Irish budget carrier Ryanair has acquired a further 25% share of Laudamotion, bringing its holding to 100%. At the same time, the Austrian firm announced it would increase its fleet to 25 aircraft this summer, and to 30 during 2020. The airline expects to have carried 4m passengers at the end of its first year (March 2019), with traffic rising to 6m per annum at the end of the following fiscal year.
Laudamotion was formed during the spring of 2016 after former Formula One racing driver Niki Lauda bought the small Austrian operator Amira Air. It expanded following the collapse of Air Berlin subsidiary Niki in 2018 and added 15 Airbus narrow-bodies to its fleet to operate low-cost and charter flights from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Vienna. Ryanair announced it would acquire 24.9% of Laudamotion on March 20, 2018 and that it intended to increase its stake to 75% subject to approval by EU authorities. Its holding was increased, as planned, during August last year.
Laudamotion was expected to lose €150m in its first year, but Ryanair recently announced it had produced better results than expected with full-year loss likely to be nearer €140m. During summer 2019 Laudamotion will grow its Vienna base from four to eight aircraft, while Dusseldorf will have seven, Stuttgart three, and Palma two. Next winter the Vienna base will increase to 11 aircraft.
Laudamotion CEO Andreas Gruber said: "With the backing of Ryanair, Laudamotion is set to grow strongly over the next 3 years to carry 10m passengers per annum. We will release details of up to 20 new routes for winter 2019 once we have completed our airport and handling negotiations by the end of March. Our summer ’19 program will allow us to carry 6m passengers in year two, a growth rate of 50% over the 4m carried in year one."
Gruber added: "In winter 2019 we hope to announce at least one new base, which will be outside of Austria and Germany, and there are a number of new airports both in central and western Europe who are pitching to win this business."
Text c The Aviation Oracle