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Ryanair is Europe's largest airline, the largest low-cost carrier, and one of the world's largest airlines as measured by international passengers carried. Ryanair's largest hub is at London Stansted Airport, with its second largest base at Dublin Airport. The carrier operates a comprehensive network of services across Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa with a fleet of over 300 B737-800 aircraft.
Location of Ryanair main hub (London Stansted Airport)
Ryanair share price
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider Ryanair fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
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After suffering a protracted recession in 2009 to 2013, Spain's air travel market at last looks set to exceed its pre-crisis passenger numbers in 2016, albeit with something of an airline capacity glut. During the recession traffic was actually remarkably robust, thanks to buoyant inbound tourism and the growth of LCCs.
Europe's third largest aviation market by seats is dominated by short haul, with long haul strongly skewed towards trans-Atlantic routes (North and South) – principally operated by a resurgent Iberia and Air Europa. For long haul connections elsewhere Spain relies on other European hubs, although Iberia has re-entered Asia Pacific with Madrid-Shanghai, and plans a Tokyo service. The superconnectors have yet to make a big impression in Spain, but this may change.
Ryanair has been the largest airline by seats in Spain since 2013, the result of its own growth and also of second ranked Iberia's restructuring. IAG's other Spanish airline – the fast-growing Vueling – has been the country's number three ranked airline since 2010, pushing Air Europa into fourth. Madrid has remained Spain's largest airport, but Barcelona's growth has outpaced Madrid's. Spain's airport operator AENA is benefiting from double-digit growth this year, but airlines are suffering yield declines.
Following easyJet's fall back into loss in 1H2016 (six months to Mar-2016), it still expected that the summer months would more than offset this, allowing another year of profit growth. A profit warning after the UK's Brexit vote dashed this hope in late Jun-2016. EasyJet's 3Q2016 (April to June) trading statement casts a bigger shadow over its outlook, as weak unit revenue is not being offset by unit cost reduction. According to CAPA calculations, easyJet's 3Q2016 pre-tax profit fell by 59% year on year.
European LCCs Norwegian and Wizz Air have reported improved profits for the same quarter and are on track to achieve stronger full year results, but easyJet is not alone among European airlines in lowering earnings expectations in recent weeks. IAG and Lufthansa have also issued profit warnings. Growing macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties are weighing on unit revenue. For some, there is no longer a sufficient release coming from lower fuel prices, which also contribute to unit revenue weakness by encouraging additional capacity.
The majority of European airlines have yet to report April-June results, most notably Ryanair, Air France-KLM and IAG. Nevertheless, the reporting season seems likely to herald a more cautious phase of the airline cycle.
Krakow John Paul II Balice International Airport (hereafter KIA) serves a heavily populated area of southern Poland and is the country’s second busiest, but is hardly a monopoly as it is challenged by both primary and secondary level airports catering to full service/network and budget airlines.
KIA’s passenger traffic growth was strong in 1Q2016 but several other Polish airports matched or even bettered it. With continuing air transport growth projected throughout Poland, staying ahead of the competition is the new objective.
KIA has a comprehensive investment programme to 2023, including the construction of a new runway.
This report examines KIA by way of several sets of metrics, looks at the airports that are rivals to it, at its construction activities and ownership.
New cross-border operating alternatives in the international arena are emerging, as times change and the global balance of power shifts towards Asian markets. One option to preserve trans-border networks for airlines is to replicate the prolific Asian LCC JV networks that allow multiple licences in individual jurisdictions while maintaining a common brand. This is no easy solution, is not guaranteed and introduces challenges.
But, as the major EU LCCs review their options in the new environment, there is little doubt that the biggest losers if the UK were excluded from the single aviation market would not be the UK or the EU; those who suffer most will be Europe's consumers and regional economies.
The prospects for a continuation of the single market are good, yet the world is changing fast as Asia's airlines and investors and their governments increasingly gain a voice in shaping the future. For every step backwards that Europe - previously a leader in liberalisation - takes, so the Asian aviation influence accelerates. Mostly this is progressing in a more liberal direction, where Europe's likely course now is regressive.
The 23-Jun-2016 UK vote in favour of British exit from the EU came as an enormous shock to observers, despite strong warnings from pollsters. The first implication is for an unwelcome period of uncertainty. But, as with any major shock of this sort, the immediate warnings of disaster and market collapse normally dissipate as thinking adjusts. Having passed the political silliness of leaving such a major and complex decision effectively to chance, the bureaucrats will now begin to pick up the pieces and work around the complexities.
There are numerous potential implications for the aviation sector - the most serious being that the withdrawal of the UK from EU decision making will allow the protectionist forces in Germany and France to become more influential in formulating EU policy directions. Otherwise, many of the potentials can probably be worked around, over time. Meanwhile, uncertainty remains the order of the day, while the lengthy unravelling occurs.
For consumers, the single aviation market and the US-EU Multilateral open skies agreement are the most immediate issues. For European services, the likely outcome is for the UK to negotiate single market access, as Norway and others have, through the ECAA, despite not being EU members. This would broadly maintain the status quo from a consumer perspective and the UK's airlines would retain full market access. Ironically though, they would have to comply with associated EU regulations, despite having no say in their formulation - the opposite of Brexit's supposed objective in giving the UK greater independence. And the North Atlantic agreement has become so important, for liberals and protectionists alike, that a UK disappearance is most unlikely.
(This unamended CAPA report was first published on 22-Jan-2016.) Opinion polls are notoriously volatile and unreliable predictors. Nevertheless, a recent opinion poll* in the UK has indicated that voters favouring a British exit from the European Union now number more than those favouring the status quo. Whether or not the poll is totally accurate, it indicates that a so-called "Brexit" is a serious possibility.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative government has promised UK citizens a referendum on this before the end of 2017. Meanwhile, he is attempting to renegotiate the UK's membership, so that he can then back a campaign to stay in the EU. He is now hopeful of securing a deal with the UK's European partners at EU summits in Feb-2016 or Mar-2016. This could pave the way for a referendum as soon as Jun-2016.
This Jan-2016 report considered the possible implications of a Brexit on the aviation industry in the UK and Europe, with a particular focus on airline traffic rights. Much will depend on how, and to what extent, a post-EU Britain chooses to replicate its existing access to the EU single market in aviation (and in other sectors). Suffice it to say - the situation is uncertain.