Ryanair will challenge Air Baltic in Riga (RIX) by creating a new base and offering 16 new routes starting later this year. As travel restrictions remain in effect, Ryanair sees a business case for increasing Baltic flights. But is Ryanair wise to so boldly challenge Air Baltic?
Ryanair Adds New Base In Riga, 16 New Routes
Per Latvian Public Broadcasting, Ryanair will add 16 new routes form Riga starting this October:
- Aarhus, Denmark (AAR)
- Bristol, England (BRS)
- Budapest, Hungary (BUD)
- Gothenburg, Sweden (GOT)
- Krakow, Poland (KRK)
- Kiev, Ukraine (KBP)
- Lviv, Ukraine (LWO)
- Malaga, Spain (AGP)
- Memmingen, Germany (FFM)
- Warsaw, Poland (WMI)
- Palermo, Italy (PMO)
- Paris, France (BVA)
- Rome, Italy (CIA)
- Torp Sandefjord, Norway (TRF)
- Frankfurt, Germany (HHN)
- Venice, Italy (TSF)
Some of these “new” routes, like service to Frankfurt Hahn, mark resumption of service that had been previously suspended.
The move is an interesting backtrack for Ryanair in that in recent years it has focused on growth at more major airports like Frankfurt Airport (FRA) over Frankfurt Hahn or Barcelona El Prat (BCN) over Barcelona Girona (GRO).
In total, Ryanair will operate 95 flights per week from Riga over a total of 30 routes, including the 16 new routes above.
Calling the move “significant,” Ryanair commercial director Jason McGuinness noted:
“We are delighted to announce the opening of a new base in Riga, which will support economic recovery as well as international connectivity.”
To supports it increased operations, Ryanair intends to create 60 new jobs. McGuinness added:
“Efficient operations and competitive airport charges provide the foundation from which Ryanair can deliver long-term traffic growth and increased connectivity. We have worked closely with Riga Airport to ensure this growth and improve services for those who live, work or want to visit the region and look forward to commencing the recruitment for these roles very soon.”
Is Ryanair Smart To Challenge Air Baltic?
Air Baltic has suffered during the pandemic, but remains a state-run carrier which also hopes to grow again in Riga. Ryanair’s new flights represent a direct challenge to Air Baltic. Will consumers stick to Air Baltic or defect to Ryanair to save a few bucks on a ticket?
While Ryanair is betting it can win new customers, it is unlikely Air Baltic will simply accept the latest incursion. Expect new routes from Air Baltic in response and potentially a fare war.
Autumn should be a great time to travel if you live in Latvia. While neither Ryanair nor Air Baltic will win a fare war, consumers certainly will. Stay tuned for great fares to/from Riga.