Irish carrier Ryanair has taken full control of Austrian subsidiary Laudamotion and outlined plans to increase the unit's fleet to 30 Airbus aircraft for summer 2020.

Ryanair in March 2018 agreed a plan to take a 75% stake in the Austrian carrier, shortly after the Niki Lauda-controlled company had successfully bid for the assets of collapsed Air Berlin unit Niki.

The Irish carrier has today revealed that it completed the purchase of 100% of Laudamotion from NL Holdings in late December.

Laudamotion will carry around 4 million passengers across its first year of operations – the 12 months ending 31 March 2019 – and Ryanair has today outlined plans to almost double this over the next two years.

The carrier operated a fleet of 19 aircraft during the summer of 2018 and will increase this to 25 for the coming summer. The airline has also signed letters of intent with lessors to increase its fleet to 30 aircraft for the summer of 2020. In contrast to all-Boeing operator Ryanair, Laudamotion operates a fleet of Airbus narrowbodies and says all 30 aircraft with be Airbus models.

Laudamotion projects carrying 6 million passengers in the coming year, reaching 7.5 million for the year ending March 2021.

"With the backing of Ryanair, Laudamotion is set to grow strongly over the next three years to carry 10 million passengers per annum," adds Laudamotion chief executive Andreas Gruber. "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."

Laudamotion operates from four bases and will double the number of aircraft based at Vienna to eight this summer, making the Austrian airport its largest base. The airline will deploy seven and three aircraft respectively this summer at the German airports of Dusseldorf and Stuttgart, and two at Spanish resort Palma.

Laudamotion deputy chief executive Colin Casey says: "We are currently negotiating new routes and handling agreements with more than 50 new airports."

He notes the airline is also looking beyond Austria and Germany at a further base. "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."

Ryanair earlier this month said Laudamotion had generated a better-than-expected unit cost performance over the winter and has trimmed the division's full-year loss guidance by 7% to €140 million ($160 million).

Source: Cirium Dashboard