Sign Up Now for
7J7 Updates and
Exclusive Content !
only $27 /year

Receive thousands of updates and pertinent information for all airlines, especially the ones that matter most to you!

We take the guess work out of flight and airport data — we are the most up-to-date resource for international airline information.


7JetSet7 Code: RYR
Status: Operational
Region: EUROPE
Country: IRELAND
Employees 9450
Web: ryanair.com
Email: dalym@ryanair.com
Telephone: +353 1 812 1212
Fax: +353 1 812 1213

Click below for data links:
RYR-2003-11 NEWS
RYR-2004-06 NEWS
RYR-2012-06 - 5 YEARS AT WEEZE
RYR-2012-12 - KRAKOW 53RD BASE
RYR-2013-01 - FEZ 5 AIRLINES
RYR-2013-03 - 737 ORDER-A
RYR-2013-03 - 737 ORDER-B
RYR-2013-04 - UPDATE-A
RYR-2013-04 - UPDATE-B
RYR-2013-04 - UPDATE-C
RYR-2013-11 - TO AARHUS
RYR-2014-09 - 737 MAX 200 ORDER-X
RYR-2014-09 - 737 MAX ORDER
RYR-2014-09 - 737-MAX 200 ORDER-A
RYR-2014-09 - 737-MAX 200 ORDER-B
RYR-2014-09 - 737-MAX 200 ORDER-C
RYR-2014-10 - 69 BASES
RYR-2014-10 - INCDT
RYR-2015-03 - TOP 15 STARTING ROUTES.jpg
RYR-2015-09 - Cologne to Copenhagen.jpg
RYR-2015-12 - Milan to Seville.jpg
RYR-2017-02 - Aberdeen Scotland Services.jpg
RYR-2017-02 - Cologne Bonn Routes.jpg
RYR-2017-09 Top Contributor.jpg
RYR-2018-03 RyanAir Sunsetr.jpg
RYR-2018-06 CA Zaragoza to PMI.jpg
RYR-2018-07 10 737-800 leased to (NKI).jpg
RYR-Flight Crew 2018-08.jpg




Cultural affinity, stability and beautiful vistas are among the many attractions of Ireland for USA retirees. Thanks to an economic bust, housing and other living costs have come down too. Flights back to the USA are plentiful and relatively cheap.




OCTOBER 1994: 1 737-200A (JT8D-15A), EX-TRANSAVIA (TAV).




DECEMBER 1995: 1 727-200F (JT8D-7B), EX-EMERY AIR FREIGHT (EAF), 1 737-400 (CFM56-3B2), & 1 737-500 (CFM56-3B1), EX-AER LINGUS (ARL).





MARCH 1997: 7TH & 8TH 737-230'S (JT8D-15) (22123; 22124), EX-LUFTHANSA (DLH).


737-230 (22128), EX-LUFTHANSA (DLH).

JULY 1997: BUYS 20TH 737-200, EX-AIR PORTUGAL (TAP) (NOW OPERATES 15 WITH +4, IN 1997).




SEPTEMBER 1997: 1 737-200 (22637) LEASED TO (TAP) PORTUGAL UNTIL NOVEMBER 1997, (NOW HAS 15 737-200'S, & PLANS FOR 20 BY END OF 1997).


PURCHASED +5 737-230'S (PK901; PK911; PK912; PK914; PK974), FOR TOTAL 20 737'S BY FEBRUARY 1998. POSSIBLE BUY OF 20 A319/A320'S, TO REPLACE OLD 737'S.


1 737-230 (22126), EX-LUFTHANSA (DLH).


2 737-230'S (22123; 22124), EX-(DLH), BOUGHT FROM JETZ.










737-2T5 (22396) DELIVERY.






1ST 737-8AS (29916, EI-CSA) DELIVERY.



737-204 (22640, EI-CJC), PAINTED IN HERZ COLORS.


2 737-8AS (29917, EI-CSB; 29918, EI-CSC) DELIVERIES.





4TH & 5TH 737-8AS'S DELIVERIES (29920, EI-CSE).



FEBRUARY 2000: 1999 = +$15.7 MILLION (+33%): +17% (RPK) TRAFFIC.





TO TAKE DELIVERY OF 5 737-800'S IN 2000.









MAY 2000: 2 737-8AR'S (29921, EI-CSF; 29922, EI-CSG), DELIVERIES.






SEPTEMBER 2000: +3 ORDERS (June 2002) 737-800'S.

NOVEMBER 2000: 1999 = +$69.67 Million, (+37%): +323% (RPK) traffic, AFTER OPENING UP 10 NEW ROUTES, AND ADDING 5 737-800'S.




DECEMBER 2000: 2 737-8AS'S (29926, EI-CSM; 29927, EI-CSN), DELIVERIES.


3 737-8AS'S (29928, EI-CSO; 29929, EI-CSP; 29930, EI-CSQ), DELIVERIES.














3 737-8AS'S (29931, EI-CSR; 29932, EI-CSS; 29923, EI-CST) DELIVERIES.









June 2002: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2001 (after tax) = +EUR 150.40 MILLION (+44%) (+EUR 104.50 MILLION): 11.1O MILLION PASSENGERS (PAX) (+38%); 81% LF LOAD FACTOR (+4).

Charleroi - Liverpool/Rome (Ciampino).

July 2002: 2001 = +$132.33 Million (+$91.95 Million): 6.84 Billion (RPK) traffic (+43.4%); 73.8% LF load factor; 9.53 Million passengers (PAX) (+33.6%); 1,400 employees.

Will accelerate 4-year retirement program of 21 737-200's, from 2004, to 2003. +3 orders (February 2003) 737-800's, for total 131 (23 delivered & +13 by mid 2003).

August 2002: In 2004, to open 10 Million Pounds, 2-bay, 737 heavy maintenance facility at Prestwick International Airport, Scotland, and employ 180 people.

September 2002: Paints 737-800 (EI-CSF "Ryanair Love Plane") with red hearts.

Plans to add services from Prestwick to France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, and Spain.

October 2002: In December 2002, will base 5 737-8AS's at Hahn Frankfurt base. Hahn - Girona/Forli (Bologna)/Rome (CIO)/Stockholm (Skavsta).

Projects 2002 = +EUR 230 Million/+$229 Million (+EUR 150.4 Million).

Currently operates 89 routes in 14 European countries.

November 2002: In February 2003, to open a base in Italy's Orio al Serio airport and begin service with 6 routes: Bergamo to Beauvais, Charleroi, Girona, Hahn, Lubeck. London (STN) - Girona (2/day). To base 3 737's there.

Michael O'Leary, (CEO), at Boeing (TBC), Seattle to accept delivery of 24th 737-800. He stated "The message to (TBC) today is, you keep building them, and together, both of us will beat the crap out of Airbus (EDS) in the next couple of years." He took swipes at the traditional European heavyweights: British Airways (BAB); Lufthansa (DLH); & Air France (AFA); with "They've been screwing people for years in Europe. We want to get into those European markets, offer people a choice, and offer people low fares." (RYR) is negotiating with (TBC) regarding 50 to 100 more 737-800's, 189 PAX. He continued "I think it's the right response to the (EDS)-EasyJet (EZY) order: Let's step up our order, and go after the buggars. (EDS) believes Europe is (EDS) country, and (RYR) believes it's (TBC) country, and my money's on (RYR)!"

December 2002: In January 2003, to Newcastle (daily). In February 2003, Bournemouth to Prestwick. Hahn to Gothenburg.

January 2003: May move its Netherland services from Eindhoven to Maastricht. Considering launch of domestic Italian services by end of 2003, or in 2004 as well as service to Rimini, Sardinia, and Sicily.

In April 2003, London Stansted (STN) to Rheims, Pau, Haugesund, Maastricht, and Dusseldorf.

Selects Skavsta Airport, 100 km south of Stockhom as its 4th continental base and in April 2003 will base 4 737-800's there, offering >30 flights daily on 6 international routes to Aarhus, Glasgow, Hamburg, Paris, Oslo, and Tampere. It already serves Skavsta from London and Frankfurt Hahn. Will result in +200 jobs in the Stockholm area and expects >1.5 Million passengers through the airport in the 1st year.

Acquires "buzz" (BZZ) from (KLM) for EUR 20.1 Million/$21.7 Million. (BZZ) currently operates a network of 21 routes from London Stansted (STN) to points in Germany, Holland, France, and Spain, as well as 2 domestic French routes. It has a fleet of 6 737-300's and 6 B AE 146's. (KLM) agreed to take back the B Ae 146'S by March 2004.

The "Irish Times" reported that David Bonderman, Chairman Ryanair (RYR), founder of the Texas Pacific Group, well-known for his ability to turn struggling airlines around, had expressed interest to the Irish government in purchasing troubled state carrier, Aer Lingus (ARL). (ARL) told "Reuters" it viewed the report as premature.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 = 14.5 Million passengers (PAX) (+42.1%); 85% LF load factor (+5).

$6 Billion, 22/78 orders 737-800's. Since January 2002, has now committed to 250 737-800's: 125 firm and 125 options.

February 2003: Subsidiary, Tara Aerospace (headed by (RYR) director, Tony Ryan), has purchased Milovice's derelict Bozi Dar Airport, a former military airfield, located 20 km east from Prague, for EUR 400,000. Milovice will be converted into a commercial airport with a freight terminal (to open in 2005) and a commercial zone. Also wants to establish an airframe and engine maintenance center (MRO) and a pilot training school.

Is looking at launching domestic routes in Italy later in 2003. Currently serves 11 destinations in Italy, and intends to add international routes to Sardinia and Sicily. Additionally, has been holding talks with the Flemish government with a view to establishing a future hub at Ostend Airport.

In April 2003, Stockholm (Skavsta) - Arhus, Beauvais, Glasgow (Prestwick), Lubeck, Tampere, Torp. Laarbruch - Niederrhein (Dusseldorf), Maastricht, Pau, Reims; London (Stansted) - Haugesund, Laarbruch, Maastricht, Pau, Reims. Hahn (Frankfurt) - Kerry (daily).

