How Irish is Ryanair?

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How Irish is Ryanair?

Post by Ryanairflyer on Mon 14 Feb 2011 - 11:06

The declining Irishness of all-conquering Ryanair

Just how Irish is Ryanair, an airline headquartered in Dublin and run by one of Ireland’s most prominent businessmen? Not very, according to the man himself. Chief executive Michael O’Leary used a third-quarter earnings announcement to lay into analysts and media that he deemed to have overweighted the importance of Ireland to the growth prospects of Europe’s biggest airline.

The first sizeable route operated by Ryanair was Dublin to Luton in 1986. But since then the unstoppable expansion of the ultimate low-cost carrier has tilted it away from its homeland. Only 10 per cent of its total of 72.7m passengers last year were Irish.

Ryanair suffers €10m third-quarter loss - Jan-31.Lex: Ryanair / Easyjet - Jan-31.EasyJet shares plunge after warning - Jan-20.Brussels eyes damages plan for snow-stricken airlines - Jan-19.BA warns of £50m bad weather costs - Jan-06.Gatwick chief hits at UK aviation policy - Jan-26..Ireland has become the temporary focus of Mr O’Leary’s permanent state of irritation because the country’s economic woes have depressed consumption and the expectations of investors. But it is difficult for the company to appear less Irish, short of changing its name to Flyin’ Air and its boss’s moniker to Michael O. Lowry. Multinational businesses remain lumbered with their birthplace identities long after the bulk of their revenues come from overseas. BP was thus anachronistically referred to as “British Petroleum” in the US during last year’s Macondo oil spill furore. UK-based banks such as HSBC must meanwhile cope with UK media assumptions that worldwide profits numbered in billions betoken exploitation of modest UK retail customer bases.

However, scrutiny of Ryanair’s non-Irish passenger numbers adds little to the confidence already inspired by the strength of the airline’s no-frills business model. The UK, whose output nosedived last quarter, supplied 30 per cent of Ryanair’s customers in 2010. Worse, 40 per cent were Spanish or Italian. Germany, the European Union’s strongest large economy, generated just 12 per cent of business.

Mr O’Leary was on firmer ground in railing against EU regulations that force airlines to meet the cost of accommodating and feeding passengers delayed by snowbound runways and striking air traffic controllers. Transferring the financial penalties of air transport disruption to infrastructure operators – generally national governments and airport companies – would create an incentive for better performance.

Low-cost air travel à la Ryanair is just about bearable, providing you do not have to wait three days for that questionable privilege.

Ryanairs Roots are still in Ireland or should I say Routes Laughing Nothing wrong with expansion.


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