Ryanair DAC (/raɪərˈnɛər/) is an Irish low-cost airline
founded in 1984, headquartered in Swords, Dublin, Ireland, with its
primary operational bases at
Dublin and London Stansted airports. In
Ryanair was the largest European airline by scheduled passengers
flown, and carried more international passengers than any other
Ryanair operates more than 400
Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with a single
737-700 used primarily as a charter aircraft, but also as a backup and
for pilot training. The airline has been characterised by its rapid
expansion, a result of the deregulation of the aviation industry in
Europe in 1997 and the success of its low-cost business model.
Ryanair's route network serves 34 countries in Europe, Africa
(Morocco), and the Middle East (Israel and Jordan).
1.1 Early years
2 Corporate affairs
2.1 Business trends
3.1 Employment relations
3.1.1 Refusal to recognise unions
3.1.2 Employment conditions
Ancillary revenue and in-flight service
3.4 Customer service
3.4.1 Improved customer service and attracting families
3.4.2 Flight cancellations September and October 2017
3.5.1 Controversial advertising
3.5.2 Misleading advertising
3.6 Criticism of surcharges
3.7 Fuel incidents
5.1 Choosing destinations
5.2 Outside Europe
6.1 Current fleet
6.2 Former fleet
6.3 Fleet development
7 Accidents and incidents
8 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Since its establishment in 1984,
Ryanair has grown from a small
airline, flying the short journey from Waterford to London, into
Europe's largest carrier.
Ryanair now has over 11,000 people working
for the company.
Most employees are employed and contracted by multiple agencies to fly
Ryanair aircraft. Or, as is the case for pilots, the vast majority
are either agency employed or self-employed, and their services are
contracted to Ryanair.
After the rapidly growing airline went public in 1997, the money
raised was used to expand the airline into a pan-European carrier.
Revenues have risen from €231 million in 1998 to
€1,843 million in 2003 and to €3,013 million in 2010.
Similarly, net profits have increased from €48 million to
€339 million over the same period.
Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante
Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante in 1988
ATR 42-300 in 1991
Ryanair was founded in 1984 as "Danren Enterprises" by Christopher
Ryan, Liam Lonergan (owner of Irish travel agent Club Travel), and
Irish businessman Tony Ryan, founder of Guinness Peat Aviation. The
airline was shortly thereafter renamed "Ryanair"(after Tony Ryan).
It began operations in 1985 flying a 15-seat Embraer Bandeirante
turboprop aircraft between Waterford and Gatwick Airport with the
aim of breaking the duopoly on London-
Ireland flights at that time
British Airways and Aer Lingus.
In 1986, the company added a second route–flying
Dublin to Luton,
thus directly competing with the Aer Lingus/
British Airways duopoly
for the first time. Under partial EU deregulation, airlines could
begin new international intra-EU services, as long as one of the two
governments gave approval (the so-called "double-disapproval" regime).
The Irish government at the time refused its approval to protect Aer
Lingus, but Britain–under Margaret Thatcher's deregulating
Conservative government–approved the service. With two routes and
two planes, the fledgling airline carried 82,000 passengers in one
In 1986, the directors of
Ryanair took an 85% stake in London European
Airways. From 1987, this provided a connection with the Luton Ryanair
service onward to Amsterdam and Brussels. In 1987, Ryan hired
Michael O'Leary as his personal financial and tax advisor. In 1988,
London European operated as
Ryanair Europe and later began to operate
Ryanair passenger numbers continued to increase, but the airline
generally ran at a loss and, by 1991, was in need of restructuring,
including the closure of
Ryanair Europe/London European. O´Leary was
charged with the task of making the airline profitable. O'Leary
quickly decided that the keys to profitability were low fares, quick
turn-around times for aircraft, "no frills", no business class, and
operating a single model of aircraft. In 1989, a Short Sandringham
was operated with
Ryanair sponsorship titles but never flew
revenue-generating services for the airline.
O'Leary returned from a visit to U. S.
Southwest Airlines convinced
Ryanair could make huge inroads into the European air market, at
that time dominated by national carriers, which were subsidised to
various degrees by their parent countries. He competed with the major
airlines by providing a "no-frills", low-cost service. Flights were
scheduled into regional airports, which offered lower landing and
handling charges than larger established international airports.
O'Leary as Chief Executive took part in a publicity stunt where he
helped out with baggage handling on
Ryanair flights at
By 1995, after the consistent pursuit of its low-cost business model,
Ryanair celebrated its 10th birthday by carrying 2.25 million
BAC 1-11 series 500 aircraft between 1988 and 1993
Boeing 737-200 in 2003
Boeing 737-800 in the meanwhile revised former livery
In 1992, the European Union's deregulation of the air industry in
Europe gave carriers from one EU country the right to operate
scheduled services between other EU states and represented a major
opportunity for Ryanair. After a successful flotation on the
Dublin Stock Exchange and the
NASDAQ Stock exchanges, the airline
launched services to Stockholm,
Sandefjord Airport, Torp
Sandefjord Airport, Torp (110 km
south of Oslo), Beauvais–Tillé and
Charleroi near Brussels. In
1998, flush with new capital, the airline placed a massive US$2
billion order for 45 new
Boeing 737-800 series aircraft.
The airline launched its website in 2000, with online booking
initially said to be a small and unimportant part of the software
supporting the site. Increasingly the online booking contributed to
the aim of cutting flight prices by selling directly to passengers and
excluding the costs imposed by travel agents. Within a year, the
website was handling three-quarters of all bookings.
Ryanair launched a new base of operation in
Charleroi Airport in 2001.