Stockholm (Skavsta) - Ostersund.

To add a 3rd 737-200 to its Glasgow (Prestwick) base for new daily nonstop service to Barcelona (Girona). Will add 10 pilots (FC) and 15 cabin attendants (CA) for the base.

March 2003: Dublin - Faro/Malaga (weekends). Dublin - Newcastle (2/day). Malmo - Frankfurt Hahn. 7 new routes from London Stansted (STN) to Ostend, Groningen, Leipzig, Palermo, Bergerac, Rodez, and Blackpool, brings (RYR)'s network up to 115 routes across 16 countries. In April 2003, Dublin - Girona (Barcelona) (Saturdays). In May 2003, Dublin - Blackpool (daily). Also, Hamburg - Lubeck and Pisa (daily). Lubeck - Pisa (daily). Brussels (Charleroi) - Girona (Barcelona).

April 2003: New subsidiary to be called "Buzz Stansted," with John Osborne, (CEO), ex-Director Operations Ryanair (RYR) & (CEO) GB Airways (GBA)/Virgin Express (EBA).

June 2003: 2002 = +EUR 239.4 Million/+$280 Million (+59%): 15.7 Million passengers (PAX) (+42%).

September 2003: In October 2003, London (STN) - Tampere (daily). Hahn - Alghero (daily).

46 (THY) 16.59; 47 (ATZ) 16.30; 48 (LTU) 16.10; 49 (JAA) 15.90; 50 (HAP) 14.40; 51 (JMA) 13.97; 52 (PAL) 13.52; 53 (AMX) 13.31; 54 (AIN) 13.25; 55 (FIN) 12.79; 56 (BER) 12.73; 57 (ELA) 12.54; 58 (TPR) 12.08; 59 (MON) 11.86; 60 (GUL) 11.84; 61 (CMA) 11.74; 62 (COR) 11.47; 63 (TAP) 11.38; 64 (LAN) 11.14; 65 (JBL) 11.01; 66 (AIJ) 11.00; 67 (PIA) 10.78; 68 (RYR) 10.20; 69 (EGP) 9.65; 70 (ARG) 9.61; 71 (EZY) 9.21; 72 (HWI); 73 (ARE) 9.03; 74 (CQT) 8.99.

Is accelerating the retirement of 7 to 9 of 21 737-200's to early 2004 because of scratches found on fuselage skins from "inappropriate procedures during painting."

October 2003: In November 2003, London Stansted (STN) to Valladolid (daily) (its 5th airport in Spain). London (STN) - Reus Barcelona (2/day).

Last 12 months = 82% LF (load factor) and internet sales represented 93% of total sales.

November 2003: In December 2003, Glasgow (Prestwick) - Shannon (daily). In January 2004, Glasgow (Prestwick) - Milan (Bergamo) (daily).

December 2003: Joins European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA), including Air Berlin (BER), Basiq Air (TAV), FlyBe (BEE), Flying Finn (FFW), Hapag Lloyd Express (HLX), Ryanair (RYR), Sky Europe (SKP), Sterling (STR), Sverigefly, and VolareWeb (VLR).

Girded itself for a -ve decision on the Brussels South Charleroi Airport by announcing a significant network reshuffle involving suspension of 9 routes from January 2004, and the launch of 9 new ones.

Nancy Court ruling against (RYR)'s appeal, finding that the commercial agreement with Strasbourg Airport constitutes an illegal subsidy to (RYR).

Routes to be dropped are all of its intra-Nordic services from Stockholm Skavsta, including flights to Oslo, Tampere (Finland) and Arhus (Denmark). From London Stansted, it is eliminating Ostend, Maastricht, Reims, and Clermont, while Frankfurt Hahn, is cutting Malmo. Charleroi is losing service to Liverpool.

New routes include Stansted to Linz, Bari, Erfurt, and Jerez. From Skavsta to Rome and Milan, while Frankfurt Hahn will be linked to Reus and Tampere. Also, Charleroi to Valladolid and from Liverpool to Barcelona Girona.

Announced that it carried more passengers than British Airways (BAB) in and between the UK and mainland Europe (in November 2003, (RYR) carried 2 Million passengers (+60%), whereas (BAB) only carried 1.8 Million passengers to UK/Europe destinations). Will open new bases at Rome Ciampino in January 2004 and Barcelona Girona in February 2004.

Rome Ciampino will have 4 737's based there serving 8 routes: London Stansted, Stockholm Stavsta, Brussels Charleroi, Paris Beavais, Frankfurt Hahn, Karlsruhe Baden, Klagenfurt (Austria), & Barcelona Girona.

Barcelona Girona, as (RYR)'s 11th European base, will have 5 737-800's serving 16 routes: (2/day) to London, Paris, Dublin, & Rome, and daily to Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Charleroi, Eindhoven, Frankfurt Hahn, Karlsruhe Baden, Venice, Milan, Algero, and Turin.

Sale & 7-year leaseback agreement with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Aviation Capital for 10 737-800's for delivery December 2003 - March 2004.

January 2004: Charleroi - Valladolid; Hahn - Tampere, and to Reus; London (STN) - Bari, Erfurt, Linz, & Jerez; Skavsta - Milan (Bergamo); Rome (CIA) - Skavsta; Hahn - Barcelona; Rome - Beauvais, Karlsruhe, Klagenfurt. Stockholm to Rome, & Milan (daily). Brussels - Valladolid. Next month, Girona - Alghero, Beauvais, Eindhoven, Karlsruhe, Klagenfurt; Girona - Alghero, Beauvais, Eindhoven, Karlsruhe, Liverpool, Turin, Venice; Rome (CIA) - Girona. Dublin - Gerona, Malaga (weekly).

Ryanair (RYR) regained its position as the largest Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) in Europe as in 2003 it carried 21.4 Million passengers compared with the 21.1 Million passengers carried by easyJet (EZY).

Currently has 69 737's.

February 2004: The European Commission (EC) ruled that certain financial benefits granted by the Walloon Region and Brussels South Charleroi Airport constituted illegal state aid and must be repaid.

(RYR) will remove seat pockets from its new 737's to reduce cleaning costs.

March 2004: In April 2004, Frankfurt Hahn to Jerez, London Stansted (STN) to Brindisi. Dublin to Reus (daily). Prestwick - Rome (CIA) (daily).

May 2004: Formally opened its 4,000 sq m maintenance base at Prestwick, which will employ up to 200 over the next 5 years. It was deveoped in partnership with the Scottish Executive and represents a 10 Million Pounds/$17.7 Million investment.

June 2004: Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 = +EUR 226.6 Million/+$283.79 Million (-5%) (+EUR 239.4 Million/+$291.22 Million): 85% LF load factor; 47.5 Million passengers (PAX) (+47%).

Will terminate its Buzz (BZZ) operations from Stansted by October 2004 and return 6 737-300's to lessors.

Aer Rianta, who operates Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports, will be split into three separate units under legislation proposed by the Irish government. The bill also includes a provision to protect pay & benefits for the state-owned entity's 2,800 employees. The move was welcomed by Ryanair (RYR), whose fiery (CEO), Michael O'Leary has been an outspoken critic of Aer Rianta for many years, stating "No one in Irish tourism should feel any regret at getting rid of the monopoly or the Board that has run it so badly for the last 10 years. They have been wildly profligate, wasting hundeds of millions of pounds on facilities that the airlines didn't want and customers don't use at Dublin and Cork airports. These people are responsible for third-rate, third-world airport facilities, ridiculous queues, and car parks that are miles away from the terminal buildings." He repeated his call for two new indepentently owned terminals at Dublin and pledged that were a low-cost terminal to be built there, (RYR) would base another new 10 airplanes in Dublin, and deliver an additional +5 Million passengers (PAX) annually to increase Irish tourism and employment.

July 2004: Last 12 months = 25.6 Million passengers (PAX); 82% LF load factor.

Counters easyJet (EZY) with $240 Million investment to expand its operations at London Luton with 4 new 737-800's (easyJet had just announced adding 3 airplanes and at least >3 more routes). Adds flights from Luton to Barcelona Girona, Barcelona Reus, Dinard, Esberg, Murcia, Nimes, Rome, Stockholm, & Venice. Currently operates 14 daily international flights from Luton to Dublin & Milan. In January 2005, Luton - Murcia, Rome (CIA), - Esbjerg, Girona, Nimes, Reus, Treviso, Vasteras. In October 2005, Luton - Dinard.

August 2004: In September 2004, London Stansted to Santander (daily), in October 2004, - Riga (daily); & December 2004, - Zaragoza. Also, in September 2004, Rome Ciampino to Santandar and Eindhoven. In October 2004, Frankfurt Hahn to Riga and Santandar, plus Tampere to Riga. In December 2004, London (STN) - Zaragosa (daily).

Remaining 737-200's will be retired by the end of 2005.

September 2004: London (STN)/Rome (CIA) - Santander. Glasgow Prestwick to Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Pisa, and Murcia, bringing its total number of destinations from Glasgow to 17, including 15 international. Three of the new routes are being supported through the Scottish Executive's Route Development Fund, which is administered on its behalf by Scottish Enterprise. Expects to carry >400,000 passengers to/from Scotland on the new routes in their 1st year of service. In October 2004, Hahn - Santander. In November, Prestwick - Niederrhein. In December, London (STN) - Zaragoza.

Will double the size of its base at Rome Ciampino to 4 based 737 airplanes and launch 5 new European routes in early 2005 (all daily in January 2005 to Dusseldorf Nederrhein, Liverpool, & Teesside, and in February 2005 to Valencia, & Nottingham East Midlands) for total 17 out of Ciampino.

Will base a 4th 737 at Stockholm Skavsta and launch new routes to Dusseldorf Niederrhein, Barcelona Girona, and Riga.

