Low-cost Irish airline Ryanair is to open two new bases this spring in Morocco, its first outside Europe, company chief Michael O’Leary told AFP on Wednesday.
“We will open two new bases in Morocco, in Fes and Marrakesh, and we’ll be in two new airports, Essaouira and Rabat,” O’Leary said during a visit to Marseille’s airport.
“We’ve been growing strongly in Morocco in the last five years,” he said, noting that the new bases will also serve destinations in France and other parts of Europe.
Ryanair closed its base in Marseille in early 2011 after French prosecutors charged the airline with a number of illegal labor practices, including registering workers employed in France as Irish employees.
Two planes will be based in Marrakesh serving 22 routes and one in Fes serving 15 routes, the company said in a statement.
It said it was investing more than $210 million in Morocco.
O’Leary also said Air France’s launch this month of low-cost flights to destinations in Europe and around the Mediterranean posed little threat to Ryanair.
“Their low-cost offer is based on a relatively high fare for us, it starts at 49 euros ($65.07), our first prices are 15 (euros),” he said. “It is a recognition by Air France that the low-cost model, which they always said wouldn't work in France, is destined to rule in France.”