Later that year, the airline ordered 155 new 737-800 aircraft from
Boeing at what was believed to be a substantial discount, to be
delivered over eight years from 2002 to 2010. Approximately 100 of
these aircraft had been delivered by the end of 2005, although there
were slight delays in late 2005 caused by production disruptions
arising from a
Boeing machinists' strike.
In April 2003,
Ryanair acquired its ailing competitor Buzz from
During 2004, Michael O'Leary warned of a "bloodbath" during the winter
from which only two or three low-cost airlines would emerge, the
expectation being that these would be
Ryanair and EasyJet. A loss
of €3.3 million in the second quarter of 2004 was the airline's
first recorded loss for 15 years but the airline became profitable
soon after. The enlargement of the
European Union on 1 May 2004 opened
the way to more new routes for Ryanair.
The rapid addition of new routes and new bases has enabled growth in
passenger numbers and made
Ryanair among the largest carriers on
European routes. In August 2005, the airline claimed to have carried
20% more passengers within Europe than British Airways.
For the six months ending 30 September 2006 passenger traffic grew by
more than a fifth to 22.1 million passengers and revenues rose by
a third to €1.256 billion.
On 13 February 2006, Britain's
Channel 4 broadcast a documentary as
part of its Dispatches series, "
Ryanair caught napping". The
documentary criticised Ryanair's training policies, security
procedures and aircraft hygiene, and highlighted poor staff morale.
Ryanair denied the allegations and claimed that promotional
materials, in particular a photograph of a stewardess sleeping, had
been faked by Dispatches.
On 5 October 2006,
Ryanair launched a €1.48 billion (£1
billion; $1.9 billion) bid to buy fellow Irish carrier Aer Lingus.
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said the move was a "unique opportunity"
to form an Irish airline. The new airline would carry over 50 million
passengers a year. On 2 October 2006,
Aer Lingus rejected
Ryanair's takeover bid, saying it was contradictory.
In August 2006, the company started charging passengers to check in at
the airport, therefore reversing its policy of paying for online
check-in. It says that by cutting airport check-in, it reduces
Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, stated in April 2007 that Ryanair
planned to launch a new long-haul airline around 2009. The new
airline would be separate from
Ryanair and operate under a different
branding. It would offer both low cost with fares starting at €10.00
and a business class service which would be much more expensive,
intended to rival airlines like Virgin Atlantic. The new airline would
operate from Ryanair's existing bases in Europe, to approximately six
new bases in the United States. The new American bases will not be
main bases such as New York's JFK airport, but smaller airports
located outside major cities. Since the
Boeing 787 was sold out of
production until at least 2012, and the
Airbus A350 XWB will not enter
service until 2014, this has contributed a delay to the airline's
launch. It is said that the name of the new airline will be
RyanAtlantic and it will sell tickets through the
under an alliance agreement. In February 2010, O'Leary said the
launch would be delayed until 2014, at the earliest, because of the
shortage of suitable, cheap aircraft.
In October 2008,
Ryanair withdrew operations from a base in Europe for
the first time when it closed its base in Valencia, Spain. Ryanair
estimated the closure cost 750 jobs.
On 1 December 2008,
Ryanair launched a second takeover bid of Aer
Lingus, offering an all-cash offer of €748 million (£619 mil;
US$950 million). The offer was a 28% premium on the value of Aer
Lingus stock, during the preceding 30 days.
Ryanair said, "Aer Lingus,
as a small, stand alone, regional airline, has been marginalised and
bypassed, as most other EU flag carriers consolidate." The two
airlines would operate separately.
Ryanair stated they would double
Aer Lingus short-haul fleet from 33 to 66 and create 1,000 new
Aer Lingus board rejected the offer and advised
its shareholders to take no action. On 22 January 2009, Ryanair
walked away from the
Aer Lingus takeover bid after it was rejected by
the Irish government on the grounds it undervalued the airline and
would harm competition. However,
Ryanair retained a stake in Aer
Lingus; in October 2010, competition regulators in the UK opened an
enquiry, due to concerns that Ryanair's stake may lead to a reduction
Ryanair announced that it was in talks with
Boeing and Airbus
about an order that could include up to 200 aircraft. Even though
Ryanair had dealt with
Boeing aircraft up to that point, Michael
O'Leary said he would buy
Airbus aircraft if they offered a better
Airbus Chief Commercial Officer John Leahy denied in
February 2009 that any negotiations were taking place.
On 21 February 2009,
Ryanair confirmed they were planning to close all
check-in desks by the start of 2010. Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief
executive, said passengers will be able to leave their luggage at a
bag drop, but everything else will be done on line. This became
reality in October 2009.
In June 2009,
Ryanair reported their first annual loss, with a loss
posted of €169 million for the financial year ending 31 March.
In November 2009,
Ryanair announced that negotiations with
proceeded poorly and that
Ryanair was thinking of stopping the
negotiations, then put at 200 aircraft for delivery between 2013 and
2016, and simply returning cash to shareholders. Boeing's
Airbus was mentioned again as an alternative vendor for
Ryanair, but both Michael O'Leary and
Airbus CCO John Leahy dismissed
this. In December 2009,
Ryanair confirmed that negotiations with
Boeing had indeed failed. Plans were to take all 112 aircraft already
on order at that point, with the last deliveries occurring in 2012,
for a total fleet of over 300.
Ryanair confirmed that an agreement had
been met on price, but it had failed to agree on conditions, as
Ryanair had wanted to carry forward certain conditions from its
Cabin onboard a
Boeing 737-800 showing advertisements on the
Ryanair service counter at Glasgow International Airport, United
Ryanair check-in area at Bremen Airport, Germany
Ryanair maintenance hangars at London Stansted Airport, United Kingdom
As of February 2010[update],
Ryanair had an average fare of €32.
