Picture from Ryanair.

LONDON — Ryanair has announced an addition to their route portfolio, with ten brand new routes from France across mainland Europe and the UK.

This is the most significant French expansion the carrier has taken out in a considerable length of time due to their relationships with French authorities regarding ATC strikes and competition within Paris Charles De Gaulle and Orly.

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These routes are to be launched in the carrier’s Winter 2018 schedule and are as follows:

  • Paris Beauvais
    • Bratislava (2 weekly flights)
    • Malta (2 weekly flights)
    • Prague (3 weekly flights)
    • Thessaloniki (2 weekly flights)
  • Marseille
    • Bucharest (2 weekly)
    • Budapest (2 weekly)
    • Faro (2 weekly)
  • Nantes
    • London Stansted (2 weekly)
    • Seville (2 weekly)
  • Bordeaux
    • Valencia (2 weekly)

Ryanair’s David O’Brien said, “We are pleased to announce ten new routes for winter 2018 in Paris Beauvais, Marseille, Nantes and Bordeaux, which will go on sale on the Ryanair.com website next month.”

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According to O’Brien, Ryanair is “meeting with some airport partners, and this winter 2018 announcement marks the beginning of a larger Ryanair growth initiative in France, which may include aircraft bases.”

At the same time, O’Brien urges “the Government to sell Charles De Gaulle and Paris Orly airports to separate bidders, which will introduce much-needed competition into Paris for the benefit of French citizens, visitors, and workers.”

The European ULCC also confirmed that it has met with a “number of French airports in Paris to discuss possible Ryanair bases at some regional airports,” which could hint at competitive growth against easyJet as the British carrier has a lot of operations already within the French market.

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Ryanair seems to be on a path of creating new jobs at French stations, especially after the crew scheduling spat that crippled the airline’s operations last year that continues to haunt the carrier with more strike threats.

If the sale of Aeroports de Paris were to happen, then Ryanair could potentially gain some well-needed slots to boost such growth on a European level, and if successful enough, open a base in the two Parisian airports.

As they already have services going to Amsterdam from Dublin, it appears as if Ryanair is seeking more of an international air-base, from those that have come from across the Atlantic, Far-East, and Asia.

Why France Now?

After such hostility against the French authorities and their ATC personnel, why has Ryanair decided to expand and act nicely to the French?

With these new routes, the carrier will directly compete in Bordeaux against easyJet, an airline that has bases in many French destinations such as Paris-CDG, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice, and Lyon, to name a few.

Picture from easyJet.

It will be interesting to see whether these routes will be successful enough to deem the opening of bases.

Could it be that because Ryanair has covered so many countries, they need to expand in relatively unexplored markets?

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How the French government will respond after so much criticism aimed at them will be something to follow.

In terms of the French government selling Aeroport de Paris, they will be looking to lobby there and go into competition with easyJet at either CDG or Orly.

Or could it be for something else? Earlier last week, Reuters announced that Lufthansa Group had taken over Ryanair in the passenger numbers category by around one million.

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These new route additions could always be a strategic move to take on Lufthansa Group as their entity. The only problem would be the number of airlines that there are in the Lufthansa conglomerate.

It could be a very expansive opportunity for Ryanair to boost service in France. If the Government does sell the Aeroport de Paris, then Ryanair could be in for economic growth as those slots will provide a lot of extra revenue that the Irish carrier will be seeking to take off of other competitors, especially off of Air France who has the majority of services over there.