The world's largest international airline Ryanair says that it plans to increase its annual passenger traffic carryings at Leeds Bradford International Airport in the UK to 1m a year from March of next year by
introducing 63 weekly return flights in an investment it claims will be worth more than $140m.
The airline said this week that it will open its 34th base at Leeds Bradford with two aircraft based at the airport and 14 new routes (17 in total).
These will include Leeds Bradford to Carcassonne, Faro, Ibiza, Knock, Krakow, Limoges, Malaga, Malta, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Palma, Pisa and Venice Treviso. The airline adds that it estimates that this initiative will create and sustain 1,000 'well paid local jobs' in Yorkshire.
Ryanair celebrated the opening of its new Leeds Bradford base by releasing 1m x ?5 ($8) seats for travel across its European network for travel in October and November, which it has now made available for booking on www.ryanair.com until midnight tomorrow (Thursday, August 13).
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary said: ‘Ryanair is delighted to announce Leeds Bradford as our 34th base and our 11th UK base airport. These 14 new routes from Leeds Bradford go on sale tomorrow. With a total of 17 low-fare routes from Leeds Bradford next summer passengers can beat the recession by choosing Ryanair's guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharges to 17 exciting destinations all over Europe, including France, Italy and Spain among others.’
Leeds Bradford International Airport (LBIA) Ceo John Parkin said: ‘This is a great vote of confidence in the potential of both the airport and our region from Europe's largest airline. Today's announcement makes us an exception in the sector and will help create much needed jobs. It shows Ryanair shares our confidence in the tremendous opportunity for strong market growth at the airport.
Significantly it follows recent planning approval for the terminal development to deliver best-in-class facilities and build upon existing routes’.
By this, Parkin refers to last July's approval from Leeds City Council's Planning Committee to proceed with the ?28m ($46m) development of its passenger terminal by the airport's private equity owners Bridgepoint, who bought the airport in May 2007 for around ?143m ($235m).
Its new expansion plans include a new two-storey building extension and internal improvements to the existing terminal; a new airside departure lounge; a wider selection of retail and catering facilities; an expanded passenger security screening zone; a redesign of the domestic baggage reclaim hall; plus a re-modelling of the airside immigration facility.
A spokesman for LBIA told TREND yesterday that the plan is to begin construction of the new facilities next year ,with completion in 2011. He also confirmed that the airport handled a total of 2.75m passengers last year, of which 2.3m were international and the airport has the ambition to become one of the fastest growing airports in Europe.
The incumbent travel retailer at Leeds Bradford Airport is World Duty Free.