Ryanair stood by the fact that its average fare was less than half
than that of competitor EasyJet's of €66.
In April 2010, after a week of flight disruption in Europe caused by
2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull
2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland,
Ryanair decided to
end refusals to comply with EU regulations which stated they were
obliged to reimburse stranded passengers. In a company statement
released on 22 April 2010,
Ryanair described the regulations as
'unfair'. On 29 April 2010,
Ryanair cancelled of all of its routes
Liszt Ferenc Airport
Liszt Ferenc Airport after talks about decreasing taxes
with the airport's management failed. The airport is the only one
serving Budapest, so the airline is not able to operate from an
alternative lower-cost airport in the surroundings.
In June 2010,
Ryanair called for a scrapping of the Irish government's
tourist tax, implying it was destroying Irish tourism.
In August 2010,
Ryanair held a press conference in
announced its first ever Bulgarian destination connecting
London Stansted. The service was planned to start in November 2010
with two flights weekly.
In late 2010,
Ryanair began withdrawing all their routes from their
Belfast City, and Shannon due to rises in airport
In the last three months of 2010,
Ryanair made a loss of €10.3
million, compared with a loss of €10.9 million in the same period
the previous year. In this time, more than 3,000 flights were
Ryanair blamed the losses on strikes and flight
cancellations due to severe weather.
In March 2011,
Ryanair opened a new maintenance hangar at Glasgow
Prestwick International Airport, making it Ryanair's biggest fleet
In June 2011,
COMAC signed an agreement to co-operate on
the development of the C-919, a
Boeing 737 competitor.
Ryanair cut capacity by grounding 80 aircraft between November 2011
and April 2012 due to the high cost of fuel and continuing weak
On 19 June 2012,
Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary announced his
intentions to make an all-cash offer to buy Aer Lingus. However, the
bid is likely to face a stiff challenge from the European Commission,
which blocked an earlier 2007 bid. The combined companies would
control 80% of the 370,000 journeys between the UK and
month. The Irish government said it was looking to sell its 25% stake
in Aer Lingus; however, it was made clear that they would not sell
their share to
Ryanair due to competition concerns. Michael O'Leary
pledged that he would keep the two airlines separate and competitive
to one another. In 2015, IAG purchased Ryanair's shareholding in Aer
Lingus, ending Ryanair's attempts to buy its oldest competitor.
On 25 October 2013,
Ryanair unveiled what it called a series of
"customer service improvements" over the next six months. These
included lower fees for reprinting boarding passes, free changes of
minor errors on bookings within 24 hours, and a second small carry on
Ryanair said it was making these changes due to customer
On 27 January 2014,
Ryanair moved into their new €20m, 100,000 sq ft
Dublin Head Office in Airside Business Park, having outgrown their
previous office based within
Dublin Airport. The building was
officially opened on Thursday 3 April 2014 by Taoiseach Enda Kenny,
Minister for Finance
Michael Noonan and the Lord Mayor of
On 8 September 2014,
Ryanair agreed to purchase up to 200
MAX 8s (100 confirmed and 100 options) for over $22 billion.
The airline confirmed plans to open an operating base at Milan
Malpensa Airport from December 2015, initially with one aircraft.
On 9 March 2016,
Ryanair launched a corporate jet charter service,
Boeing 737-700 for corporate or group hire.
In November 2016,
Ryanair launched new package holiday service named
Ryanair Holidays. The new service will offer flights, accommodation
and transfer package deals. The service has been launched in Ireland,
United Kingdom and Germany, with other markets to follow next
Ryanair has partnered with Spain-based tour operator,
Logitravel, and accommodation provider, World2Meet, to create Ryanair
Holidays. In early February 2017,
Ryanair suspended their Ryanair
Holidays service, stating that one of their software providers
breached contract conditions. It is thought
Ryanair are currently
looking for a new software provider to resume selling package
In April 2017,
Ryanair started issuing tickets with connected flights,
meaning in case of missed connection the customer will be rebooked
without extra cost and compensated according to the EU Flight
Compensation Regulation. To begin with, such tickets were issued only
with connection at Rome-Fiumicino airport, but will be extended to
more airports. 
Plans are underway to add 50 new aircraft to Ryanair's fleet every
year for the next five years in a strategy to reach 160 million
passengers by the early 2020s, up from 120 million passengers today.
Ryanair Headquarters in
Ryanair's old logo, used from 2001 to 2013
Ryanair's previous logo used from November 2013 to July 2015, where a
new logo with a white background was introduced. This logo was first
revealed in January 2010.
As of 2014[update] the head office of
Ryanair has been in the Airside
Business Park in Swords, County Dublin, Ireland. David Daly, a
developer, built the facility prior to Ryanair's 2012 purchase.
The building has 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of space, and
the airline paid €11 million to occupy the building. John Mulligan
Irish Independent wrote that "It is thought that"
refurbish the building for another €9 million. At the end of
2013 the airline had scheduled to move to the new building. The
airline planned to occupy half of the building space and to sublease
the other half.
As of 2004, the head office had been on the property of Dublin
Airport, in proximity to the
Aer Lingus head office. Darley
Investments built the facility in 1992.
