Ryanair has been reducing operations from German airports for a few years. The Irish budget airline will now also close its base in Hamburg on 8 January 2020.
However, the airline will still operate to 14 destinations from Hamburg next summer with flights operated from other bases. Of the cancelled connections, only two nonstop routes were completely removed from the flight plan: Verona and Krakow.
Ryanair explains that the late delivery of 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft means that several Ryanair bases will be downsized or completely closed this winter. They work hard to maintain as many routes as possible and minimise the impact on customers.
In Germany, however, the Irish low-cost has been on the decline for quite some time. Airliners.de calculated that the market share of Ryanair (together with its subsidiary Lauda) fell last year from 9.8 to 8.4 percent. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said that he currently sees little growth potential for the German market.
The decline in capacity at regional airports such as Frankfurt Hahn, Weeze and Bremen are significant. For example, in the summer of 2019, the low-cost airline offered only about 410,000 seats from the Hahn vs 800,000 in 2018. In addition, the airline has completely withdrawn from German domestic traffic.
Not later than a few years ago, Ryanair wanted to become the second-largest airline in Germany. At that time, its plans for Germany were very ambitious, no less than the replacement of Air Berlin as the second-largest airline. There is no longer talk of that today.
As a reason for the decline in Germany Ryanair names above all the overcapacity in the market. O’Leary predicted that prices in Germany will remain very low in the next one to two years.