Ryanair SWOT: the best of airlines, the worst of airlines

Premium Analysis

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, Ryanair is the best of airlines, it is the worst of airlines.

Ryanair carried more than 10 million passengers during the Christmas period alone. That total, achieved in four weeks between 11-Dec-2018 and 8-Jan-2019, would rank among Europe's top 20 airline groups for the whole year. Ryanair's figure of 139 million passengers in 2018 is almost 40 million more than Europe's next biggest airline, easyJet.

Ryanair carries this traffic at an industry leading load factor of 96% and with the highest profit margin in Europe. The key to its success is its ultra low unit cost, but it has also developed its digital business to enhance its commercial offer.

However, Ryanair is experiencing turbulence. For six years, the consumer organisation Which? has rated Ryanair the worst short haul airline to/from the UK. In Oct-2018 Ryanair issued a profit warning following unprecedented pilot strikes and labour relations challenges. Brexit adds to its uncertainties this year and, in Central Europe, it is feeling the heat from an increasingly competitive Wizz Air.

In a SWOT analysis six years ago CAPA praised Ryanair's maniacal focus on being the lowest cost producer. This report takes a fresh look at Ryanair's strengths weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

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