Ryanair later purchased Darley
and had a 30-year lease of the head office facility from the
Department of Transport of Ireland. For twelve years, the company paid
no rent even though it was supposed to pay €244,000 per year. After
twelve years and prior to 2008, it paid less than half of the
As of 2016, the key trends for
Ryanair since 2010 are shown below (as
at year ending 31 March):
Total operating revenue (€m)
Operating income (€m)
Profit before taxation (€m)
Profit after taxation (€m)
Number of employees (average)
Revenue passengers booked (m)
Booked passenger load factor (%)
Year end aircraft fleet
Refusal to recognise unions
In the early years, when
Ryanair had a total of 450 employees who each
had shares in the company, there was an agreement that staff would not
join a labor union on the basis that they would have influence on how
the company was run. The treatment of employees has changed
considerably since then and new employees no longer get shares in the
Ryanair announced in December 2017 that they would
recognise pilots unions, the company still refuses to recognise or
negotiate with any union for cabin crew.
In 2011, a former
Ryanair captain was awarded financial compensation
by an employment tribunal in London after being fired for handing out
a union form to a cabin crew member while on duty. In 2012 the
Ryanair Pilot Group (RPG) was formed, but to date has not been
successful in its aim to represent the pilots flying for
Ryanair as a
collective bargaining unit.
Thousands of flights cancellations on 15 September 2017 triggered
pilots to mobilize and on 15 December, in Italy,
Ireland and Portugal,
O‘Leary recognized unions for the first time, blaming their good
timing; he anticipates an uptick in labor costs in 2018, not altering
Ryanair discussed union recognition in response to
threatened strikes over the Christmas period.
Ryanair faced criticism for allegedly forcing pilots to pay tens of
thousands of euro for training, then establish limited companies in
Ireland and work for
Ryanair through an agency, as well as forcing
ground staff in Spain to open bank accounts in
Gibraltar in which to
receive their wages.
In May 2014, Ryanair's office in Marseille was raided by French police
investigating complaints that the company was failing to follow French
Ryanair protested about the raid.
In May 2015, the Mayor of Copenhagen announced a boycott of Ryanair.
This came in the wake of protests from Danish unions regarding
employment conditions. After a court trial confirmed the unions'
right to strike,
Ryanair moved its bases out of Denmark.
Ancillary revenue and in-flight service
Twenty percent of Ryanair's revenue is generated from ancillary
revenue; that is, income from sources other than ticket fares. In
2009, ancillary revenue was at €598 million, compared to a
total revenue of €2,942 million.
Ryanair has been described by the consumer magazine Holiday
being the worst offender for charging for optional extras. As part
of the low-cost business model, the airline charges fees, which can be
related to alternative services such as using airport check-in
facilities instead of the online service fee and paying by credit
card. It also charges for extra services like checked-in luggage and
it offers food and drinks for purchase as part of a buy on board
Ryanair abolished airport check-in and replaced it with a
fast bag drop for those passengers checking in bags. The option of
checking in at the airport for €10 has been discontinued, and all
passengers are required to check in online and print their own
boarding pass. Passengers arriving at the airport without a
pre-printed online check-in will have to pay €45/£45 for their
boarding pass to be re-issued, whilst customers unable to check in
luggage online are asked to pay a fee which varies depending on where
they are traveling to at the airport (as of June 2012).
criticism over the ambiguous nature of these changes.
Ryanair aircraft have been delivered with non-reclining seats, no
seat-back pockets, safety cards stuck on the back of the seats, and
life jackets stowed overhead rather than under the seat. This allows
the airline to save on aircraft costs and enables faster cleaning and
security checks during the short turnaround times. It was reported
in various media that
Ryanair wanted to order their aircraft without
window shades, but the new aircraft do have them, as it is
required by the regulations of the Irish
Other proposed measures to reduce frills further have included
eliminating two toilets to add six more seats, redesigning the
aircraft to allow standing passengers travelling in "vertical seats",
charging passengers for using the toilet, charging extra for
overweight passengers, and asking passengers to carry their
checked-in luggage to the plane.
Ryanair has been criticised for many aspects of its customer service.
The Economist wrote that Ryanair's "cavalier treatment of passengers"
Ryanair "a deserved reputation for nastiness" and that the
airline "has become a byword for appalling customer service ...
and jeering rudeness towards anyone or anything that gets in its
In 2002, the High Court in
Dublin awarded Jane O'Keefe €67,500
damages and her costs after
Ryanair reneged on a free travel prize she
was awarded for being the airline's 1 millionth passenger.
The airline has come under heavy criticism for its poor treatment of
disabled passengers. In 2002, it refused to provide wheelchairs for
disabled passengers at London Stansted Airport, greatly angering
disabled rights groups. The airline argued that this provision
was the responsibility of the airport authority, stating that
wheelchairs were provided by 80 of the 84
airports, at that time. A court ruling in 2004 judged that the
responsibility should be shared by the airline and the airport
Ryanair responded by adding a surcharge of £0.50 to all
its flight prices. In July 2012, a 69-year-old woman, Frances Duff,
who has a colostomy, was refused permission to bring her medical kit
on board, despite having a letter from her doctor explaining the need
for her to carry this with her, and was asked by
staff to lift up her shirt in front of fellow passengers, to prove
that she had a colostomy bag. Duff had previously attempted to contact
Ryanair on three occasions to inquire about their policy on travellers
colostomy bags, but each time no one had answered the phone after half
an hour. On 4 April 2011,
Ryanair began adding a surcharge of
€2 to its flights to cover the costs arising from compliance with EC
Regulation 261/2004, which requires it to pay for meals and
accommodation for passengers on delayed and cancelled flights.
Ryanair did not offer customers the possibility of contacting them by
email or webform, only through a premium rate phone line, by fax or by
post; however it does now have a webform contact option. An early day
motion in the British Parliament put forward in 2006 criticised
Ryanair for this reason and called on the company to provide customers
with a means to contact the company by email.