Orders (APS) digEplayer 5500 portable units that feature video on demand as well as TV shows, cartoons, videos, and music choices. Will do test in November 2004, and if successful, will equip its entire 737-800 fleet over the winter and complete installation by March 2005. Will charge 5 to 7 pounds/$9 to $13/flight for units.

October 2004: Has sold its entire remaining 20 737-200's fleet and spare engines to Autodirect Aviation for $10 Million. 6 have already been retired and the remaining 14 will be retired between November 2004 and December 2005, after they will be delivered to Autodirect.

Last 12 months = 25.8 Million passengers (PAX).

London Luton to Dinard. Milan (BGY) - Valencia. In February 2005, Milan (BGY) - Eindhoven, Liverpool, Newcastle, Seville, Torp, & Zatagoza. In March, Hahn - Klagenfurt. In September, adds Kaunas with flights to 7 destinations, including Hahn, London, & Rome.

2 737-8AS's (33806, EI-DCL; 33807, EI-DCM), deliveries to launch new service from its base at London Luton. Is upgrading Luton to a real base with 4 based airplanes and flights to 11 international destinations throughout Europe.

November 2004: London (STN) - Valencia. Is expanding its base at Milan's Bergamo/Orio al Serio from 3 to 5 737-800's. Girona - Niederrhein. In January, Rome (CIA) - Liverpool, Niederrhein, Teeside. London (STN) - Almeria, Porto. London Gatwick -Knock. In February, Rome (CIA) - Nottingham East Midlands, Valencia. (STN) - Seville, Granada. In March, (STN) - Brno, Granada, Nimes, & Wroclow (daily), + London Gatwick (LGW) - Knock (daily).

Will spend $240 Million to establish its 12th European base at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport. Intends to base 4 737-800's at the airport and launch 9 routes from Liverpool to Barcelona Reus, Limoges, Pisa, Cork, Murcia, Shannon, Granada, Nimes, & Venice. Also, new routes from Barcelona to Blackpool and Pisa.

Tony Ryan, founder of (RYR) and a nonexecutive director, sold 5 Million shares in the company at EUR 5/$6 a share, nearly halving his previous stake of 1.4%.

Has sold all its remaining 737-200's to Autodirect Aviation LLC, including spare parts and engines.

December 2004: As a result of the collapse of Volare (VLR), (RYR) announced an expansion of its routes in Italy: In March, Paris Beauvais - Venice Treviso (2/day), bringing routes to & from Italy to 65. (RYR) flies on 8 of the 11 international routes previously operated by Volare (VLR).

Will invest $240 Million to open yet another European base, this time at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Will allocate up to 4 737-800's and add 8 new destinations, bringing its network out of Shannon to 6 scheduled routes to the UK (including London Luton, London Gatwick, & Nottingham East Midlands) & 8 to continental Europe (including Barcelona Girona, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Milan, Reus, Skavsta, & Stockholm).

January 2005: In next few months, 6 new routes from Dublin to European cities to throw the carrier in direct competition with state-owned Aer Lingus (ARL). In April, Dublin to Biarritz, Carcassonne, Rome, Eindhoven, Doncaster (Sheffield), and Frankfurt-Hahn. The new services will create +500 jobs at Dublin Airport. Michael Cawley, (COO_ called on Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern to make good on his election promise of building a 2nd terminal at the airport, saying "A competing 2nd terminal would bring 5 million passengers/year and create 5,000 jobs."

February 2005: $4 Billion, 70/70 orders (February 2008) 737-800 (CFM56-7B), including winglets. Brings totals to 225/193 orders, and has taken delivery of approximately 100 of original firm order of 155. Will create +2,500 new jobs, including flight crew (FC), cabin attendants (CA), and maintenance technicians (MT). Half will be generated at (RYR)'s existing 12 European bases with the remainder at the 10 or more new bases that will be developed over the next 7 years.

(RYR)'s plan is to expand agressively in Europe, partucularly in Spain and Italy, so as to achieve its goal of becoming Europe's largest airline within 7 years.

March 2005: Reports that it has received >200,000 bookings in just 3 months for its new Shannon routes. It expects to carry >1.5 Million passengers in its 1st year of operations from this new base starting in May 2005.

April 2005: Invests in plans for new base at Lubeck Airport, 41 miles northeast of Hamburg near the Baltic coast, with 4 737's and projecting 2 Million passengers/year.

Ends trial of passengers digEplayer portable in-flight entertainment units after 5 months due to insufficient interest among customers.

May 2005: Last year = 28.1 Million passengers, 84% LF (load factor).

Implemented a 3% pay raise for its staff.

In October 2005, London Stansted to Polish destinations Gdansk, Bydgoszcz, Szczecin, & Rzeszow (all daily), and London Stansted to Bratislava, Slovakia (2/day).

June 2005: 20th year anniversary!

Fiscal Year 2004 ending March 2005 = +EUR 268.9 Million/+$330.9 Million (+19%) (+EUR 226.6 Million): +16% (ASK) (capacity); 27.6 Million passengers (+19%); 84% load factor (LF) (+3); +52% fuel costs.

2,288 employees.

In September 2005, London Stansted (STN) to Grenoble, Kaunas, Lodz; & Poznan. Doubles its flights on existing routes (STN) to Derry, Seville, Grenada, Riga, & Tampere (2/day).

Firmed options for 5 orders (February 2007) 737-800's with blended winglets.

July 2005: In October 2005, Shannon to Bristol and Nantes. Fot its winter schedule, it plans to launch 8 new European routes from the UK, bringing its total network to 246 routes. Included in the expanded service are new daily flights from London Stansted to Toulon & Krakow, new routes from its Liverpool base (where it will base 5 737's) to Oslo, Riga, Carcasonne, & Bergerac, new routes from Newcastle to Oslo, and from Glasgow Prestwick to Krakow. Will base 2 737-800's at Pisa for new routes to Dublin (daily), and in January 2006, to Eidhoven, and Alghero (daily). Pisa will be its 14th European base and brings total number of routes from Pisa to 10.

Last 12 months = 29.6 Million passengers, average 84% LF load factor.

August 2005: 2,604 employees (+13.1%).

September 2005: Ryanair (RYR) carried 3.26 million passengers in August, up +27% on the year-ago period. Load factor fell -1 point to 91% LF. (RYR) noted that for the first month in its history, it carried more passengers on its European network than British Airways (BAB) did on its worldwide network, although this likely was owing to disruption of (BAB) operations at London Heathrow last month. For the rolling 12 months ended August 31, (RYR)'s earned seats amounted to 30.97 million and load factor averaged 84% LF.

(RYR) will establish its 15th European base at Nottingham East Midlands with a pair of 737-800s. Ten routes will be opened from March 7, adding to five already being operated at the airport. New destinations are Berlin, Derry, Nimes, Carcassonne, Nantes, Dinard, Limoges, Lodz, Wroclaw, and Bergerac. (RYR) already serves Dublin, Shannon, Murcia, Barcelona and Rome. The news follows the announcements earlier this week that it will base a 737 at Cork but has postponed plans to launch a base at Hamburg Lubeck following the ruling of the Higher Administrative Court of Schleswig-Holstein against planning approval to extend the Lubeck runway, expand the main taxiway and upgrade the Instrument Landing System (ILS). "Although Hamburg Lubeck will not benefit at this time from increased passenger numbers that would have supported up to +2,000 new jobs in the region, (RYR) will maintain its existing operation at the airport," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said. He added that (RYR) will continue to support its partners, the City of Lubeck and Infratil, in their efforts to resolve the planning problem so that "we can proceed with the launch of a (RYR) base as soon as it is practical in the future."

(RYR) will launch a 3x-weekly from Nantes to Nottingham East Midlands Mar 7 and a daily from Nantes - London Stansted January 11. It will begin a 3x-weekly to Shannon, November 1.

October 2005: Ryanair (RYR) exercised options to buy nine further 737-800s for delivery in 2007 and confirmed the planned sale later that year of five of its older 737-800s, which it purchased in 1999. "This is a continuation of (RYR)'s strategy of operating the youngest fleet in Europe, with the lowest unit operating costs and best technical reliability, thereby ensuring that (RYR) remains the number one ontime major airline in Europe," (CEO) Michael O'Leary said.

(RYR) currently operates a fleet of 83 737-800s and nine 737-200s. The latest transactions combined with existing firm commitments will increase its fleet by 151 to 234 by 2012. It has options on a further 179 airplanes for delivery between 2008 and 2014.

O'Leary also said the current profit outlook continues to be in line with expectations as higher fuel prices over the summer months were partly offset by cost reductions and a slightly more benign yield environment. Looking forward to the winter, he expects yields to benefit from the multiple fuel surcharges imposed by "high-fare carriers" across Europe. "However, we anticipate that the fare differential between (RYR) and the flag carriers will be partially eroded as the fuel surchargers [flag carriers] are forced to lower their underlying fares to compete with (RYR)'s lower prices," he told investors. He said the company remains "cautious but comfortable" with its previous guidance for the remainder of this fiscal year as it anticipates strong load factors and passenger volumes but, as expected, at slightly lower yields.

(RYR) said earned seats flown in September amounted to 3.03 million, up 27% from 2.4 million a year ago. Load factor remained steady at 87% LF. For the rolling 12 months ended September 30, earned seats flown were 31.62 million and load factor averaged 84%.

(RYR) lost a key battle in its campaign to remain nonunion after the Irish High Court ruled that the Labor Court should be permitted to hear complaints by pilots (FC) about the airline under the Industrial Relations Act. The Air Line Pilots Association in Washington called the ruling "a major step forward in the pilots (FC)'s long legal battle with their management, which refuses to negotiate with trade unions." (RYR) said it will appeal to the Irish Supreme Court.

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport reported that the number of passengers rose +11% to 2,322,687 in the first nine months of 2005 compared to the same period last year. Airfreight grew +58% in the period to 71,249 tonnes.

