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"BWI Calling on Ryanair"
Monday, April 30, 2007
BWI Calling on Ryanair
The Irish Times
Having failed recently to land Aer Lingus with a package of incentives worth
$11 million, Baltimore Washington International (BWI) now has Ryanair on its
radar after Michael O'Leary said he was pondering the launch of
A meeting between the two sides has been pencilled in for late May to
discuss potential opportunities. "We're excited for sure," said James Walsh,
BWI's deputy executive director.
"We believe we're the right airport for this type of service and that we can
offer an attractive package to Ryanair."
BWI was one of the airports mentioned by O'Leary recently as a possible
destination for Ryanair's transatlantic services from Europe. "We have begun
working on a plan.We're going to be sitting down with Ryanair staff in late
May and we'll look at what markets are feasible and at cost structures,"
BWI handles about 21 million passengers a year, putting it on a par with
Dublin airport. This traffic is predominantly domestic, however, with just
one million passengers a year using international flights. The airport
estimated that Aer Lingus could have carried about 100,000 passengers a
Aer Lingus quit the airport in late 2004 and recently decided to operate
instead from nearby Washington Dulles as part of its Open Skies expansion in
the United States.
Its loss could be O'Leary's gain. It might also throw up the mouth-watering
prospect of Ryanair going head-to-head with Southwest Airlines, the original
low-cost airline whose model was copied by O'Leary.
Baltimore is a major hub for Southwest, which accounts for roughly half the
airport's annual traffic. The city could be the launch pad for the US
airline's own transatlantic services, which are likely to take flight in
If so, it would be a heavyweight contest of Ali-Foreman proportions.
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