Posts Tagged 'RyanAir'

Top 5 Airlines in 2008

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published its latest ranking of the world’s airlines in terms of passengers carried and passenger kilometres flown on scheduled flights for the year 2008.

International and Domestic – Number of passengers

Based on number of passengers carried on scheduled flights in 2008 and considering International as well as Domestic traffic, US and Chinese companies seem to rule the world with Southwest Airlines taking number one. However, if we would count Delta and Northwest as one entity (they merged in 2008), they would claim the number one spot (seen in line 0 in the table below). It should be noticed that the fifth position in terms of passengers carried has been taken by a Chinese air company (China Southern Airlines) – which also signals the ongoing growth of the Chinese domestic air travel market.

Top5 Airlines in 2008 in terms of Passengers on Domestic And International flights

International – Number of passengers

Looking at only International scheduled traffic in 2008 (excluding domestic), Ryanair has grown to be the largest International airline in the world. Mostly European airlines are included in this bucket, as most of their flights are international, even though the distances flown would in most cases match up with the US (or Chinese) Domestic flights. This just shows how strong the US airlines are on their domestic market and how weak they are on the international routes – in terms of number of passengers. It is interesting to note that Air France and KLM are a merged company since 2004, but operate their separate networks. Also interesting to see that 2 of the top 5 are low-cost carriers (Ryanair and easyJet). If we would consider European international flights as domestic (in terms of distance intra-European flights are similar in nature to the domestic flights within the US or China), none of the European airlines would make it in the top 5 – based on the number of passengers flown, even though Ryanair comes very close to fifth position China Southern.

2008 Top 5 Airlines (number of Passengers on International travel)

International and Domestic – Passenger kilometres

When looking at passenger kilometres flown, it gives a slightly different view of the same results. Such a statistic shows us all airlines in terms of passenger kilometres flown (passengers*kilometers flown) and theoretically levels out the difference between the European International flights and the US Domestic flights for example – which produce similar numbers in terms of passenger kilometres. On the other hand, this gives a chance for airlines flying mostly longer routes with less passengers to move up the list. (E.g.: a Budapest-London flight is 1 passenger or rougly 1500 passenger kilometres, while a Paris-Rio de Janeiro flight is also counted as 1 passenger, but rougly 9400 passenger kilometres.)

Top 5 Airlines in 2008 - in terms of passenger kilometres for Domestic and International flights

It is interesting to see that this view is still ruled by the US airlines, and the only non-US in the list is the merged Air France – KLM group, taking the fourth position. We are missing Southwest Airlines from this table, as they do not fly long-haul and fly only a limited number of mid-haul international flights to Central America thus their average kilometers flown per passenger is much lower than those big American airlines that also fly long-haul routes. It is also a notable change that American Airlines (considered to be the largest airline company for years) is passed by the new Delta Airlines (merged with Northwest) by as much as 35%.

It will be interesting to see these numbers for 2009 in a few months – where Delta will most likely hold the number one spot for overall passenger numbers as well as passenger kilometers, but Lufthansa may move up a little bit if they start to publish their numbers together with Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines. We are also looking forward to the much talked about possible British Airways – Iberia tie up, which would produce an Air France – KLM like congolmerate that could fight for a top 5 position in terms of worldwide passenger kilometers – considering Iberia’s long flights between Europe and South America.

by balint01

Ryanair Passengers Willing To Stand For FREE

RyanAirRyanair is famous for creating media buzz with the strangest ideas, including collecting money for using the restrooms onboard, or asking passengers to actually carry their luggage all the way to the airplane. Their latest such idea is to install standing “seats” for passengers on short flights. This idea has also been raised by the Chinese low-fare airline, Spring, not so long ago. Ryanair has claimed they are in talks with Boeing to install such devices (let’s not call them seats), but Boeing has not yet confirmed or denied such a study being conducted.


Ryanair however, took the idea one step further, with conducting a survey on their site. During two weeks in July 2009 they were asking their website visitors three questions – that were answered by 120,000 people. Today (22nd July) they announced that over 80,000 (66%) passengers said they would stand on short one hour flights if it meant that their fare would be free (FREE – not simply cheap). 72,000 (60%) agreed that airline passengers should have a choice of standing on short flights as they already do on buses, trains and underground transport while a minority of 50,000 (42%) said they would stand if they could pay 50% less than seated passengers. This means most of the passengers are only willing to stand – if the fare is FREE. Simply offering cheaper fares will not do the trick – in case the majority of the passengers. However, 42% is still a large number to be considered.

Here are the results from the Survey:

 1. If it meant your fare was free would you stand on a one hour flight?
 2. If it meant your fare was half that of a seated passenger would you stand on a one hour flight?
 3. Do you think passengers should have a choice of standing on short flights as they currently do on trains, buses and underground transport?

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: : “With 120,000 passengers voting and 80,000 saying they would stand on board, Ryanair will continue to explore the concept of ‘fare free standing’ flights with Boeing and the relevant aviation authorities in the US and EU“. We are looking forward to this exploration, as it would only work for short, commuting flights. If an airplane is equipped with let’s say 50 standing “seats” besides the regular seats – it can only be used on such routes and can not be rotated to a longer a flight – unless it gets re-seated, or only sells the regular seats (at reduced capacity). This is very unlikely in our opinion, especially at Ryanair, as they already work with a very low turn-around time – that would leave no room for reorganization of the cabin. This would also break one of the foundations of the low-fare business model – the unified fleet, as rotation of aircraft and yield management would have to consider special cases for a few aircraft which would add to the maintenance overhead – in terms of scheduling and reservation systems. It is not yet know if such seating areas would require more or less cabin staff, how children would be handled with such tickets, how would the open seating work for check-in and boarding, etc. We’ll keep an eye on this development, though.