European low-cost seat capacity rose by +29% (ASK) in 2004, accounting for 22% of intra-European capacity - - up from 11% in 2002 - - and "in excess of +30% (ASK) of all passengers traveling on intra-European routes," according to Route Development Company's recently released Low-Cost Monitor 2005. Traditional carriers, meanwhile, "remained almost static in 2003 and increased seat capacity by only +2% (ASK) in 2004, according to the study, which was supplied by the UK-based company. It reveals that 35 airports within Europe rely on Low Cost Carrier (LCC)s for more than >95% of annual departures offered and that 233 airports have some level of low-cost presence. London Stansted remains the largest low-cost hub in Europe, offering 12 million departing (LCC) seats in 2004. (RYR) and easyJet (EZY) dominate the market segment, with nearly 50% of low-cost seats on offer. But the rest of the sector is highly fragmented: 33 carriers tracked by the Monitor provide the remaining 50%, with No 3 Air Berlin (BER) having just 7.4%. The report notes that (RYR) and easyJet (EZY) "now offer more intra-European seats than a number of European majors including (KLM), Swiss (CSR) and Alitalia (ALI), and of those larger network airlines, only Lufthansa (DLH) offered growth in capacity in both 2003 and 2004." The UK and Germany dominate in terms of low-cost capacity available, accounting for "just under the half of the total." (LCC)s operated in 472 international city-pair markets touching Germany and 96 domestic German markets. For the UK, the numbers were 464 and 90 respectively. Spain was third, "but this predominantly is driven by the inbound capacity offered by non-Spanish carriers," according to the "Monitor."

(RYR) renewed its Europewide travel insurance deal with Mondial Assistance Group. Under the arrangement, (RYR) passengers from France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark can buy 28-day insurance cover for €14/$16.71. In the coming months, the product will be launched in Poland, Portugal and Finland owing to strong demand, according to (RYR) Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley.

(RYR) may stop adding capacity to Sweden because of a proposed SEK100 ($12.68) tax on tickets designed to encourage more environmentally friendly energy policies. (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said "Sweden will begin immediately to lose out," "Reuters" reported.

(RYR) exercised options for nine 737-800s valued at upward of $500 million with deliveries beginning in September 2007. Five airplanes will be for replacement of 737-800s delivered in 1989 and four are for growth.

November 2005: Ryanair (RYR) said it is bringing forward the launch of four of its 10 new routes from its recently announced 15th European base at Nottingham East Midlands due to record advance bookings. Service to Limoges, Bergerac, Wroclaw and Lodz will commence February 7 to 8 rather than March 14 to 15.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said that (RYR) hopes to trial an onboard gambling system within two years. O'Leary often has spoken of the need to boost ancillary revenues as (RYR) aims to give away at least half its seats within the next 4 to 5 years.

(RYR) announced new daily Dublin - Riga service starting January 9.

Denmark will abolish its €10/$11.78 passenger tax. The cut will cost the country approximately €70 million annually, but the government hopes to recoup that loss with more capacity and tourism, Jyllands-Posten reported. "It will create jobs in the service sector and it is a good thing for the regional development," Liberal Party spokesperson, Jens Rohde said. (RYR) and Sterling (STR) each have said recently that they were reluctant to add flights to Denmark because of the tax.

(RYR) is making good on its warning and reducing capacity at Newquay Airport following the decision by the Cornwall County Council to introduce a £5/$8.61 surcharge on passengers and visitors to the region. (RYR) will withdraw 12 flights per week. "It is regrettable that by taxing tourists, Cornwall will lose 100,000 (RYR) passengers annually," Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley commented.

(RYR) announced a $1 billion commitment to its operations at Frankfurt Hahn, which will become the carrier's second-largest base behind London Stansted by 2012 at which point (RYR) said it expects to have 18 airplanes operating more than >50 routes from Hahn carrying 8 million passengers annually and creating more than >8,000 jobs. It will then overtake Dublin to become (RYR)'s 2nd busiest base. (RYR) will have a maintenance facility at the airport and also plans to provide a €12.5 million/$14.6 million loan to cover half of the costs for a new passenger terminal.

"This is the single biggest investment in German aviation by a non-German company and will make Frankfurt Hahn one of the largest airports in Germany and Germany's fastest-growing airport," (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said.

(RYR) also extended its 2 million free seats sale until midnight November 14. Tickets are available for travel every day on each of its 267 routes.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said he will step down in 2008. (RYR)'s outspoken (CEO) told the "Irish Independent" it would be time to go, once the "outstanding issues" of a new terminal in Dublin and a new runway at London Stansted are resolved.

December 2005: Ryanair (RYR) will start 4 new routes from Shannon on Feb 22nd however the airline will also close 2 routes on the same date as follows:
Shannon - Hamburg = Service discontinued;
Shannon - Manchester = New service with 3x-weekly;
Shannon - Murcia = New service with 3x-weekly;
Shannon - Rime = New service with 3x-weekly;
Shannon - Stockholm = Service discontinued;
Shannon - Wroclaw = New service with 3x-weekly;
All flights will be operated with 737s.

(RYR) will inaugurate nonstop service from Dublin to Lodz (Poland) on April 4th. The Polish routes are (RYR)'s first from Ireland and (RYR) will operate 2x-weekly using a 737.

(RYR) announced a major expansion at Dublin (DUB) with the unveiling of 18 new routes and additional frequencies on eight existing routes. It will base five new 737-800s at (DUB) beginning in April and will launch service to Marseille, Nantes, La Rochelle, Baden, Hamburg, Krakow, Poznan, Wroclaw, Milan, Venice, Gothenburg, Malmo, Valencia, Porto, Salzburg, Bratislava, Kaunas and Humberside. (RYR) said its traffic at Dublin will increase from 5.5 to 7 million passengers annually and that it will create +250 jobs. (CEO), Michael O'Leary called it "the largest ever single investment in Irish tourism," saying the announcement refuted "any claims Aer Lingus (ARL) might have had to being Ireland's national airline."

New destinations from Dublin:
AUSTRIA - Salzburg;
FRANCE - Marseille, Nantes and La Rochelle;
GERMANY - Baden (Stuttgart) and Hamburg;
ITALY - Milan and Venice;
POLAND - Krakow, Poznan, and Wroclaw;
SLOVAKIA - Bratislava;
SPAIN - Valencia;
SWEDEN - Gothenburg, and Malmo;
UK - Humberside.

Increased frequency from Dublin:
Hahn (Frankfurt) increases to 2x-daily;
Barcelona increases to daily;
Faro increases to daily;
Malaga increases to 8x-weekly;
Carcassonne increases to 5x-weekly;
Biarritz increases to 4x-weekly;
Lodz increases to 3x-weekly.

(RYR) will commence service from Liverpool to Porto and Seville from February 22 and from Glasgow to Reus near Barcelona and Marseille from February 23 and February 24, respectively. (RYR) is also starting service from Liverpool to Bergerac, Carcassonne and Derry on February 9th. A Dublin - Kaunas service will begin April 6.

(RYR) will launch five new routes from the UK including its first service to Hungary. Between February 17 and March 31, (RYR) will start daily service from London Stansted to Balaton, 3x-weekly flights to Lamezia and Vitoria and 4x-weekly service to Parma. From London Luton, it will launch a 3x-weekly service to Brest.

(RYR) signed an agreement committing it to help develop Brussels Charleroi Airport (CRL) through 2016. It will base a fourth airplane there and launch service to Faro, Nimes, Malaga, Salzburg and Valencia from April, bringing the total number of routes it operates from Charleroi to 16. The five new routes will deliver another 250,000 passengers per year and increase (RYR)'s annual traffic at (CRL) to 2.3 million. The airport recently announced plans to open a new terminal in 2007 able to handle 5 million passengers annually. (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary denied recent "ill-informed" speculation surrounding the current investigation into alleged illegitimate funding of Promocy, an agency set up to promote the development of traffic at (CRL). He noted that the European Commission (EC) raised no concerns over the funding of Promocy during its two-year investigation into illegal state aid from the Walloon region to (RYR).

(RYR) will inaugurate 5 new routes from its Brussels Charleroi hub in April as follows:
Charleroi - Faro = 3x-weekly (Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays);
Charleroi - Malaga = 3x-weekly (Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays);
Charleroi - Nimes = 4x-weekly (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays);
Charleroi - Salzburg = 4x-weekly (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays);
Charleroi - Valencia = 4x-weekly (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays);
Each of these routes will be served with a 737.

(RYR) reported 2.75 million earned passenger seats flown in November, up +25% from 2.19 million in the year-ago month. Load factor slipped -1 point to 82% LF. For the rolling 12 months ended November 30, earned passenger seats flown totaled 32.73 million and load factor averaged 84% LF.

The European Parliament announced regulations last week requiring European Union (EU) airports to provide greater assistance to disabled travelers, including free wheelchairs at departure and arrival points and assistance with moving between parking lots and check-in facilities. An Airports Council International spokesperson told "Reuters" that airlines will have to cover much of the cost associated with the new directives and that fees will be in proportion to the amount of traffic an individual carrier contributes to a given airport. The new policy will be implemented over the next two years.

(RYR) pared its schedule for the first quarter of 2006 because of a one-month delay in the delivery of four 737-800s. The airplanes, delayed owing to last fall's strike by assembly line workers at Boeing (TBC), will arrive in April to replace 737-200s scheduled to be removed from service this month. The older airplanes already have been sold, (RYR) said. The schedule cuts will reduce monthly traffic by -200 departures and an estimated -100,000 passengers during January, February and March. Nottingham East Midlands and Pisa, each of which were to base one of the new 737-800s, will be the hardest hit. Nottingham will delay its expanded service, originally scheduled to commence March 7, to April 5. Pisa will launch its new airplanes April 4 rather than January 12. (RYR) said the changes will not affect its profit projections for the fiscal year ending March 31.

