Ryanair will end operations at Southend Airport

Aug 9, 2021

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Starting 1 November 2021, Ryanair will no longer operate out of London Southend Airport (SEN) due to a decline in passenger numbers caused by the pandemic. After multiple years of rapid growth, it’s another major blow to “London’s Sixth Airport” following EasyJet’s departure back in 2020 and the collapse of other airlines operating out of Southend.

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The Irish airline had three aircraft based at Southend from 2019, but already decreased that number to two in 2020 due to COVID-19. Ryanair’s exit doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as airlines hit hard by the pandemic have been consolidating operations in fewer airports around London.

Related: EasyJet plans to close 3 UK bases

Ryanair’s departure leaves Southend relatively empty, with regular passenger service currently only scheduled for Wizzair, which will relaunch their Bucharest route on 1 November.

Ryanair and EasyJet aircraft parked at Southend airport (Photo by Nick Ansell/PA Images via Getty Images)

Southend, which previously offered access to many destinations at bargain fares, was quickly shaping up to hit a low-cost sweet spot: far away enough for attractive fares, yet accessible by train (around an hour from Liverpool Street station).

Though the airport had almost no passengers up until 2010, the airport hit 2 million yearly passengers in 2019 with Amsterdam (AMS), Alicante (ALC) and Malaga (AGP) as top destinations.

With Ryanair gone, only a handful of flights still operate out of Southend. But more routes from Southend could soon be on the horizon with the promised launch of Atmosphere Airlines. Additionally, airport management is said to be in talks with a range of low-cost airlines to see if the previously profitable routes can be flown in the future once again.

Featured image by John Keeble/Getty Images

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