have become incredibly sensitive to families travelling abroad now that I'm one of the families travelling abroad and the stress of bringing four kids under eight," he said.
"So I'm newly attuned to a market I had absolutely no concept of before, which was mothers travelling with their children, dragging the fathers along behind."
Ryanair - which recently issued its second profits warning in as many months - said the new routes were a direct result of the travel tax cut as well as incentives from DAA.
Kevin Toland, DAA chief executive, said next year's expansion will follow the third consecutive year of traffic growth at Dublin Airport.
"The 5% increase in passengers to date places Dublin as the third fastest-growing airport in Europe in 2013," said Mr Toland.
"We are very aware of the importance of Dublin Airport as an engine of growth for tourism and for the Irish economy generally, and we are particularly pleased that recent growth has been manifest across all categories of traffic, and delivered by a broad range of carriers.
"This reflects renewed activity in the Irish economy and those of our key trading partners."
Niall Gibbons, of Tourism Ireland, said it will work closely with Ryanair to maximise the promotion of the new and expanded services from Britain, Switzerland, Spain and France.
"As an island, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated," he said.
"They are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.