Ryanair offers a
basic rate telephone number for post-booking enquiries in the United
Kingdom, which chose to omit the exemption for passenger transport
services when enacting Article 21 of Directive 2011/83/EU on Consumer
Rights under Regulation 41 of the Consumer Contracts (Information,
Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013.
Improved customer service and attracting families
On 17 June 2014,
Ryanair announced a new campaign to re-invent itself
as a more family-friendly airline. Speaking at the company's 2014 AGM,
chief executive Michael O'Leary said that the airline needed to "stop
unnecessarily pissing people off".
Ryanair says up to 20% of its 81
million customers are travelling as families and it wants to raise
that figure. Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer, said:
"Families are a big deal for us. It's a group of customers that we
want to get closer to". As another step, the company launched
LiveChat on their website to improve the quality of service and
experience provided by the company. The change in the approach
almost immediately had positive effect on the finances of the
Flight cancellations September and October 2017
Ryanair was subject to widespread criticism
after it announced that it would be cancelling between 40 and 50
flights per day (about 2% of total daily flights) during September and
October 2017. Flights were cancelled with very little notice,
sometimes only hours before departure. People who had already taken
outbound flights were left with no flight home.
Ryanair said that the
cancellations aimed "to improve its system-wide punctuality"
which had dropped significantly in the first two weeks of September,
which the airline attributed to "ATC capacity delays and strikes,
weather disruptions and the impact of increased holiday allocations to
pilots and cabin crew". In subsequent statements, Ryanair
acknowledged that it had "messed up" holiday schedules for pilots,
including a change to the calendar year for how vacations were
In late December, a survey rated this airline the worst in the world
for customer service among short-haul carriers in the
(In truth, bottom place was shared with Vueling.)
Ryanair responded as
follows. "This survey of 9,000
Which? members is unrepresentative and
worthless, during a year when
Ryanair is the world’s largest
international airline (129m customers) and is also the world’s
fastest growing airline (up 9m customers in 2017). We have apologised
for the deeply regretted flight cancellations and winter schedule
changes, and the disruption they caused to less than 1% of our
Boeing 737-800 displaying "bye bye Latehansa" titles
referring to German competitor
Lufthansa in 2008
Ryanair's advertising and the antics of Michael O'Leary, such as
causing deliberate court controversy to generate free publicity for
the airline, have led to a number of complaints to the
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and occasionally court action
being taken against the airline.
An example of this was the live
BBC News interview on 27 February 2009
when Michael O'Leary, observing that it was "a quiet news day",
Ryanair was considering charging passengers £1 to use
the toilet on their flights. The story subsequently made headlines in
the media for several days and drew attention to Ryanair's
announcement that it was removing check-in desks from airports and
replacing them with online check-in. Eight days later O'Leary
eventually admitted that it was a publicity stunt saying "It is not
likely to happen, but it makes for interesting and very cheap
PR". The concept of
Ryanair charging for even this most essential
of customer services was foreseen by the spoof news website "The
Mardale Times" some five months previously, in their article "Ryanair
announce new 'Pay-Per-Poo' service".
Ryanair often use their advertising to make direct comparisons and
attack their competitors. One of their advertisements used a picture
of the Manneken Pis, a famous Belgian statue of a urinating child,
with the words: "Pissed off with Sabena's high fares? Low fares have
arrived in Belgium."
Sabena sued and the court ruled that the
advertisements were misleading and offensive.
Ryanair was ordered to
discontinue the advertisements immediately or face fines.
also obliged to publish an apology and publish the court decision on
Ryanair used the apologies for further advertising,
primarily for further price comparisons.
Another provocative ad campaign headlined "Expensive Bastards!"
Ryanair with British Airways. As with Sabena, British Airways
disagreed with the accompanying price comparisons and brought legal
action against Ryanair. However, in this case the High Court sided
Ryanair and threw BA's case out ordering BA to make a payment
towards Ryanair's court costs. The judge ruled "The complaint amounts
to this: that
Ryanair exaggerated in suggesting BA is five times more
expensive because BA is only three times more expensive."
Ryanair used an advertisement for its new
Belfast route which
showed Sinn Féin's
Martin McGuinness (Northern
Ireland deputy First
Minister and a former senior commander of the IRA) standing alongside
Gerry Adams with a speech bubble which said "Ryanair
fares are so low even the British Army flew home".
Ulster Unionists reacted angrily to the advertisement, while the
Advertising Standards Authority said it did not believe the ad would
cause widespread offence.
An advertisement depicting a model dressed as a schoolgirl was
accompanied by the words "Hottest back to school fares".
the advertisement in two Scottish and one UK-wide newspaper. After
receiving 13 complaints, the advertisement was widely reported by
national newspapers. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
instructed them to withdraw the advert in the United Kingdom, saying
that it "appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative
behaviour and was irresponsible and likely to cause serious or
Ryanair said that they would "not be withdrawing
this ad" and would "not provide the ASA with any of the undertakings
they seek", on the basis that they found it absurd that "a picture of
a fully clothed model is now claimed to cause 'serious or widespread
offence', when many of the UK's leading daily newspapers regularly run
pictures of topless or partially dressed females without causing any
serious or widespread offence".
The airline has proposed the introduction of pay-per-view pornography
on its flights, CEO Michael O'Leary revealed to British newspaper The
Sun. O'Leary likened the service to those commonly provided in hotels,
saying "hotels around the world have it, so why wouldn't we?"
