Ryanair set for record summer operation in Palermo

Ryanair aircraft parked at Palermo Airport, Sicily.
Benjamín Núñez González, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

Major low-cost carrier Ryanair has recently announced its ambitious plans for the summer of ’24, setting a new operating record for Palermo.

This significant expansion includes over 600 weekly flights on 41 routes, with 5 aircraft to be based at Palermo Airport and support for over 2,600 jobs in the region.

With a substantial investment of $500 million, Ryanair is reinforcing its presence in Palermo by stationing 5 aircraft at the airport.

This operational move not only bolsters the airline’s capacity but also supports direct and indirect employment, including aircrew and engineers.

Key Highlights of Palermo Operation

  • 41 total routes, including a new connection to Poznan
  • Increased frequencies on over 15 existing routes such as Barcelona, London, Paris, and Vienna
  • Over 3.3 million projected passengers for Summer ’24, marking a notable 6% growth compared to the previous year
  • More than 600 weekly flights, making it the largest operation ever undertaken by Ryanair
  • Support for over 2,600 jobs, contributing significantly to the local economy

While Ryanair’s commitment to Palermo is evident, there remains untapped potential for Sicily’s economy and tourism sector.

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The Sicilian Government holds the key to unlocking rapid growth by reducing access costs and eliminating the hindering municipal surcharge/tourism tax.

A parked Ryanair aircraft.
Photo Credit: Piotr Mitelski/Ryanair

Addressing Connectivity Challenges

Sicily currently faces challenges in terms of air connectivity and capacity. By lowering access costs, the region can stimulate greater capacity, offer more choices to travelers, and, most importantly, substantially reduce airfares.

Ryanair believes that by abolishing the excessive municipal surcharge/tourism tax, Sicily can position itself as a premier tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors and fostering long-term economic prosperity.

Trieste’s Success Story

Ryanair’s experience in Trieste serves as a testament to the transformative power of eliminating burdensome taxes.

Following the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region’s decision to abolish the municipal surcharge/tourism tax, Ryanair launched a new base and witnessed a remarkable 50% growth in connectivity for Summer ’24.

This success reaffirms the correlation between reducing access costs and stimulating tourism growth.

Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the airline and the Sicilian Government to realize the region’s full potential.

“Sicily suffers from a shortage in terms of air connectivity and capacity. Lower access costs will ensure greater capacity, more choice and – most importantly – significantly lower tariffs,” says Wilson.

“There is an opportunity for Sicily to ensure increased tourism capacity and growth over the next 5 years, provided the Sicilian Government abolishes the excessive municipal surcharge/tourism tax which is hindering the growth of connectivity and the tourism sector of the island.”

By aligning efforts to abolish the additional municipal/tourism tax, Sicily can replicate Trieste’s success story, attracting millions of additional passengers, creating new jobs, and enhancing both national and international connectivity.

Salvatore Burrafato, president of Gesap, the management company of the Falcone Borsellino international airport in Palermo, said:

“A large city like Palermo, a large territory like its metropolitan area need a large air carrier to support economic and social growth and continue to increase those tourist flows which represent a fundamental key to development.”

For this reason, Gesap has decided to renew its trust in Ryanair, the main global operator in the low-cost segment, he explained.

“We are convinced that this operation, the most extensive that has ever been applied to the Palermo airport, is an effective tool to accompany the growth of positive indicators on the attractiveness of Palermo and its metropolitan area,” concluded Burrafato.


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Ryanair has laid out a record summer for Sicily, with 600 weekly flights on 41 routes supported by 5 aircraft based at Palermo Airport.
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