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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 has its largest base at London Stansted Airport, and second-largest base at Dublin Airport. Ryanair currently operates a network covering over 40 bases and 1,100 routes (with over 1,300 daily departures) across 26 countries, connecting some 155 destinations. Ryanair operates a fleet of over 250 B737-800 aircraft, with a large order backlog. Ryanair employs more than 8,000 people and expects traffic to grow to 73.5 million passengers in fiscal year 2011.
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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easyJet's FY2014 pre-tax profit increased by more than 50% to its highest ever level and its operating margin returned to double digits after more than a decade at less than 10%. Its pursuit of a more passenger-focused and business-serving LCC model has driven it to improve and innovate in terms of product, with features such as allocated seating and a user-friendly website now being copied by the likes of Ryanair.
This customer focus, together with what the company has called “a benign capacity environment”, as competitors were forced to reduce seat numbers, has led to impressive unit revenue growth, while management has not lost sight of cost control. Its confidence in the future was signalled by a dividend totalling GBP308 million.
Looking into FY2014, however, the outlook for unit revenues is less certain as capacity growth steps up a little, and profits are unlikely to grow as rapidly as they did in FY2013. Nevertheless, easyJet's business model remains robust and should deliver sustained healthy returns.
A corporate leader of any organisation requires an unusual, sometimes extraordinary range of skills. Inevitably not every CEO has these; nor does having the skills necessarily always triumph over external forces. Timing is not everything but it is important. With time, those external forces change the skill sets needed, for example when an industry is undergoing major upheaval.
Arguably, given the complexity of the airline business, a leader in this industry has greater demands placed on him (rarely her; there are very few women CEOs). And today the world must seem a particularly hostile place for legacy airline managements and their workforces, under siege from all directions. Meanwhile the Gulf carriers and many new short-haul low-cost models are changing the demands made on competitors, as protectionism slips away and hiding places become scarce.
This CAPA report examines some of the features involved in making a great airline CEO – or not.
Following dramatic declines in airport passenger numbers in 2012 and 2013, Spanish airports operator AENA has decided to introduce an airport charge discounting scheme to offer incentives to airlines to grow their traffic in Spain once more. With plans being formulated to privatise Spanish airports, the success of this initiative will be closely watched by both industry participants and potential investors.
In this report, we examine traffic trends at AENA and consider whether they have been affected by higher airport charges. Our analysis suggests that there is a clear link and so action to reverse falling traffic numbers through lower charges seems a logical step.
The questions then are whether the discounts offered will have the desired effect and how sustainable will be any resultant growth in passenger numbers.
Ryanair is the biggest carrier in Spain by passenger numbers and its CEO Michael O’Leary has called AENA’s discount scheme “almost unachievable”.
Aer Lingus saw operating profit growth in 3Q2013, after a fall in the 1H result. Nevertheless, ongoing yield weakness on short-haul led it to reiterate guidance for lower profits in FY2013 versus FY2012.
The airline's rapid Atlantic capacity expansion has met with some success, but has also provoked a dispute with cabin crew union IMPACT. Assuming this can be resolved and that wet-lease partner ASL proves to be a successful operator, its long-haul niche looks like being a source of growth.
The bigger challenge is on short-haul, where ultra-LCC rival Ryanair is pushing out lower fares in large quantities. It seems that the battle between the two is intensifying just as Ryanair is being directed to sell its 30% stake in Aer Lingus.
Ryanair saw its 1HFY2014 net profit increase, reversing the decline posted in 1Q. Indeed, its 2Q profit was its highest ever quarterly result. The quarter saw an increase in average fares, strong growth in ancillary revenues and a fall in sector length-adjusted costs per passenger. However, Ryanair also gave its second profit warning in two months, a reflection of what it sees as a weak fares outlook across Europe.
For an airline that saw compound average growth in passenger numbers of 18% per annum in the 10 years to FY2013, does planned growth of 2% in FY2014 and 3% in FY2015 mean that opportunities are drying up?
Announcing a return to allocated seating and a host of customer service initiatives and product enhancements, is Ryanair moving away from the purist LCC model?
On 9-Oct-2013, the European Commission (EC) approved the acquisition of loss-making Olympic Air by loss-making Aegean Airlines. Although a previously proposed merger of the two was blocked by the Commission in early 2011, its analysis now indicates that Olympic would go broke in the near future if it were not acquired by Aegean.
This would leave Aegean as Greece’s only significant domestic carrier. The EC argues that the competition provided by Olympic on domestic routes would disappear regardless of the acquisition. It concluded that any competitive harm caused by the removal of Olympic as an independent competitor is not caused by the merger, which “is compatible with the internal market and must be authorised.”
This raises some interesting questions. For example, why did the EC not give fuller consideration to the possibility that new entrants might fill the gap left by Olympic? And why is Aegean paying EUR72 million for a loss-maker that the EC says is “highly unlikely to become profitable in the foreseeable future under any business plan”?
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