Archive for the 'RyanAir' Category



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

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RyanAir Responds to Alitalia Reduction Plan At Milan-Malpensa (MPX)

Alitalia logo We know that Alitalia has been struggling to survive basically each day of operations for years now, and that several privatization attempts by the Italian government have failed, as most contenders have backed out of the deal, as soon as they learned about the real numbers, and the real situation at the Italian Flag-carrier. Not so long ago, after the last failed privatization tender, the Italian government named a new CEO and management, which after a few weeks have come up with a survival and restructuring plan.

It was announced on 05SEP2007, that Alitalia plans to scrap around 150-170 flights of its 340 daily flight from Milan Malpensa airport (MPX), as part of the new business plan to stop (or reduce) the financial difficulties. The airline confirmed around the beginning of September, that is “no longer able to operate efficiently out of two hubs” due to mostly economic reasons. At that time there were no details of the plan available, but the Italian carrier said that its new strategy includes the increase of activities at Rome Fiumicino while repositioning Milan Malpensa flights by focusing on specific business demands. It would also mean consolidation of its cargo and crew bases as well as of maintenance activites at the main airport of the North-Italian city of Milan.

Milan is the business and industrial center of Northern-Italy and a relatively rich region just South of the Alps, and one of the richest areas in Italy. If Alitalia had flown a daily 340 flights from the airport until now, and just all of a sudden cuts half of those, it would mean a huge loss in air travel services for the region. But under the European Union Open-Skies agreement, we could be certain immediately after the plan was revealed that another European airline would move into the vacuum of 170 missing daily flights, if (or as soon as) it had the chance. The real question was only the identity of the airline(s) that would take over most of the market left behind by Alitalia. 

RyanAir On 13SEP2007 (so only 8 days after the Alitalia announcement!!) Dublin-based Irish RyanAir has told the press on a news conference, that they are ready to launch 80 new routes from two Milan airports stepping in to the place left by Alitalia. Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier is prepared to use an additional 12 airliners at Milan’s Malpensa airport (worth an $840 million investment by 2012) and another six at Serio airport in Bergamo (which means an investment of $420 million by 2012 next to the already based 4 aircraft), according to company spokesman Peter Sherrard. The planes are worth more than USD$1 billion at list prices and are part of a hefty backlog of 171 (!) planes Ryanair has on order with Boeing. At Malpensa, Ryanair would launch 50 European flights and 10 to domestic Italian destinations, he said. It is not yet known (or announced) whether if RyanAir will buy slots (slot = the right to land (and take-off) at a particular airport at a given time-frame) from Alitalia or directly from the concerned airports.

If we look at the numbers, there are 170 flights being cut back by Alitalia, and 80 of those already have an alternative offered by RyanAir. If we expect that about 20 percent of the AZ flights to be cut were losing money big time and were not sustainable under any circumstances, there are still about 60 flights up for grabs!! Who will be the next one to move into Milan-Malpensa and service the Italian passengers out of that region? Probably Air One, the second biggest Italian airline will take over some routes and will gain a bigger market share, and I can also foresee that Lufthansa/Swiss may use the vicinity of their hubs (Munich and Zürich) to grab some of the passengers on their connecting flights. And then of course other low-costs could also be targeting the unserved demand, but that is highly risky to tip any of those as a second player after RyanAir.

by balint01

RyanAir Charges For Airport Check-in Desk Usage

RyanAir  RyanAir – who are usually the first to introduce new charges in the European low-cost air travel market – have published their plan to start charging extra for passengers who use the check-in desk at the departure airports, to check-in for their RyanAir flights.

RyanAir actually plans to simplify the check-in and boarding process, cut costs and increase ancillary revenue with this action. The fee will be £2/€3 to each person using an airport check-in desk beginning 20SEP2007. They also claim that the fee “reflects the cost of airport check-in desk facilities“, but it will also encourage customers to use RyanAir’s Check’N’Go Web check-in service. So basically this is the next step in pushing the passengers towards self-service in as many steps of the flying process as possible. If you think about it:

  • 10 years ago we all required personal assistance while booking our flights. Now we do it ourselves over the internet.
  • 5 years ago we all needed personal assistance while checking-in for our flights. Now we do it ourselves using self-service check-in kiosks, web and wap applications.
  • Until about a year ago, no matter how we checked ourselves in, we required to be assisted in printing our magnetic stripe boarding passes. Now more and more airlines use bar codes for check-in and boarding, so we can actually print a standard size paper ourselves at home and proceed to passport control/boarding immediately after arriving to the airport.
  • Until also about a year ago, we always stood in the queue at the boarding gate and handed over our magnetic stripe boarding pass to the gate agent, who then assisted us while placing it in the machine, which read it and allowed us to proceed. Now at more and more airports they offer self-boarding facilities, where we can either load our boarding passes to the machine ourselves, or just waive the bar-coded piece of paper to the reader, which opens the gate for us.