January 2006: 2005 = 31.21 Billion (RPK) passenger traffic (+38.4%); +35.7% (ASK) capacity, 85% LF load factor (+1); 33.4 million passengers (+25.6%). (World #2 Low Cost Carrier (LCC)).

(RYR) said it will begin charging for checked baggage but that a -9% across-the-board fare reduction will offset the new fee for many customers who avail themselves of the ability to check in for their flights online. Although (RYR) long has talked about charging passengers to check luggage, FlyBE (BEE) beat it to the punch last month.

(RYR) claimed that as more passengers use Web check-in, its airport costs will be lowered significantly. The practice also will minimize passenger waits and motivate customers to travel lighter. The carrier said the "revenue neutral" measures will "revolutionize European air travel."

Beginning March 16, (RYR) will reduce all fares but will charge the same amount for each piece of checked luggage booked in advance on its website. Each unbooked bag presented at the airport will be charged €7 and luggage allowance will increase from 25 kg to 30 kg (20 kg checked and 10 kg carry-on). Around 25% of the airline's passengers do not check luggage and 50% check only one bag.

February 2006: Swissport and Ryanair (RYR) announced a six-year agreement under which Swissport will handle more than >54,000 flights per year at London Stansted, including those presently handled by Stansted Ground Operations (SGO). Under the new agreement, Swissport will provide full passenger, ramp and ticketing services for all operations.

Meantime, (RYR) opened its 15th base at Nottingham East Midlands (EMA), launching flights to Lodz, Wroclaw, Bergerac and Limoges, taking the total number of destinations served to 9 with a further 6 to be added in April. (RYR) said it expects to serve 1.2 million passengers at the airport over the next year. (RYR) will inaugurate nonstop service from Pisa to Bournemouth on June 8th and will operate 3 flights a week, on Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays with a 737-800.

March 2006: Ryanair (RYR) will add a new 3x-weekly Pisa - Bournemouth service to its network on June 8 using 737-800s. (RYR) is reducing its Cork - Liverpool service from 7x-weekly to four following recent cost increases at Cork Airport, which according to (RYR) will raise its costs there by more than >€30,000/$35,849 per year. Among the fee increases is a +300% hike in rental rates for check-in and ticket desks, (RYR) said. It will start a new 3x-weekly Kerry - Liverpool service "as a much cheaper alternative to Cork."

(RYR) will launch services from its Pisa base to Doncaster, Friedrichshafen, Karlsruhe Baden, Oslo, Trapani and Valencia in mid-September, bringing the number of destinations served from Pisa to 17. Flights to Valencia and Trapani will operate daily, routes to Doncaster and Karlsruhe Baden will operate 4x-weekly and flights to Oslo and Friedrichshafen will operate 3x-weekly. (RYR) said it expects to carry 1.4 million passengers annually through Pisa. It also announced the launch of new routes from its Shannon base to Biarritz, Carcassonne, Faro, Krakow and Venice, as well as increased frequencies to Barcelona, Malaga and Milan. The new routes will start October 12 and bring the number of destinations (RYR) serves from Shannon to 24. From September, it will base a fourth 737-800 there.

(RYR) took delivery of its 100th 737-800. It now has an all 737-800 fleet with an average age of two years. It said its $7.5 billion program to replace its 737-200s with 737-800s has resulted in a -50% reduction in CO2 emissions per seat, a -45% reduction in fuel burn per seat and a -45% reduction in noise emissions. Over the next six years, it will take delivery of an additional 139 737-800s, bringing the total fleet to 239 airplanes.

April 2006: Ryanair (RYR) announced it will base two additional 737-800s at its Liverpool John Lennon base and launch 11 new routes in October, bringing the total number of destinations served to 32 and the number of airplanes to eight. It said the service increases will bring 600,000 passengers and +600 jobs to the airport.

(RYR) will base its 6th and 7th 737-800 at Liverpool from October to make these new routes possible.

(RYR) will launch nine new routes from its Frankfurt-Hahn (HHN) base on October 25 and 26, bringing the destinations it serves from (HHN) to 36. New routes include (RYR)'s first services outside the (EU), to Fez (thrice-weekly, Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays) and Marrakech (four-times-weekly, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Sundays). EasyJet (EZY) will become the first European no-frills carrier to fly beyond the (EU) when it launches service to Istanbul and Marrakech this summer. Other new (RYR) routes are to Granada (3x-weekly, Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays), Kaunus (4x-weekly, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Sundays), Krakow (daily), Murcia (daily), Trieste (3x-weekly, Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays), Verona (daily) and Wroclaw (daily). In addition, (RYR) will increase frequency on its service to London Stansted from four to 6x-daily and to Oslo Sandefjord from one to 2x-daily. It said the expansion will increase passenger numbers at Hahn by more 1 million to 4.3 million in 2007. (RYR) will base two additional 737-800s at the airport as part of its $1 billion multiyear expansion, bringing the number of airplanes there to nine.

(RYR) said it will end its Dublin - Cardiff service on May 1, because Cardiff International Airport (CWL) is increasing passenger charges +350%. It will transfer its Cardiff-bound flights to Bristol and offer bus services between Cardiff and Bristol to May 10.

(RYR) asked the Polish government to abolish centralized airport tariffs, which the airline said inhibit regional airport growth, and to open a second Warsaw airport at the old military base in Modlin, which would allow (RYR) to increase its Polish traffic from 1.6 million passengers per year to 10 million and add +10,000 jobs within five years.

Construction of a second main runway at Dublin Airport was approved by the Fingal County Council Planning Department. Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) welcomed the decision, calling the runway "a vital component of the overall future development plans to enable the airport to handle in excess of 30 million passengers per annum." The new runway will have a paved length of 3,110 m and will be built 1.6 km to the north and parallel to the present main runway, 10/28, which has a length of 2,637 m. It will replace an existing runway, 11/29, that is the shortest and is used for category AB airplanes or light propeller airplanes. The new landing strip will be designated 10L/28R while its older sibling is re-designated 10R/28L. Dublin's third runway, 16/34, is a crosswind strip and measures 2,072 m in length.

May 2006: Ryanair (RYR) is a major European low-fare carrier operating between Ireland, the UK and continental Europe.

(IATA) Code: FR. (ICAO) Code: RYR - RYANAIR.

Parent organization/shareholders: Balance of shareholders (40%); Fidelity Estimates (12%); Ryan Fidelity (9.5%); Putnam Investments (9.1%); Guilder Gagnon Howe & Co (8.9%); Janus (7.4%); Capital Group Companies (6.9%); & Michael O'Leary (5.4%).

Main Base: Dublin International airport (DUB).

Hubs: Glasgow Prestwick International airport (PIK); Brussels South Charleroi airport (CRL); Hahn airport (HHN); Stockholm Skavsta airport (NYO); London Stansted airport (STN); Bergamo Orio Al Serio airport (BGY); Rome Ciampino airport (CIA); Gerona airport (GRO); London Luton airport (LTN); & Shannon International airport (SNN).

Domestic, scheduled destinations: Cork; Dublin; Kerry County; Knock; & Shannon.

International, scheduled destinations: Aarhus; Aberdeen; Alghero; Almeria; Ancona; Bari; Bergerac; Berlin; Biarritz; Birmingham; Blackpool; Bournemouth; Bratislava; Brest; Brindisi; Bristol; Brno; Brussels; Bydgoszcz; Carcasonne; Cardiff; Dinard; Doncaster; Durham Tees Valley; Dusseldorf; Edinburgh; Eindhoven; Esbjerg; Faro; Forli; Frankfurt; Friedrichshafen; Gdansk; Genoa; Gerona; Glasgow; Gothenburg; Granada; Graz; Hamburg; Haugesund; Jerez de la Frontera; Karlsruhe/Baden Baden; Kaunas; Krakow; La Rochelle; Lamezia-Terme; Leeds Bradford; Limoges; Linz; Liverpool; Lodz; London; Londonderry; Lyons; Malaga; Malmo; Manchester; Marseilles; Milan; Montpellier; Murcia; Nantes; Newcastle; Newquay; Nimes; Nottingham; Oslo; Palermo; Paris; Pau; Perpignan; Pescara; Pisa; Potiers; Porto; Poznan; Reus; Riga; Rodez; Rome; Rzeszow; Salzburg; Santander; Santiago De Compostela; Sevilla; St Etienne; Stockholm; Szczecin; Tampere; Toulon; Tours; Trieste; Turin; Valencia; Valladolid; Venice; Verona; Vitoria; Wroclaw; & Zaragoza.

(RYR) will inaugurate nonstop service from Dublin to Berlin on June 1st and will operate a daily flight using a 737. (RYR) will open its 16th European base at Marseille Provence (MRS), where it will base two new 737s. (RYR) said it expects to deliver 1 million passengers per year to (MRS), which since 2000, has experienced a -10.8% decline in passenger throughput to 5.8 million. It will serve Brussels Charleroi, Dublin, Eindhoven, Fez, Frankfurt Hahn, Glasgow Prestwick, Karlsruhe Baden, London Stansted, Marrakech, Oujda, Sandefjord, Porto and Rome Ciampino.

(CAE) won contracts for flight simulators from Cathay Pacific (CAT), and (RYR), valued at a combined C$48 million/$43 million. (RYR) exercised an option for a 737-800 Full Flight Simulator (FFS).

June 2006: Ryanair (RYR) called its growth "inexorable" as it reported a record +€302 million/+$390.9 million after-tax profit for the financial year ended March 31, a figure approximately +€7 million above forecast and +12% higher than the +€268 million earned in the previous fiscal year. "Shortly we will become the 'world's favorite' airline, as we expect to overtake Lufthansa (DLH)'s international passenger traffic later this year."

(RYR) credited its refusal to levy fuel surcharges for "driving millions of passengers" to its flights. "We will continue to absorb significantly higher oil prices, thanks to the benign yield environment and continuing cost reductions," (RYR) said.

