Ryanair is unseperable from Ireland’s success as a business hub. The airline promotes European travel and integration, while exemplifying the country’s outward-looking nature. CEO Michael O’Leary continues to seek more.
How do you quantify Ryanair’s achievements?
We are the world’s largest airline by passengers carried, servicing around 120 million people. You can now travel the entire continent of Europe for less than €50, and we fly more routes than any other airline. Our investment in new aircraft cut fuel costs and emissions, and have helped make Ryanair the cleanest and greenest airline in Europe.
It all began by utilizing Southwest Airlines model, which was developed to create the first pan-European low-fare airline.
How have you improved the low-fare model?
We were the first to charge for checked-in bags, a move designed to change customer behavior. Now four-fifths of our passengers do not go near a check-in desk, speeding things up and cutting costs. We were also the first to sell all of our tickets online. Airports appreciate Ryanair’s high passenger numbers and minimal check-in processes, as they create greater revenue opportunities for restaurants and shops.
What are your growth plans?
We have ambitious plans: about 50 new planes are on order per year for the next five years, and this will help us reach 160 million passengers by the early 2020s, with growth of 10 million per year. We are currently the number one airline in seven European countries and expect to lead nearly all European markets within five years time. Ryanair’s remarkable growth story has only just begun.