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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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O'Leary: "Ryanair in robust good shape". Europe's highest margin airline despite revenue seasonality
Ryanair is on course to record a positive net income in both of its winter quarters for only the second time in eight years, consolidating last year's achievement. Its 3Q2016 net income more than doubled and it has yet again almost certainly closed calendar 2015 as Europe's most profitable airline by operating margin (even before many airlines report their results).
Since embarking on its programme to improve its product, network and customer service two years ago, Ryanair has achieved impressive results. Load factor has leapt forward, driving up unit revenue, while unit cost has remained under control. Interestingly, however, unit revenue growth has been highest in the already strong summer quarters. Although Ryanair is now achieving year round profitability, the seasonal variation in its revenues is even more pronounced than before.
FY2016 could be Ryanair's most profitable year in eleven years, and it also looks set to become Europe's largest airline group by passenger numbers in the next twelve months. As Michael O'Leary said of the airline that he has led for 22 years, "the business is in robust good shape".
Wizz Air's trading update for 3Q2016 paints a picture of an airline enjoying robust health. The number one airline between Central/Eastern Europe and Western Europe is growing rapidly, increasing its profit margins, raising its FY2016 profit target, and generating cash.
Moreover, Wizz Air may now be Europe's lowest cost airline, defined by its CASK over 12 months, although a lack of comparable data from current CASK king Ryanair means it's not currently possible to confirm this. Falling fuel prices (and its lower levels of fuel hedging) have helped Wizz Air's cost position, but it has shown consistent ex fuel cost control for many years.
Wizz Air's first two Airbus A321ceo aircraft joined its previously all-A320 fleet during the quarter, which also witnessed shareholder approval of its A321neo order. It will add 97 aircraft over the nine years from the end of FY2015 and the combination of larger aircraft with newer technology should help to take unit costs even lower. This will be crucial in its ongoing competition with Ryanair, the biggest airline in Europe and second biggest in Wizz Air's markets.
Europe has yet another airline trade body. It has been formed by Europe's three biggest legacy airline groups (Air France-KLM, IAG, Lufthansa Group) and its two largest LCCs (easyJet and Ryanair) to lobby European governments and regulators on airport charges, air traffic control issues and passenger taxes.
The six existing "airspace user associations" have already demonstrated unity on these matters through joint responses to the EU Aviation Strategy in Dec-2015 and Jan-2016. This leaves questions over the founding members' view of the new body's role relative to the old associations. Designed to increase the perception of industry unity, it avoids matters on which its founding members disagree, notably competition from Gulf airlines. Moreover, it has drawn a hostile response from the European airports' trade body, further highlighting divisions in aviation.
It is difficult to avoid the feeling that the new association changes little. Even its name lacks originality: Airlines for Europe, inevitably abbreviated for the digital age to A4E, is just an adaptation of Airlines for America. A4E will hope that A4A's loss of a key member (Delta) in 2015 is not a glimpse of its own future.
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 report considers 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.
In 2013, Stansted and its biggest customer Ryanair signed a 10 year agreement over lower airport charges and increased traffic targets that led to a resumption of growth at the airport. This followed a multi-year traffic slump caused by strong airport charge increases. The effect of the new agreement has been dramatic. After losing more than 6 million annual passengers from 2007 to 2012 (a fall of 26%), the airport had recovered 5 million annual passengers by the end of Nov-2015 (an increase of 29%), bringing the total close to 23 million.
As Ryanair's biggest base, London Stansted airport claims the title of Europe's largest airport for low cost airline seats in the current northern winter schedule (based on data from OAG for the week of 4-Jan-2016), although it slips to third behind the more seasonal Barcelona and Gatwick in the northern summer schedule.
Nevertheless, the dominance of Ryanair makes for an unequal relationship and the airport is keen to attract a legacy airline. As the UK continues to delay a decision over new airport capacity, no wonder Stansted's owner Manchester Airport Group is keen for its planning cap of 35 million passengers to be lifted in order to facilitate more airline competition at the airport.
Marseille is a port city on the French Mediterranean coast and one of the country’s largest conurbations.
Marseille Provence Airport handles both full service and low cost airlines (for which a dedicated terminal was constructed in 2006) and travel to and from North Africa makes up a large part of its passenger portfolio. It is in competition with a range of airports to the east, west and north, mainly medium sized ones such as itself, across distances varying from 170km to 400km.
This report looks at growth trends at Marseille Provence Airport, operational statistics, how it matches up to peer airport competition across a range of metrics, and at construction activities and ownership issues. Privatisation of the airport is likely, possibly within 2016; whether it occurs probably depends on prior privatisations at Toulouse, Nice and Lyon Airports.