Texas Pacific Group (TPG) Founding Partner, David Bonderman warned of the "deeply cyclical" nature of the airline business. "Although disguised by high fuel prices, this is about as good as it gets," he said, predicting that in two years time "we will see everybody cancel orders for over 1,000 new airplanes." Ironically, Bonderman also is Chairman of (RYR), which has outstanding firm orders for 143 737-800s and 193 options.

Air France (AFA) and (RYR) are at odds again, with (AFA) initiating legal action to prevent (RYR) from benefiting from lower charges at Marseille-Provence, and (RYR) filing another complaint to the European Commission (EC) concerning "(AFA)'s latest attempt to block competition from low fares airlines in France."

The UK still is the largest low-cost market, with 32% of its flights operated by (LCC)s. This compares with a 21% share in Poland and Spain. Finland, Poland, Denmark and Latvia have seen the low-cost market share jump by more than +5% but others, including Hungary, Slovenia and Greece, have lost market share. A +2% increase per year is the average, which is the same rate of market share growth seen in previous years.

The Eurocontrol analysis also shows that there is no apparent shifting of low-cost flights from larger airports to smaller ones. London Stansted remains the airport with the largest number of budget flights, followed by Gatwick, Dublin, Luton and Cologne/Bonn. Ten of the top 25 low-cost country-pair flows involve the UK and account for 42% of all low-cost flights.

Slovakia is the national market, where individual flows are most dominated by (LCC)s. However, the biggest markets remain dominated by traditional carriers: Out of the top 10 total country-pair flows in Europe, low-cost carriers have the highest share in only one, between Spain and the UK.

July 2006: Ryanair (RYR), easyJet (EZY) and other carriers comprising the Stansted Airlines Consultative Committee said the British Airport Authority (BAA)'s planned expansion of London Stansted (STN) is based on "wildly inflated" forecasts of future traffic levels and called on Ferrovial Group, the new (BAA) owner, to reject current proposals for upgrades.

(RYR) will cut its services to and from Sweden by more than half following proposals by the Swedish government to introduce a SEK94/$13.10 ticket tax on European flights and a SEK188 levy on long-haul flights beginning August 1. "The Swedish government is destroying low-fare travel for Swedes and for those people who want to visit this beautiful country by attempting to push up the average cost of (RYR)'s fares by over +30%," Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley said. "The introduction of this tax will make Swedish tourism uncompetitive when compared with cheaper alternatives in Spain, Italy and elsewhere in Europe."

(RYR) will cancel its 2x-daily, Vasteras - London Luton service, reduce its Malmo - Sturup - London Stansted service from 2x-daily to daily and reduce its Gothenburg City - Glasgow Prestwick service from 5x-weekly flights to three from October 28. Last year, (RYR) carried more than >2.4 million passengers to and from Sweden.

(RYR) unveiled its first Moroccan routes, part of a May agreement with the Moroccan government to fly up to 20 routes and nearly 1 million passengers per year to the North African country. On October 31, it will launch flights from London Luton (LTN) to Fez (3x-weekly) and Marrakech (4x-weekly). (LCC) rivals Air Berlin (BER) and easyJet (EZY) already serve Morocco. On the same day, (RYR) also will launch 3x-weekly service from Stansted to Pula and Deauville, 3x-weekly service from Shannon (SNN) to Bournemouth and Edinburgh, and +1 daily frequency from Dublin to Cork and London Gatwick (LGW). It will withdraw (LGW) - Knock and (LTN) - (SNN) flights.

Vistair launched SafetyNet, a Web-based air safety and incident reporting system for airline personnel. It was developed initially for (RYR) and since has been adopted by FlyBE (BEE).

(RYR) ordered an additional 10 winglet-equipped 737-800s with deliveries to take place in March 2008 (3), April 2008 (4) and June 2008 (3). The order is valued at $705 million at list prices. (RYR) operates 107 737-800s and will take an additional 142 of the type over the next six years. (RYR) will have a total fleet of 249 737-800s by 2012 and still holds options on 169 airplanes for delivery between 2008 and 2014.

August 2006: Ryanair (RYR), which will announce two new bases in the coming months, said it always expected "bumper results" for the first quarter, but is "cautious" about the rest of the fiscal year. It will add 27 airplanes during the winter compared to 15 for the same period last year, but warned it faces "substantial" capacity increases, higher fuel prices and "price dumping by loss-making competitors." "We remain on target to achieve our objective of becoming the world's largest international scheduled airline by passenger traffic," O'Leary said.

(RYR) will base three new airplanes at Dublin Airport (DUB) and launch 12 new routes, bringing to 63 the number of UK and European destinations it serves from (DUB) from December. The expansion completes "(RYR)'s displacement of Aer Lingus (ARL) as the national carrier of Ireland," (RYR) claimed, noting it carries five times more passengers across its network than (ARL) each year. According to the annual report of both companies, however, (ARL) carried 8 million passengers in 2005 and (RYR) 33.4 million, bringing the ratio closer to four times.

All new routes will be served on a year-round basis. "In 2007, (RYR) will deliver 9 million passengers through Dublin airport, sustaining 9,000 jobs in Dublin and generating a tourist spend of €2.5 billion/$3.21 billion," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said.

(RYR) will launch six new winter routes from the UK: Nottingham East Midlands to Grenoble (from December 20) and Salzburg (December 18), London Stansted to Klagenfurt (December 19), Glasgow Prestwick to Grenoble (December 18) and Liverpool to Grenoble and Salzburg (both December 19). It also will start a new Dublin - Turin route on December 20.

(RYR) concluded a deal with OnAir to outfit its fleet of more than >200 737s with OnAir's onboard mobile communications solution. Subject to regulatory approval, (RYR) passengers will be able to call and send and receive text and e-mail messages, using their mobile phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)s. (RYR) will receive a commission from OnAir on revenues generated by passengers.
"This is a win-win for (RYR), OnAir and most importantly our customers. The revenues generated by onboard mobile telephony will reduce our costs, and help us to keep offering the lowest fares in Europe, while at the same time, doubling the size of our operation over the next five years as we grow to carry 80 million passengers annually by 2012," (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said.

OnAir intends to fit 50 (RYR) airplanes during the second half of 2007, with the remainder receiving installations from early 2008. Mobile OnAir will be offered on flights across (RYR)'s network of more than >360 routes serving 23 countries. "We are delighted that (RYR) is to become the first carrier to install Mobile OnAir throughout its fleet," OnAir (CEO), George Cooper commented, adding that the deal is "also a strong endorsement of the all-round capability of our solution for both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) airplanes."

The onboard equipment will connect to the ground network using Inmarsat's forthcoming SwiftBroadband service, of which OnAir is a distribution partner. The ground network will be supplied by OnAir's telecom infrastructure partner Monaco Telecom.

September 2006: Ryanair (RYR) will launch service from Dublin to Malta, Stockholm Skavtsa and the Canary Islands in February as well as double frequencies to Berlin Schoenefeld, Rome Ciampino, Malaga and Faro. (RYR) said its new Malta International Airport service will comprise flights from London Luton (daily from October 31), Pisa (3x-weekly from October 31) and Dublin (3x-weekly from February 9, 2007). It said it expects to carry more than 200,000 passengers on the three routes in the first year. It also announced the launch of new service from Pisa to Seville (3x-weekly from October 31) and Billund (4x-weekly from November 1), from London Stansted to Perugia (3x-weekly from December 20) and from Billund to Frankfurt Hahn (3x-weekly from November 7).

(RYR) announced the establishment of what will be its 17th base with the placement of two 737-800s in the German city of Bremen from April 2007 with a third 737-800 to be added the following September. (RYR) is purchasing a $10 million terminal facility at the airport, where it plans to create +150 jobs, operate nine routes and carry as many as 1 million passengers annually by 2009. Destinations to be served from Bremen include London (2x-daily), Oslo Torp (daily), 4x-weekly service to Barcelona, Murcia, Tampere and Venice and 3x-weekly flights to Pisa, Riga and Verona.

(RYR) will inaugurate nonstop service from Glasgow Prestwick to Derry on December 5th and will operate 5x-weekly, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays, using a 737-800.

(RYR) is offering to build a €250 million/$319.5 million "low-cost, efficient" new terminal at Dublin Airport, operated by itself or an independent operator, and is calling on the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to "scrap" its proposal to build a €760 million terminal that would increase passenger ticket taxes by as much as +25%.

(RYR) confirmed that it intends to submit complaints to both the Irish Competition Authority and the European Commission (EC) that accuse (DAA) of abusing its monopoly position at Dublin and promised to oppose "any attempt by the (DAA) to seek an unnecessary and unjustified" increase in passenger charges.

"When there is an alternative [terminal] proposal which can be built at no cost to the (DAA), and can be built with no increase in passenger taxes at Dublin Airport, (RYR) calls on the government to ensure that this is the facility that is developed . . . and to scrap the €760 million Taj Mahal proposed by the (DAA)," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said. He reiterated (RYR)'s offer to build "Terminal 2" in place of the one (DAA) wants to build. (RYR) argues that the proposed Terminal 2 is badly designed, in the wrong location and five times more expensive than similar facilities in the UK and Europe. "The (DAA)'s proposed T2 location in a cul de sac on the south side of the airport is the worst possible location in the context of the proposed second runway at Dublin Airport," the airline said. "This will cause severe congestion and delays to airplanes and long taxi times between the two terminals and the two runways." It added that the design is "nonsensical" because it calls for a "five-story building when only two levels are necessary."

(RYR) signed an exclusive five-year deal with InviseoMedia to install custom-made seatback tray tables with room for advertisements across its entire current and future fleet of 239 737-800s. "This product is great news for passengers who can expect even lower fares as advertisers all over Europe contribute to lowering the cost of flights in exchange for being able to promote their products on (RYR)'s seatbacks," Head of Communications, Peter Sherrard commented.

