Article produced by Luca Flores & James Field

MIAMI – European low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR) announced it will be opening 67 routes to and from Austria as part of a post-pandemic summer schedule.

Ryanair makes its name by offering seemingly unprofitable fares but lots of ancillary fees.

Photo: Aldo Bidini

Austrian Ban on Cheap Fares

Unfortunately for FR, the Austrian government is set to introduce an ‘anti-ticket dumping’ regulation. Ticket dumping is a common practice for low-cost carriers that offer cheap fares but the airline relies on ancillary fees to make a profit.

The regulation would require airlines to sell tickets for no less than the cost to the airline, estimated around €40.

The regulation is part of a relief package to Austrian Airlines (OS) and meant to take the edge off low-cost carriers so passengers have more incentive to fly OS.

Photo: Daniel Sander
Austrian flag carrier and now Ryanair competition

Response from Ryanair CEO

In response to the regulation, Ryanair CEO Michael O’ Leary said, “Our Vienna base will serve 64 routes, with air fares starting from just €9.99 one way before some crazy Austrian Minister tries to force Austrian consumers and visitors to pay higher €40 air fares.”

“Ryanair will provide non-State Subsidized competition and choice to the high fare Austrian Airlines. Ryanair will oppose any illegal effort by the Austrian government to force consumers to pay high fares. Austrian citizens are entitled to low fares and nobody provides lower fares than Ryanair.

Ryanair Vienna Base

As part of the Vienna base operations, FR will operate a mixture of Boeing and Airbus aircraft out of the Austrian capital thanks to Laudamotion’s A320 fleet.

Within the 64 Vienna routes, there will be 25 summer destinations on the list, which include the likes of Faro, Malaga, Malta, Naples and Palma di Mallorca.

There will be 20 city-break destinations on offer as well including Dublin, Milan, Madrid, Lisbon and Warsaw.

The airline was also keen to note that Wien will be connected with two routes to and from Salzburg as well as one to and from Klagenfurt bringing the total count in Austria to 67 by the July 1 opening.

Picture from Ryanair.

Will Ryanair Succeed in Austria?

It will be interesting to see how FR performs in this market, especially with the restrictions imposed and whether it could maintain a level of competitiveness with the likes of Austrian.

Such an element of uncertainty with these restrictions could cause FR to fail in Austria.

Again, because FR typically has a lower cost-base than Austrian, the restrictions may not make a difference, especially in areas such as social distancing, of which O’Leary has been blatantly against in the past.

In that case, then, only time will tell until we begin to see the numbers flow in from FR and whether it has a successful effect on it or not.