Although it usually does not serve the primary airport of major
Ryanair has been criticised for placing the names of
famous cities on distant secondary airports that were not built for
tourist traffic and lacked transit links to the main city. Examples
include "Paris Beauvais" (which is not in the same region as Paris),
Brussels South" (which is actually in the city of Charleroi), "Milan
Stockholm Skavsta" (Which is nearly 100 kilometers from
Stockholm), and "Barcelona Reus" (which is over 90 minutes by car from
Barcelona). Frommers has dubbed
Ryanair the "ultimate bait-and-switch
airline" for this deceptive practice.
Ryanair was ordered by the ASA to stop claiming that its flights from
Brussels are faster than the rail connection Eurostar, on
the grounds that the claim was misleading, due to required travel
times to the airports mentioned.
Ryanair stood by its claims, noting
that their flight is shorter than the train trip and that travel time
is also required to reach Eurostar's stations.
In April 2008,
Ryanair faced a probe by the UK Office of Fair Trading,
after a string of complaints about its adverts. It was found to have
breached advertising rules seven times in two years. ASA's director
general Christopher Graham commented that formal referrals to the OFT
were rare, the last occurring in 2005. He added that the ASA "would
prefer to work with advertisers within the self-regulatory system
rather than call in a statutory body, but Ryanair's approach has left
us with no option".
Ryanair countered with the claim that the ASA had
"demonstrated a repeated lack of independence, impartiality and
In July 2009,
Ryanair took a number of steps to "increase the clarity
and transparency of its website and other advertising" after reaching
an agreement with the OFT. The airline's website now includes a
statement that "fares don't include optional fees/charges" and they
now include a table of fees to make fare comparisons easier.
In July 2010,
Ryanair once again found itself in controversy regarding
alleged misleading advertising.
Ryanair circulated advertisements in
two newspapers offering £10 one-way fares to European destinations.
Following a complaint from rival carrier EasyJet, the ASA ruled the
offer was "likely to mislead".
Ryanair made no comment on the
claim but did hit back at EasyJet, claiming they cared about details
in this regard but did not themselves print their on-time statistics.
EasyJet denied this.
In April 2011,
Ryanair advertised 'a place in the sun destinations'
but the advert was banned when it was found that some of the
destinations experienced sunshine for as little as three hours per day
and temperatures between 0 and 14 °C (32 and 57 °F).
Ryanair stated that websites like Opodo, CheapOair etc. and
their partners engage in screenscraping and false advertising, and
attempted to prevent them from showing
Criticism of surcharges
In February 2011, a
Ryanair passenger, Miro Garcia, brought a claim
Ryanair for unfair surcharges, claiming that the €40 (£30)
surcharge on passengers who failed to print out a boarding card prior
to arrival at the airport was unfair. Judge Barbara Cordoba, sitting
in the Commercial Court in Barcelona, held that, under international
air travel conventions,
Ryanair can neither demand passengers turn up
at the airport with their boarding pass, nor charge them €40 (£30)
if they do not, and that the fines were abusive because aviation law
obliges airlines to issue boarding passes. Judge Cordoba stated that:
"I declare abusive and, therefore, null, the clause in the contract by
Ryanair obliges the passenger to take a boarding pass to the
airport... the customary practice over the years has been that the
obligation to provide the boarding pass has always fallen on the
airline". The judge ordered a refund for Mr Garcia and said the fact
the company was a low-cost carrier did "not allow it to alter its
basic contractual obligations".
Ryanair appealed the decision and
the Appeals Court in Spain overturned the ruling in November 2011,
holding that the surcharge is in compliance with international
In December 2011,
Ryanair announced that they would fight against the
UK Treasury's plan to ban what
Which? magazine calls "rip-off" charges
made when customers pay by credit card. EU legislation has
already been drafted against surcharges for methods of payment.
On 26 July 2012 three
Ryanair aircraft inbound to Madrid–Barajas
Airport diverted to
Valencia Airport due to severe thunderstorms in
the Madrid area. All three aircraft declared an emergency (Mayday)
when the calculated usable fuel on landing at
Valencia Airport was
less than final reserve (30 minutes of flight) after having been held
in the air for 50 to 69 minutes. The Irish
investigated the incidents and came to a number of conclusions,
"The aircraft in all three cases departed for Madrid with fuel in
excess of Flight Plan requirements";
"The Crew diverted to Valencia with fuel in excess of the minimum
diversion fuel depicted on the Flight Plan";
"Diverting with fuel close to minimum diversion fuel in the
circumstances presented on the evening in question was likely to
present challenges for the crew. Initial holding was to the Southwest
of Madrid which increased the diversion time to the alternate";
"The Crew declared an Emergency in accordance with EU-OPS when the
calculated usable fuel for landing at Valencia was less than final
"The Met conditions in Madrid were more significant than anticipated
by the Crew when reviewing the Met Forecast. Consequently the
additional fuel carried was influenced by the forecast";
"Operations into a busy airport such as Madrid in Thunderstorm
conditions with the associated traffic levels can add significant
delays to all traffic";
"Air Traffic Control in Valencia was under significant pressure with
the number of diversions arriving in their airspace."
Aviation Authority made a number of recommendations,
Ryanair should "review their fuel policy and consider
issuing guidance to Crew with respect to fuel when operating into busy
airports with mixed aircraft operators and types particularly in poor
weather conditions when diversions are likely." The IAA also
recommended that the Spanish
Aviation Safety and Security Agency
"review delays into Madrid to consider if additional fuel should be
recommended or required to be carried in normal operations
particularly where the southerly Runways are in operation."
Among the causes of the incident, the Civil
Aviation Accident and
Incident Investigation Commission concludes that "the company's fuel
savings policy, though it complies with the minimum legal
requirements, tends to minimise the amount of fuel with which its
aircraft operate and leaves none for contingencies below the legal
minimums. This contributed to the amount of fuel used being improperly
planned and to the amount of fuel onboard dropping below the required
final fuel reserve."