(RYR) said it will add four new 737-800s to its base at Girona Barcelona (GRO) and launch 17 routes from March, bringing to 40 the number of routes it operates from the airport, which is located some 103 km/64 miles northeast of Barcelona. (RYR) said the expansion represents a $280 million investment. New routes from (GRO) include 3x-weekly service to Altenburg, Brescia, Fuerteventura, Gothenburg, Marrakech, Pescara, Teesside and Trapani; 4x-weekly flights to Aarhus Bologna, Bristol, Faro, Malmo, Newcastle, Oslo and Tenerife, and a daily to Porto. It will add a third daily flight on its routes to Paris Beauvais, Milan Orio al Serio and Rome Ciampino. "(RYR)'s Barcelona base has performed very strongly this summer and has firmly established itself as an important driver of both tourism and business in the region," Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley said.

(RYR) placed an order for an additional 32 737-800s. These airplanes will be delivered from September 2008 through June 2009 and take the total number of 737-800s the airline placed on firm orders to 281.

October 2006: Aer Lingus (ARL)'s life as a publicly traded company got off to a surprisingly rocky start with archrival (RYR) announcing the launch of a hostile €1.48 billion/$1.88 billion bid for the Irish flag carrier.

(ARL) Chairman, John Sharman said (RYR)'s board rejected (RYR)'s bid and was quoted as saying that the offer was "unsolicited, wholly opportunistic and significantly undervalues the group's businesses and attractive long-term growth potential."

The Irish Minister of Transport, Martin Cullen formally came out in opposition to (RYR)'s proposed takeover of (ARL), a day after (RYR) launched an unsolicited bid priced at €2.80 per share, valuing the newly privatized flag carrier at €1.48 billion/$1.88 billion.

(RYR) will launch 10 new routes from its Nottingham East Midlands (NEMA) base to Alghero, Bratislava, Granada, Inverness, Knock, Krakow, Milan, Pisa, Santiago and Valencia from February, bringing its total routes from the airport to 27. It will base three additional 737-800s at (NEMA) and expects to carry 1.8 million passengers there in 2007.

(RYR) will base three new 737-800s at Madrid Barajas and open 14 routes from the airport beginning November 22, making it its second Spanish and 18th European base. (RYR) will fly daily to Dublin, Eindhoven, Faro, Porto, Marseille and Paris Beauvais. It will fly 3x-weekly to Bournemouth, Gothenburg, Malmo and Shannon and 4x-weekly to Billund, Brussels Charleroi, Nottingham East Midlands and Oslo Sandefjord. Approximately 1 million passengers will travel each year on the new routes, (RYR) said.

(RYR) will launch service from Dublin to Warsaw (and will operate a daily service using a 737-800) and Stockholm Vasteras (and will operate 6x-weekly, daily except Saturdays, using a 737-800) on February 12th, bringing to 20 the number of new European routes, it will commence from its home base in 2007, and to 71 the number of destinations it will operate from the airport. The new routes prove that there "is ample room at Dublin airport to grow [and that] there will be increased competition between (RYR) and (ARL) regardless of whether the current bid succeeds or not," it noted.

(RYR) also will start a new route from London Stansted to Vasteras on March 25. It claimed the service is a "direct result" of the incoming Swedish government's decision to abolish the environmental flight tax proposed by its predecessors, "which would have done nothing whatsoever for the environment and severely damaged the country's tourism industry."

(RYR) will operate a 2x-weekly Shannon (SNN) - Lodz service beginning December 4. It is (RYR)'s third Polish destination from (SNN).

It further announced it will extend priority boarding at departure gates to all passengers from November 1. At present, only passengers traveling with hand luggage are able to book this option.

Although (RYR) and other low-cost carriers (LCC)s generate large amounts of revenue from "nonticket sources," legacy airlines derive significantly more by selling frequent-flier miles to partners, typically via co-branded credit cards, says a recent study by IdeaWorks Co (ideaworkscompany.com).

According to the report, Europe's top four (LCC)s raised €470 million/$589.1 million in ancillary revenues last year, by charging for things such as seat assignments, checked baggage, credit card usage, onboard snacks and beverages, aswell as other items. IdeaWorks estimated that (RYR)'s "aggressive use of a la carte pricing" generated ancillary revenues of €7.76 per passenger in 2005, placing it well ahead of (ARL) (€5.99), SkyEurope Airlines (SKP) (€4.38), easyJet (EZY) (€4.37), and Air Berlin (BER) (€2.51).

(RYR) purchased 10 737-800 full flight (FFS) simulators from (CAE) in a deal worth more than >$80 million.

November 2006: (RYR launched +42 new routes and three new bases during the semester.

(RYR) Holdings PLC, Europe's fastest-growing airline, is launching a new online gambling Web site in a deal with a leading Internet gaming company, Jackpotjoy.com. (CEO), Michael O'Leary said he hoped the deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, would help (RYR) to boost non-ticket revenues to 20% from their current 15%.

The deal means visitors to (RYR)'s Web site are being offered the chance to make a credit-card deposit to play more than 80 online games, including several kinds of bingo, casino and card games. Next year, O'Leary said, (RYR) hopes to allow passengers to play Jackpotjoy games on their cell phones during flights (once the airline installs new telecommunications equipment on its planes that permits in-flight cell phone use).

In September, (RYR) announced a five-year contract with an advertising company, InviseoMedia, to install seatback ads on all of its airplanes in another initiative to generate income from passengers during flights.

(RYR) will inaugurate nonstop service from Nottingham East Midlands to Rimini on March 27th and will operate 3x-weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, using a 737-800.

December 2006: (RYR) announced closing city-pairs from Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) - Billund on January 9, Liverpool - Kerry; & Pisa - Friedrichshafen on January 16. (RYR) announced starting January 16th, Cork - Liverpool increased to 7x-weekly; & Pisa - Cagliari, 3x-weekly; starting February 8th, Dublin - Malta, 3x-weekly; starting February 9th, Dublin - Alghero, 2x-weekly; starting February 12th, Dublin - Stockholm Vasteras, 6x-weekly; Dublin - Warsaw, daily; East Midlands - Milan; Gerona - Teeside, 3x-weekly; starting February 13th, East Midlands - Pisa; starting February 19, East Midlands - Alghero; & - Valencia; starting February 20th, East Midlands - Granada; & - Krakow; starting February 26, East Midlands - Bratislava; & - Inverness; starting February 27th, East Midlands - Knock; & - Santiago; starting March 1st, Gerona - Altenburg, 3x-weekly; & Rome (CIA) - Madrid, daily; starting March 2nd, Gerona - Faro, 4x-weekly; Gerona - Porto, daily; & Milan - Valladolid, 4x-weekly; starting March 8th, Gerona - Fuerteventura, 3x-weekly; - Bologna, 4x-weekly; - Brescia, 3x-weekly; & - Tenerife, 4x-weekly; starting March 24th, Hahn - Shannon, cancelled; Newcastle - Oslo, cancelled; starting March 25th, Gerona - Aarhus, 4x-weekly; - Malmo, 4x-weekly; - Newcastle, 4x-weekly; & - Oslo, 4x-weekly; starting March 27, East Midlands - Rimini, 3x-weekly; Gerona - Cagliari, 3x-weekly; - Gothenburg, 3x-weekly; - Marrakech, 3x-weekly; - Pescara, 3x-weekly; & - Trapani, 3x-weekly; starting March 28th, Shannon - Edinburgh, increased to 4x-weekly; & - Manchester, increased to 4x-weekly; starting April 1st, Bremen - London (STN), 2x-daily; - Tampere, 4x-weekly; & - Torp, daily; starting April 3rd, Bremen - Malaga, 3x-weekly; - Pisa, 3x-weekly; - Riga, 3x-weekly; & - Verona, 3x-weekly; starting April 4th, Bremen - Gerona, 4x-weekly; - Murcia, 4x-weekly; & - Treviso, 4x-weekly; & starting April 16th, Charleroi - Salzburg, cancelled.

January 2007: Ryanair (RYR) said it filed a legal action in the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, against the government and a complaint to the European Commission (EC) challenging what (RYR) called "an unlawful labor decree" that forces foreign airlines to apply domestic labor laws when basing airplanes in France. (RYR) claims that the regulation, which came into force November 23, "is contrary to European laws on free movement of labor and services and the freedom of establishment and is also contrary to the liberalized air transport market."

Head of Regulatory Affairs & Company Secretary, Jim Callaghan said the rule is "clearly designed to discourage foreign airlines from establishing a base of operations in France in order to compete with the high fare monopoly by AirFrance (AFA)." (RYR) operates at 18 French airports, and last year opened its first French hub in Marseilles with routes to 14 destinations.

Last month, easyJet (EZY) lodged a similar suit, after French prosecutors opened a probe into the alleged employment of 130 (EZY) staff under British labor contracts at Paris Orly, where (EZY) has a base.

The British Airports Authority (BAA) unveiled revised development plans for London Stansted (STN), that "will cost much less than originally anticipated, with environmental impacts much reduced too."
The UK airports operator, controlled by Spain's Grupo Ferrovial, said opening cost in 2015 would be £1.4 billion/$2.74 billion and overall cost would be £2.27 billion by the time the phased expansion is complete in 2030. This compares to the original estimate of £4 billion.

"Stansted Generation 2," as the plan is called, includes a second parallel runway of 3,048 m, a terminal extension and improved public transport access. It would raise annual passenger capacity by +10 million, when the new runway becomes operational in 2015, rising to 68 million by 2030. (STN) handled nearly 24 million passengers in 2006. The airport's main users, however, still oppose G2 despite the downsizing. "At a time when a low-cost efficient airport like Frankfurt Hahn can design and build a 15-million-passenger terminal for less than €100 million/$129.2 million, there is no justification for the (BAA) airport monopoly to waste £1.4 billion on a similar-sized terminal facility," (RYR) CEO, Michael O'Leary said. (RYR), the airport's largest airline, with more than >60% of its traffic, called on the UK (CAA) to reject the plan.

