This week has seen the Manchester Airport Irish connections grow considerably despite the UK APD tax and weak economic conditions in both countries, with Easyjet launching a new route to Belfast operating double daily and Flybe launch a new route to Ireland West Knock operating four times weekly, Ryanair opens its 45th European Base today with two Boeing 737-800s operating 26 routes with the base fleet to increase to four units for Summer 2012 with further expansion planned.

Interestingly it was citied by Routesonline (27th January 2011),it was citied the Dublin Manchester market is almost 600,000 passengers according IATA BSP data. Ryanair’s base expansion will see it increase frequency on the Dublin route to 21 times per week (Four to six daily) using a mix of Dublin and Manchester based aircraft InsideIreland (26th January 2011).

The Irish airline connection with Manchester goes back 62 years to when Aer Lingus first launched a route from Dublin which has evolved over the years with Aer Lingus taking advantage of the EU Liberalization package of six freedom rights in the 1990s.

This enabled expansion beyond its core Dublin route by operating routes into mainland Europe from Manchester to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan, Paris CDG, Zurich Flighglobal archive (1991). In 1994 Aer Lingus operated a daily Airbus A330 service from Manchester to New York JFK via Shannon PR Newswire (1994).

In 1987 Ryanair launched services on the Dublin Manchester using Bac 1-11s which where leased from Tarom Airlines, however due to intense competition from Aer Lingus and British Airways the carrier accumulated £20m in losses, which lead a major re-structuring of its strategy, which saw the route being closed (Ryanair).

In 1994 the carrier began taking delivery of Boeing 737-200s as it embarked on a new low-fares strategy based on the Southwest Airlines model,  thus re-launching the Manchester route (Ryanair). However in 2010 the carrier had a dispute with the airport over charges which saw it reduce from 10 routes to a single route to Dublin (Ryanair)

The launch of Aer Lingus Regional saw Manchester re-connected to Cork (October) and Shannon (July) in 2010 following Bmibaby and Ryaanir closing their respective routes, with double daily frequencies on the Cork route making it attractive to business passengers on the route., also Cityjet have been active in the Manchester market operating Football IT charters.

On the 11th of October the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) announced that Ryanair Route Development Director Ken O’Toole is to join the group as Chief Commercial Officer Travel Weekly (11th October).

An interesting future is ahead as Manchester Airport Irish Connections countinue to grow.

Manchester Back in favour with Ryanair: Based aircraft will add 12 new routes this winter, eight more next summer

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 1st November 2011 All Rights Reserved.