Tony Ryan – Founder Of RyanAir Passes Away


Founder of RyanAir

Tony Ryan (02FEB1936 – 03OCT2007), died yesterday after a long illness, at the age of 71. Dr. Ryan became a key figure of Irish and Global Aviation during his lifetime.

After finishing university at the University of Limerick -where he even competed in the 1958 Olympic games, finishing 7th in the 10,000 metres- he joined Aer Lingus (then Irish state airline). Starting as a dispatch clerk, he worked his way up to leasing manager before founding his own leasing company Guinness Peat Aviation, later known as GPA, in 1975. GPA was one of the first pioneering companies in a new business: aircraft leasing. The $50,000 that Ryan, Aer Lingus and Guinness Peat Group invested to launch GPA paid huge dividends for all and made Ryan one of the wealthiest men in Ireland (he was the 7th wealthiest individual from Ireland in the Sunday Times Rich List 2007 with €1,503 mn (£1,010 mn)). Using GPA as a vehicle, Ryan began buying used aircraft and leasing them to airlines, eventually ordering planes directly from the manufacturers and getting into a fierce but publicly respectful rivalry with ILFC (the biggest aircraft leasing company). By the early 1990s, GPA held orders and options for close to 600 (!) aircraft. GPA’s business model, however, became increasingly complex as it entered into numerous joint ventures with aircraft manufacturers and airlines to acquire specific types of aircraft. More and more of the privately held company’s income derived from aircraft trading rather than core lease rentals and its massive speculative orders left it vulnerable to the early-1990s downturn – which also saw the company being floated to the stock exchange at the worst possible time. GPA basically collapsed in 1992, but GE eventually stepped in and snapped up most of the GPA fleet, propelling GE Commercial Aviation Services into the forefront of the operating lease business virtually overnight. GE as the successor of GPA still keeps Ireland in the main bloodstream of aviation, especially in the leasing business.

A RyanAir Boeing Aircraft

During the successful era of the GPA operations he also launched RyanAir 23 years ago. It first took to the skies in July, 1985 with a 15 seater Bandeirante aircraft, operating daily from Waterford in the southeast of Ireland to London Gatwick. Following the first years of failure and big losses, the airline started to prosper after Ryan hired his tax consultant, Michael O’Leary to run the troubled airline. Under the management of O’Leary and the guidance of Ryan, RyanAir has grown to be one of the largest international passenger airlines in the world, with more than 50 million passengers a year, and has transformed the European Skies as well as the travel habits of the Europeans, basically creating the prosperous low-cost model on the continent.

Ryanair’s Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary said in a statement yesterday:

Tony Ryan was one of the greatest Irishmen of the 20th Century. His many achievements in business, education, sport, the arts and heritage preservation leave an astonishing legacy to an extraordinary man. He was immensely supportive of, and took great pride in his family and their many successes. It was a privilege to work for him and to learn from him. I will miss his guidance, encouragement and friendship. We are all determined that Ryanair will continue to carry his name with pride and distinction”.

Tony Ryan has also held a 16% stake in Singapore’s discount carrier: Tiger Airways, which was founded in 2003, but I have no doubt that we will all remember him as the founder of RyanAir!

by balint01

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Blog calendar

October 2007
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives


%d bloggers like this: