Yorkshire must sell itself to bring in big numbers

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Investment in marketing and connectivity are key to attracting people to Yorkshire, Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said.

The airline’s chief marketing officer said the region must always sell itself internationally and backed calls for a rail link to Leeds Bradford airport.

Speaking at the airport, Mr Jacobs said: “Never say that the marketing plan for getting Europeans to visit Yorkshire is good enough.

“The guys over in Manchester and Liverpool are working on their plan, so always work at that and tell the great story that Yorkshire has to tell.”

Ryanair has seen passenger numbers rise from 81 million to an expected 90 million this year.

A total of 820,000 people will travel with Ryanair through Leeds Bradford in the 12 months to March - five per cent lower than last year, despite planes being busier.

Its upcoming summer schedule includes an additional route to Riga, taking the total number of destinations served to 21.

Mr Jacobs said the airline’s growth in the region had been hampered by “capacity constraint” which will be eased by the addition of 40 aircraft by this time next year. However, any future expansion must always be backed by demand, he said.

Around 25 per cent of Ryanair customers are business travellers, although Leeds Bradford mainly serves traditional sunshine-getaways, Mr Jacobs said.

Mr Jacobs supported calls for better transport links to Leeds Bradford, as the definition of journeys changes. Fast public transport links are “really important” to people when choosing airports, he said.

However, a fast rail link to Manchester may not help Leeds Bradford, as it could draw more customers to rival outpost Manchester Airport.

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