In an interview with the Dutch investigative journalism programme KRO
Reporter, four anonymous
Ryanair pilots claimed they are being
pressured to carry as little fuel as possible on board to cut
Ryanair and its CEO Michael O'Leary denied the
allegations and sued KRO. On 16 April 2014, the Dutch Court
decided that KRO had provided sufficient evidence in two television
episodes of Mayday,
Mayday broadcast in 2012 and 2013 to back their
claims in respect of Ryanair's fuel policy and "fear culture". It also
Ryanair had been given a right of reply in response to the
claims. The broadcast of the programmes was found to be in the public
Ryanair were ordered to pay the legal costs of the
Ryanair has several low-cost competitors. In 2004, approximately 60
new low-cost airlines were formed. Although traditionally a
Aer Lingus moved to a low-fares strategy from
2002, leading to a much more intense competition with
Ryanair on Irish
Ryanair is a member of Airlines for Europe, having
formerly been a member of the defunct European Low Fares Airline
Airlines which attempt to compete directly with
Ryanair are treated
Ryanair being accused by some of reducing fares to
significantly undercut their competitors. In response to MyTravelLite,
who started to compete with
Ryanair on the Birmingham to
Ryanair set up competing flights on some of MyTravelLite's
routes until they pulled out. Go was another airline which attempted
to offer services from Ryanair's base at
Dublin to Glasgow and
Edinburgh in Scotland. A fierce battle ensued, which ended with Go
withdrawing its service from Dublin.
In September 2004, Ryanair's biggest competitor, EasyJet, announced
routes to the
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland for the first time, beginning with
the Cork to London Gatwick route. Until then,
EasyJet had never
competed directly with
Ryanair on its home ground.
withdrew its Gatwick-Cork, Gatwick-Shannon, Gatwick-Knock and
Ryanair also responded to the decision of another low-cost
Wizz Air that planned to move its flight operations from
Warsaw Chopin Airport
Warsaw Chopin Airport in Poland to the new low-cost Warsaw Modlin
Airport in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki.
Ryanair had previously operated
the route to
Dublin from Warsaw but they withdrew claiming that the
fees at Warsaw's main airport were too high. When
Wizz Air began
operations from Modlin Airport,
Ryanair began several new routes from
the same airport, most of which were identical to routes offered by
Ryanair asked the Irish high court to investigate why it had
been refused permission to fly from Knock to Dublin. This route was
won by CityJet, which was unable to operate the service. The runner
up, Aer Arann, was then allowed to start flights, a move Ryanair
criticises on the basis that not initiating an additional tender
process was unlawful.
DFDS Seaways cited competition from low-cost air services, especially
Ryanair, which now flies to
Edinburgh Airport and London Stansted
Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, as the reason for
scrapping the Newcastle–
Gothenburg ferry service in October
2006. It was the only dedicated passenger ferry service between
Sweden and the United Kingdom, and had been running under various
operators since the 19th century. According to research in October
Ryanair was the cheapest low-cost airline in Europe in basic
price without fees but was the fourth cheapest when fees were
Ryanair's largest base is at London-Stansted with 43 aircraft followed
by its home base at Dublin.
Ryanair operates from 84 bases
connecting 33 countries across Europe and North Africa, some of which
only base a single aircraft. Several non-base airports serve more
flights and/or destinations than certain base airports.
Ryanair traditionally prefers to fly to smaller or secondary airports
usually outside major cities to help the company benefit from lower
landing fees and quick turn-around times to reduce costs. For example,
Ryanair does not fly to the main Düsseldorf airport. Instead, it
flies to Weeze, 70 km from Düsseldorf.
Ryanair has even referred
Bratislava Airport in Slovakia as "Bratislava Vienna", despite
Vienna being 80 km (50 mi) away, across a national border. In some
cases, secondary airports are not distant from the city they serve,
and can in fact can be closer than the city's major airport; this is
the case at Rome-Ciampino.
Ryanair does still serve a number of major airports, including
Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona El Prat,
Brussels Zaventem, Budapest,
Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London-Gatwick, Madrid Barajas,
Manchester, Marseille, Oslo-Gardermoen and Rome-Fiumicino. Some of
these cities do not have a viable secondary airport that
use as an alternative. In more recent months/years,
grown more at primary airports as it looks to attract more business
passengers. For Summer 2014, the airline opened bases in Athens,
Lisbon and the primary airports of
Rome for the first
Ryanair flies in a point to point model rather than the more
traditional airline hub and spoke model where the passengers have to
change aircraft in transit at a major airport, usually being able to
reach more destinations this way. In April 2017 however,
Ryanair announced to add more indirect flights to its portfolio,
starting with a new transfer hub in Rome-Fiumicino airport (FCO).
Ryanair has 50 European bases. Despite it being an Irish airline, and
having a significant presence there, it also has a significant
presence in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom
as well as many other European countries (although the airline has no
bases in France). Currently, its biggest country market is Italy,
containing fourteen bases, as well as a total of nine other non-base
Ryanair's largest competitor is
EasyJet which has a far greater focus
on larger or primary airports such as Amsterdam and Paris-Charles de
Gaulle, heavily targeting business passengers.
