Ryanair has barely put a foot wrong over more than three years since introducing its 'Always Getting Better' programme in 2014. However, a few recent stumbles have interrupted Ryanair's previously sure-footed approach.
Firstly, it was leapfrogged by easyJet on the provision of a connections product (see CAPA report). Secondly, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Ryanair could not rely on the Irish courts for jurisdiction in any possible dispute over employment contracts. Employees may be able to sue the company in more favourable jurisdictions and this could possibly lead to higher labour costs, although Ryanair insists not.
Thirdly, in an entirely self-inflicted wound, Ryanair announced the cancellation of 40-50 flights daily until the end of Oct-2016 to restore its on time performance, which had slipped due to poor crew rostering.
Ryanair's customer service and product improvements have helped it to strong traffic growth, higher load factor and wider profit margins since 2014. Its new problems may threaten these trends, but they do not spell the end of Ryanair's ultra low cost model.
Moreover, Ryanair has responded to challenges before: the programme was introduced after the issue of two profit warnings in 2013. Nevertheless, for now, Ryanair is not always getting better.
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