Ryanair, the Irish budget carrier, has announced that they will be expanding their bases, opening two in Cagliari and Alghero during March of next year. The airline said that they are planning to open the two bases in order to create 8 new domestic routes, along with 11 new international ones, which will be operated to and from Sardinia island. One of their Boeing 737-800s, having 189 seats, will be based in Alghero, operating 18 routes total to and from the northern part of the island. They will also base two other planes at their new base in Cagliari, which will operate an initial 19 routes.

This latest expansion comes after the announcement from Lufthansa last month that they are moving into the north market of Italy, planning to base 6 of their Airbus A319s at the Milan Malpensa Airport so that they can set up a network for direct services between the city and other leading cities throughout Europe.

Michael Leary, the Chief Executive Officer of Ryanair, says that the country is now the second biggest market for them next to the United Kingdom. During a time when Air One and Alitalia, two of Italy’s carriers, are merging, fares will increase and fuel surcharges will rise, he continued, which are conditions for Ryanair to grow more in Italy with low-cost fares.

In other news on the Italian market, EasyJet, which is a budget airline in the United Kingdom who has had a base at the Milan Malpensa Airport since March of 2006, is going to increase their presence in the market, offering 15 Airbus A319s instead of 11 by the end of this year.

Get more information about Ryanair at: www.ryanair.com