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Case study: Ryanair  Simple fleet – using a single aircraft type (Boeing 737 – most of

(www.ryanair.com) which are quite new) simplifies maintenance, training and crew
scheduling.
In 2010 Ryanair, based in Dublin, was Europe’s largest low-fare airline and,
despite the recession, it carried almost 66 million passengers in the 12  Secondary airports – using airports away from major cities keeps
months to the end of February: a record for that period. landing charges low, sometimes as little as £1 per passenger
against £10 at a major airport; it also avoids the delays and costs
In 1985 the company began offering services between Dublin and London, caused by congestion at major airports.
in competition with the established national carrier, Aer Lingus. In the early
years the airline changed its business several times – initially a  Fast turnarounds – staff typically turn an aircraft round between
conventional competitor for Aer Lingus, then a charter company, at times flights in 25 minutes, compared with an hour for older airlines. This
offering a cargo service. enables aircraft to spend more time in the air, earning revenue (11
hours compared with seven at British Airways).
The Gulf War in 1990 discouraged air travel and deepened the company’s
financial problems. In 1991 senior managers decided to focus the airline as  Simplified operations – not assigning seats at check-in simplifies
a ‘no-frills’ operator, in which many traditional features of air travel (free ticketing and administrative processes, and also ensures that
food, drink, newspapers and allocated seats) were no longer available. It passengers arrive early to get their preferred seat.
aimed to serve a group of flyers who wanted a functional and efficient
service, not luxury.
 Flying directly between cities avoids transferring passengers and
baggage between flights, where mistakes and delays are common.
In 1997 changes in European Union regulations enabled new airlines to
Cabin staff collect rubbish before and after landing, saving the cost
enter markets previously dominated by established national carriers such
of cleaning crews which established carriers choose to use.
as Air France and British Airways. Ryanair quickly took advantage of this,
opening new routes between Dublin and continental Europe.
Source:
Boddy, D., Paton, S. (2011)
Although based in Ireland, 80 per cent of its routes are between airports in
Management: An introduction. Harlow, UK: Pearson.
other countries – in contrast with established carriers that depend heavily
Economist, 10 July 2004; O’Connell and Williams (2005); Doganis (2006);
on passengers travelling to and from the airline’s home country (Barrett,
and other published information.
2009, p. 80).

Managers were quick to spot the potential of the internet, and in 2000
Case questions
opened Ryanair.com, a booking site. Within a year it sold 75 per cent of
seats online and now sells almost all seats this way. It also made a long- 1. What were the problems existing in the company in 1985-1991?
term deal with Boeing to purchase 150 new aircraft over the next eight 2. What were the threats and opportunities in the external
years. environment?
3. What did management contribute to the growth of the airline? Give
Several factors enable Ryanair to offer low fares: examples of some points at which managers changed what the
organization does and how it works?