Here is a funny video about Ryanair’s idea (posted on their own website…):

by balint01

Would You Carry Your Luggage To The Plane?

I found the following news today on an Australian news portal:

EUROPE’S largest low-cost airline Ryanair is looking at the possibility of getting passengers to carry their luggage all the way to the plane, cutting out the need for baggage handlers.

“We would say to passengers … take your own bag down through airport security, leave it at the bottom of the steps, we put it in the hold and on arrival we deliver it to the aircraft steps and you take it with you,” Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told a news conference yesterday.

Ryanair’s business is centered around cutting costs and the carrier is planning to eliminate check-in desks from October this year, saving up to 40 million euros annually.

An airline spokesman said the group would not pursue the luggage plan if it jeopardized their quick turnaround times.  (Original sourc: Reuters)

Now let’s think it over for a moment. It is clear that if they close check-in counters completely, they get in trouble. We all know that luggage self-check-in does not work. People cheat with it, they screw up sticking bag tags properly on the luggage, they spend 10 minutes by sticking the bag tag instead of moving away from self check-in kiosks, so they queue up, which is not efficient at all. In the end it is always more simple to open up a check-in counter and have them pay an extra cost for checked-in lugagge. They actually do so. If you fly Ryanair, you will need to pay an extra lugagge fee. Wherever they launched it, they use carousels to take the luggage from the check-in kiosk to the security check.

60s_luggageSo now instead of carousels and a central luggage assorter it is the passenger, who takes the luggage to security – which is actually the same security that checks on-board baggages. First of all how do they decide whether you can take a bottle of wine with you? If it is a checked baggage, it can stay there, if not, then leave it here for us? Or what?

Who weighs the baggage? The passenger? I can predict – although I am not a fortune teller – that there will be no overwiehgts any more. So how can a balance sheet be prepared for the ground staff? Is it safe?

Then the passenger takes the luggage to the stairs, puts it into a container, so the ground handlers will start loading them into the plane exactly when boarding starts. Because earlier no luggage can be left alone anywhere, otherwise it is a security hole again. For me it seems impossible to finish loading in time, but miracles can happen.

After the plane arrives it is fine that passengers take it from the container and they will not stand along a carousel again, but what about lost luggage? It would be fun to handle their claims right at the plane, when again loading starts for the return flight. Yes, I know, they can be directed to a customer management desk, but passengers are strange people: if they will see loading staff, they will try to convince them to go and look for their luggage again.

And what is it that they really save at the end of the day? A carousel that takes checked luggage to the central assorting place, then to the security and then to the aircraft, which is almost fully automized. I am not sure it is such a big deal. And on the other hand passengers pay for this service.

Well, I will keep my eyes on this story. I am too skeptic to believe this is actually going to happen.

How about you? Would you carry your checked-in luggage all through the airport to the plane?

By Szafi

How To Use The Oxygen Mask?

On Monday on one of Ryanair’s flights from Bristol to Barcelona-Girona a sudden depressurization happened and oxygen masks were automatically dropped. Later passengers told the media that the oxygen masks had not worked. The airline refuses these claims and according to their first brief investigation process everything was fine with the masks. Finally the plane was diverted to Limoges in France and all passengers were disembarked safely.

This incident however drew our attention to the dilemma of how efficient those mandatory so called safety presentations are that remind us of a very untalented, stupid ballet of (hopefully) good-looking stewardesses. First let’s see what are the facts about oxygen masks and then let’s get back to our dilemma.

About the usage of oxygen masks

Misbelief: most people think that if oxygen masks drop, they should just breath the oxygen coming out from it and that the bag above the mask would be filled with air automatically.

Truth: once they drop, you have to grab the one nearest to you and pull it towards yourself with a sudden, strong pull. This pull turns on the flow of oxygen. But it is not like a vacuum-cleaner that oxygen is just flowing out of it. No. You have to put it on your face and breathe normally (if you can breath normally in such a situation). The vacuum of your breath will pull the oxygen out, while that small bag above the mask itself will get full once you blow the air out into that thing.

Efficiency of the safety presentation

Airline safety demonstration

Now that the usage of oxygen masks is clear, let’s get back to our dilemma. We have already written an article about how to survive an air crash. There are so many wrong ideas of an air crash. The safety demonstrations prepare us only for the usage of an oxygen mask (and apparently it is not efficient, either) and landing on water and using that emergency vest. Probably that is the least necessary thing for an air crash, because most planes that have to make an emergency landing on water, unfortunately break apart during landing. But even that instruction is not clear enough. I am almost sure that once it is needed, most of the people would pull that hanger and blow the vest up already inside the plane, although with a blown-up vest on the body, it is almost impossible to leave the plane through the emergency exits.

During safety demonstrations it is not mandatory to tell us about the emergency landing position, which might save your life, because if you manage not to break your legs, you can easier leave the plane in case of a fire and that might be very useful.

During safety demonstration they never tell us anything about smoke (for example that if you get down on your knees, there’s much less smoke down there and you have a bigger chance to get out of the plane) or emergency slides (that you should take off high-heel shoes and how to jump on it in order to defend your arms and legs) and so on.

Again I am asking IATA, ICAO and all other airline associations and forums: are you sure this is the right procedure? Shouldn’t you revise this regulation?

Update (30 august 2008): I talked to an engineer, who is working with Boeing 737-800s and he told me that checking oxygen masks is done regularly. Every plane type has a maintenance guide that gives exact instructions how frequently oxygen masks need to be checked. It is connected to flown hours, so this frequency differs in acse of each plane.

By Szafi

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

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:


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

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