TRAVEL GAZETTE – Ryanair has said it will accelerate its growth plans for the Italian market in 2017, which will see record investment by the Irish budget airline.
While welcoming the Italian government’s initiatives to reverse a planned 2.5 euro increase in airport departure taxes, the airline said it will allocate 10 new aircraft to the Italian market from 2017.
These new aircraft will serve 44 new routes, 21 at Rome and Milan airports and 23 at Italy’s regional airports, it added.
Ryanair had previously announced the closure of its Pescara and Alghero bases this winter due to the tax increase. The airline said the tax reversal which will enable Italy’s regional airports to compete on a level playing field with airports in Rome and Milan.
As a result of the expansion, Ryanair passenger numbers in Italy are expected to jump 10 percent next year to over 35 million, while a total of 2,250 jobs will be created, it said.
Last month, Ryanair’s traffic grew by 12 percent to 11.3 million customers. It became the first airline in the world to carry over 11 million international passengers in one month, with a load factor of 96 percent.