Ryanair announces plans to move into Lufthansa's home hub of Frankfurt, stepping up its push into bigger airports and ratcheting up pressure on the German carrier. Ivor Bennett reports.
Most consumers would agree Ryanair offers something different. But in this case, it was for the pilot to experience. Taking a moment to get used to the new surroundings. It's the first time Ryanair's landed at Frankfurt Something CEO Michael O'Leary once said would never happen, in part because it's Lufthansa's home turf. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID O'BRIEN, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, RYANAIR, SAYING: "More wrong than Michael actually was Mr Mayrhuber, who was the previous chief executive of Lufthansa, who said Germans don't want low fare, which ws a pretty strange thing to say because quite clearly they do. The 4 new routes mark a change of direction for the budget carrier. Normally put off by hubs like Frankfurt because of high fees and long turnaround times. But with its main customer struggling, the airport's keen to boost passenger numbers. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKETS ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "Lufthansa prices, compared to their competitors, are quite high. This will boost competition and for Lufthansa, for sure, these are not days of joy." That much was clear on the trading floor. A slew of bad news putting Lufthansa among the Dax's biggest fallers. The Ryanair announcement coming on top of a cut in 4th quarter growth forecasts... AND, reports that easyJet is poised to rebase operations in France to get ahead of Brexit. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FERN WEALTH, DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "It does highlight that the competition, on mainland Europe, is going to escalate with easyJet, arguably the biggest European airline, refocusing their attentions and therefore being more competitive towards Lufthansa." Based on last year's passenger numbers, that moniker of biggest does in fact belong to Lufthansa. How long they can hold onto it though is under question.