The last four steps are now encouraged by RyanAir the hard way:

DO IT YOURSELF OR PAY FOR THE ASSISTANCE!!

Airport Check-In Desks

It is funny, that the RyanAir until now used to charge the exact same fee (£2/€3) for its web-check-in service and the airport desks were free. Now it’s turned around, and the passengers are encouraged to take advantage of the early, web-check-in facility, and indirectly are also encouraged to travel with only carry-on baggage (as if you have a baggage to check-in, you are forced to visit the airport desk and then pay the fee…) The Priority Boarding remains an option while checking in online, which again costs £2/€3.According to the low-cost airline: “Ryanair’s Web check-in and priority boarding service has proven very popular among passengers by freeing them from check-in queues and departure gate queues. However, clearly charging for this service has acted as a disincentive. We expect that providing this service free of charge will significantly increase usage,” it added, noting that the new measures “will, we believe, encourage more and more passengers to travel without checked-in baggage.” I think, the service being free of charge will indeed increase usage, but the real incentive will be not paying for the airport check-in desks…

There is one question which is not yet clear for me however: if you have a baggage to be checked-in, how much do you have to pay? In our earlier post we have investigated the charges for extra, checked-in baggages. Now the charge for those (£5 (€6)) at RyanAir has basically been increased by £2/€3, as when checking in a bag, you must use the airport check-in desk… So you should think twice about having a non-carry on baggage with RyanAir, as it will cost you a minimum of £7/€9 from 20September2007!!

by balint01

easyJet and WizzAir Charging Extra for ALL Checked-In Bags

As the latest effort to reduce costs and turn-around time (the time an aircraft spends at the airport between landing and the next take-off), easyJet and WizzAir are introducing a charge for all checked-in bags. This means that independant from the baggage allowance for a particular flight, passengers from now on will have to pay an additional fee for any bag they wish to check in.

easyJet easyJet will charge an additional £2 (€2.94) for each bag that is checked in (until now they have not charged the first checked-in bag). They allow a maximum of 8 bags, as long as their combined weight does not exceed 20kg. If you want to carry more than that with you, you still have to pay the excess baggage tariff, which costs £6 (€8.81) for each excess kilo you have. Your maximum baggage weight can be 50kg. So let’s see an extra-ordinary example: 8 bags, 50 kgs alltogether: you will be entitled to pay £196 (€288)… A more realistic travel luggage (2 checked-in bags, with a combined weight of 28 kilos) would cost £52 (€76). “Fewer checked-in bags can help to improve the operational performance of airports,” said easyJet.

WizzAir WizzAir on the other hand, will charge €3 per checked-in bags, if you purchase this service at the time of your booking. If you pay at the airport, you will have to pay €6, so double the amount. This gives a good reason for the husbands from now on, when their wives will want to buy souvenir item #132 on their holiday: “Sorry, honey, we can’t buy that, besides the high price and the fact that we have no more space in our living room for this, it would mean an additional bag on our flight back, and you know we have to pay double extra for that at the airport as I haven’t booked it originally…” They also charge €8 for every extra kilo you have above the 20kg original allowance. WizzAir claims this charge is necessary to keep the airfares down.

I’m just wondering how could it happen in an over-regulated, anti-trust European Market, that these two low-costs announced their new regulations on the same day, and will charge basically the same amount for the bags!? How did the second know about the decision of the first one?? 🙂 The only difference is that easyJet will start charging all passengers on flights departing after 30SEP2007, while WizzAir will only start about a month later, on 27OCT2007 and for only those passengers which will do not yet have their bookings at the time of the announcement. So the wifes who want loads of souvenirs are safe until the end of this European Summer Season.

RyanAir Just for your information: RyanAir has been charging £5 (€6) for every extra bag for some time if you pay at the time of booking via ryanair.com, and double the amount if you purchase this service at the airport or through the call-center (so RyanAir actually needs man-power for the purchase). Their charge for excess weight is £5.50 and €8. But mind the trick: the baggage allowance of RyanAir is only 15kg, not 20 as the other two (and most traditinonal airlines on economy class) mentioned in this article.

I believe this service fee will make the people think about their hand-luggage and the liquids in those twice, as if they don’t comply with those regulations, they have to check-in their bags AND pay for them… (Another situation when a smart, educational gift by KLM would have an advantage, but obviously these low cost airlines will not offer anything like that.)

by balint01


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