Ryanair also serves sun
and beach destinations with bases in the Canary Islands, Cyprus, the
Greek Islands and
Malta amongst others. In August 2014, the airline
unveiled ambitious plans to establish a major hub in Israel to service
a broad range of European routes. In December 2014 Ryanair
announced plans to open its 72nd base in 2015 in the Azores. In
February 2018, due to the Scottish Govenment not abolishing or
reducing Air Passenger Duty (APD),
Ryanair announced that they will
cut many flights out of
Glasgow Airport resulting the airline closing
base there. The only route out of GLA by end of October is Dublin,
Krakow and Wroclaw and the rest will be suspended permanently on the
following date and also resulting the loss of 300 airport stuff. 
Top airports by destinations 2007-17
Ryanair negotiates with its airports, it demands very low landing
and handling fees, as well as financial assistance with marketing and
promotional campaigns. In subsequent contract renewal
negotiations, the airline has been reported to play airports against
each other, threatening to withdraw services and deploy the aircraft
elsewhere, if the airport does not make further concessions. According
to Michael O'Leary's biography "A Life in Full Flight", Ryanair's
growing popularity and also growing bargaining power, with both
airports and aircraft manufacturers, has resulted in the airline being
less concerned about a market research/demographics approach to route
selection to one based more on experimentation. This means they are
more likely to fly their low cost planes between the lowest cost
airports in anticipation that their presence alone on that route will
be sufficient to create a demand which previously may not have
existed, either in whole or in part.
In April 2006, a failure to reach agreement on a new commercial
contract resulted in
Ryanair announcing that it would withdraw service
on the Dublin–Cardiff route at short notice. The airport
management rebutted Ryanair's assertion that airport charges were
unreasonably high, claiming that the Cardiff charges were already
below Ryanair's average and claimed that
Ryanair had recently adopted
the same negotiating approach with
Cork Airport and London Stansted
Airport. In 2009,
Ryanair was reported to have adopted 'harsh'
negotiating with Shannon Airport, threatening to close 75% of its
operations there from April 2010.
Ryanair was forced to give up
Alghero route, after the route was allocated to
Air One, as a public service obligation (PSO) route. The European
Commission is investigating the actions of the Italian Government in
assigning PSO routes and thus restricting competition.
Ryanair has also helped with the launch of low-cost airlines:
VivaAerobús (Mexico) and
VivaColombia (Colombia). In 2016, it
will help to develop a new low-cost airline in Costa Rica, named
Boeing 737-800 in the airline's current livery
Ryanair's fleet consists of the following aircraft as of February
In an all-business configuration as a corporate charter service,
mainly for sports clubs during the winter.
Upconverted to 149 seats in summer as a training/backup aircraft on
Boeing 737 MAX 200
First deliveries set to start in 2019
Boeing 737-200 in 2004
Ryanair has operated the following types of aircraft in the past:
Ryanair Past Fleet
BAC One-Eleven
Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante
Hawker Siddeley HS 748
Ryanair claims to operate the newest, greenest, and quietest fleet of
aircraft in Europe. As of March 2018, the average age of the
Ryanair fleet was around 6.5 years. When
Boeing builds an
aircraft for Ryanair, it is allocated the customer code AS, which
appears in their aircraft designation as a suffix, such as 737-8AS.
Ryanair's fleet reached 200 aircraft for the first time on 5 September
2009. All aircraft in the
Ryanair fleet have been
retrofitted with performance enhancing winglets and the more recent
deliveries have them fitted as standard.
The company also owns three Learjet 45, based at London Stansted
Bergamo Airport but registered in the
Isle of Man
Isle of Man as
M-ABEU, M-ABGV and M-ABJA, which are mainly used for the quick
transportation of maintenance personnel and small aircraft parts
around the network.
On 13 March 2013,
Ryanair signed an order for 175 new
at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. In the same press conference,
Michael O'Leary said
Ryanair were still evaluating the possibility of
Boeing 737 MAX, and stated their huge order in March was for the
Boeing 737 Next Generation
Boeing 737 Next Generation rather than the 737 MAX as they needed
aircraft before the 737 MAX would enter service.
On 30 April 2014,
Ryanair confirmed that they have ordered 5 more
aircraft to add to their fleet, 4 of them to be delivered in 2015 and
the last one to be delivered in February 2016, to bring the number of
aircraft on order to 180.
Ryanair also showed interest in other aircraft, including the Comac
C919, when they signed a design agreement with Comac in 2011 to help
produce a rival jet to Boeing's offerings. At the
Paris Airshow in
2013, Michael O'Leary stated that Comac could build a larger version
of the C919 aircraft that would hold up to 200 passengers.
On 8 September 2014,
Ryanair made a commitment to order 100 new Boeing
737 MAX 8s (plus options for an additional 100) for delivery from
On 1 December 2014, the airline finalised their order for up to 200
Boeing 737 MAX 200s, which are a version of the 737 MAX 8 for low cost
airlines, named after the fact that they can carry 200 passengers. The
order includes 100 firm, and 100 purchase rights. This makes Ryanair
the launch customer of the
Boeing 737 MAX 200.
As of August 2016 around 91% of the
Ryanair fleet (316 of 354
aircraft) were owned by the company, with the balance being
Accidents and incidents
On 10 November 2008,
Ryanair Flight 4102, from Frankfurt–Hahn
Airport, suffered undercarriage damage in an emergency landing at
Rome–Ciampino Airport, after experiencing bird strikes, which
damaged both engines on approach. There were 6 crew members and 166
passengers on board. Two crew members and eight passengers were
taken to hospital with minor injuries. The port undercarriage of
Boeing 737-800 collapsed, leaving the aircraft stranded on
the runway and closing the airport for over 35 hours. As well as
damage to the engines and undercarriage, the rear fuselage was also
damaged by contact with the runway. The aircraft involved was
damaged beyond repair and was scrapped. 
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List of companies of Ireland
List of low-cost airlines
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