"The scheme remains overengineered and too expensive," (EZY) (CEO), Andy Harrison said. "It may be good for (BAA)'s shareholders, but it is not the right way forward for UK aviation and the traveling public."

(RYR) will launch service from Dublin (DUB) to Bydgoszcz and Gdansk in May, bringing to 22, the number of new European destinations it will serve from the Irish capital this summer. (RYR) also will increase frequencies from (DUB) to Bratislava, Biarritz, Carcassonne, Kaunas, Krakow, Malaga, Murcia, Riga and Rome Ciampino. (RYR) expects to carry 9 million passengers through Dublin this year.

February 2007: The European Commission (EC) extended until June 13th, its deadline to rule on Ryanair (RYR)'s €1.48 billion/$1.94 billion hostile bid for (ARL), both the (EC) and (RYR) confirmed, although neither offered a reason for the 20-day extension. The regulator set an initial deadline of May 11 to investigate worries, that the acquisition would raise "serious competition concerns." (RYR) reiterated its confidence that the transaction will be cleared, "as it is a pro-competitive and pro-consumer deal which will bring lower fares, greater efficiency, new airplanes and more choice for consumers around Europe." It reportedly plans to revive its bid if it meets with (EC) approval. It also dismissed completely a report claiming CEO, Michael O'Leary is considering an increase in Ryanair (RYR)'s offer to a possible €3.10 per share.

(RYR) announced that its 19th base will be at Airport Weeze about 50 miles north of Dusseldorf. (RYR) will invest €140 million/$181.2 million in the facility, where it will base two new airplanes from June, that will operate to 10 destinations. It is expecting to transport 1 million passengers in the first 12 months, rising to 2 million per year from 2008. Destinations from Weeze will be Alghero (thrice-weekly), Alicante (daily), Girona (daily), Glasgow Prestwick (four-times-weekly), London (16-times-weekly, airport not identified), Palma (daily), Rome Ciampino (CIA) (four-times-weekly), Shannon (thrice-weekly), Stockholm-Skavsta (daily) and Treviso (four-times-weekly.)

Alicante and Palma were among the new destinations (RYR) unveiled as part of another network expansion. It also will start serving Maastricht and Zadar. In March, it will launch Liverpool (LPL)- Palma, (CIA) - Zaragoza and Stansted (STN) - Alicante; in April, Frankfurt Hahn - Palma, (LPL) - Alicante, Pisa - Alicante, Pisa - Palma, (STN) - Palma, and (STN) - Zadar; in May, Dublin (DUB) - Alicante and (DUB) - Bremen, and in June, Girona - Maastricht and flights from Weeze.

March 2007: Starting June 5th, thrice-weekly, London Stansted (STN) - Maribor. Ryanair (RYR) expects to carry 40,000 passengers in the first year of operation.

6 737-8ASs (33612, EI-DPO; 33613, EI-DPP; 33614, EI-DPR; 33640, EI-DPM; 33641, EI-DPS; 35549, EI-DPN)

April 2007: Having altered commercial aviation in Europe with its low-fare, no-frills service and brazen style, Ryanair (RYR) appears prepared to make its mark on the newly opened skies over the Atlantic.

CEO, Michael O'Leary told reporters that €10/$13.43 fares, plus taxes of course, may be part of the long-haul landscape once the (EU)-USA "open skies" agreement takes effect next spring. "We've been approached by a number of airports in the USA, who are very keen to see us start a long-haul, low-fare service and we're working on plan to start flying the Atlantic," he said, according to "Reuters."

O'Leary added that (RYR) would not spend its own money to start the new carrier, which would launch within three to four years and operate independently of (RYR), but would feed its European bases. He estimated the startup cost to be €100 to €200 million, "Bloomberg News" reported, with up to 50 787s or A350s the target airplanes. It also reportedly will feature some premium seating or services. USA destinations would comprise secondary airports near major cities.

"There's lots of investors who are keen to see a long-haul, low-fare transatlantic service. Money is the least thing we need," O'Leary said, according to "Bloomberg."

(RYR) announced changes in its European network. On May 7, it will launch 4x-weekly Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) to Faro flights and 3x-weekly service from (HHN) to Fez and Marrakech and between Marseille and Bournemouth. It will increase frequencies on 5 additional routes. The same day, it will stop operating flights from (HHN) to Marseille, Genoa, Krakow, Nantes and Trieste. It also will cancel Nottingham East Midlands to Santiago, Liverpool to Tampere, and Pisa to Karlsruhe/Baden service and flights from Marseille to Karlsruhe/Baden and Rome Ciampino.

(RYR) announced changes to its schedule from Stockholm Skavsta comprising new services to Marseille (4x-weekly from May 7), Treviso (3x-weekly from May 23) and Alghero (4x-weekly from May 24) and a cessation of flights to Brussels Charleroi (from May 22), Gdansk (from May 22) and Kaunas (from May 23).

Iberia (IBE) filed a €2 million/$2.7 million lawsuit against (RYR) over a Barcelona marketing stunt last fall in which (RYR) offered free tickets to people willing to carry signs through the city expressing their preference for (RYR) over (IBE), according to press reports. (RYR) said the suit was (IBE)'s "latest tactic to contribute to protect its dominance in the Spanish market" and that it expects to transport 9 million passengers to and from Spain this year.

2 737-8ASs (35550, EI-DPT; 35551, EI-DPV), deliveries.

May 2007: Ryanair (RYR) starts Bournemouth to Marseille; Dublin to Alicante, to Bremen, to Bydgoszcz, to Gdansk; Frankfurt Hahn to Faro, to Fez, to Marrakech; Stockholm Skavsta to Alghero, to Marseille, to Venice; using 737-800s. Stops East Midlands to Santiago; Frankfurt Hahn to Genoa, to Krakow, to Nantes, to Trieste; Gerona to Faro; Liverpool to Tampere; Marseille to Frankfurt Hahn, to Karlsruhe, to Rome; Pisa to Karlsruhe; Stockholm Skavsta to Charleroi, to Gdansk, to Kaunas. Starting June 1st, London Stansted (STN) to Charleroi; Weeze (Dus) to Alicante, to Treviso; starting June 2nd, Gerona to Maastricht; Weeze to Alghero; starting June 4th, Weeze to Palma; starting June 5th, (STN) to Maribor, all using 737-800s.

(RYR) will add a 5th and 6th airplane to its Milan Orio al Serio base and launch 9 new routes in December and January. New destinations are Cagliari and Porto (daily); Alghero, Billund, Santander and Tampere (4x-weekly); Bari, Gothenburg and Riga (3x-weekly). It also announced 9 new routes from Girona, from where it will operate 9 airplanes, instead of 7, starting in October. New destinations are Granada (10x-weekly); Billund and Bratislava (4x-weekly); Fez, Graz, Hamburg, Malta and Marrakech (3x-weekly), and Wroclaw (2x-weekly). (RYR) will operate new flights from East Midlands to Budapest and Riga starting in October. Budapest is a new destination.

(RYR) will establish its 20th European base at Bristol in November. (RYR) will base 2 new 737-800s there and launch 13 new routes, lifting the number of routes it serves from the airport to 16. New destinations are Derry and Milan Orio al Serio (daily); Budapest, Knock and Wroclaw (4x-weekly); Bratislava, Dinard, Katowice, Porto, Poznan and Riga (3x-weekly), and Rzeszow and Salzburg (2x-weekly).

The European Commission (EC) extended its investigation into (RYR)'s proposed acquisition of the (ARL) Group by another 15 working days to July 4 from June 13, itself an extension from the original deadline of May 11. The extension followed (RYR)'s submission of new commitments to address competition concerns raised by the European regulator. An (EC) spokesperson confirmed that (RYR) offered extra remedies. (RYR) launched a €1.48 billion/$2.01 billion hostile takeover bid for (ARL) soon after the flag carrier completed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) last September. (RYR) withdrew its bid in December, after the (EC) launched its in-depth inquiry citing "serious competition concerns" over the proposed merger of Ireland's two principal airlines. (RYR) said in February it hoped to renew its bid, when the probe was completed. It holds 25.2% of (ARL), just under the Irish Finance Ministry's 25.35%.

Conversely, the (EC) opted to clear the proposed merger of Thomas Cook (JMA) and MyTravel (GUE)/(PRH) Group, which will combine to form Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE)/(PRH) Group. The tie-up remains subject to several conditions, including approval from MyTravel (GUE)/(PRH) shareholders, court consent and the listing of (JMA)/(GUE)/(PRH) shares. Assuming they are satisfied, finalization is expected on June 19, the companies said in a statement.

Regarding the agreed-upon acquisition of First Choice (ATZ) Holidays by TUI (HAP)/(HLX), the (EC) expressed concern over the combined company's potential dominance in Ireland. Following last week's meeting with the Competition Case Team, First Choice (ATZ) agreed to consider specific undertakings to address that concern, including the potential sale of one of its Irish businesses. "First Choice (ATZ) and TUI AG (HAP)/(HLX) remain confident that the proposed merger will be cleared by the European Commission (EC)," the companies said, adding that they now expect the (EC) to announce its decision on whether to clear the proposed merger at Phase I, or extend it to a Phase II investigation on or before June 4. Both the combined TUI Travel (ATZ)/(HAP)/(HLX) and the Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE)/(PRH) Group will be headquartered in London.

(RYR) said that "all of (RYR)'s fares will be quoted inclusive of taxes" in conjunction with a seat sale that includes a promise to pay passengers double the difference between a (RYR) fare and a cheaper fare on the same route operated by a competing carrier. (RYR) transported 4.1 million passengers in April, up +19% from the year-ago month. Load factor fell -2 points to 83% LF.

2 737-8ASs (35552, EI-DPW; 35553, EI-DPX), deliveries.

June 2007: Ryanair (RYR) reported a +42% jump in full fiscal year net income to +€435.6 million/+$586.3 million, compared to +€306.7 million in the prior year, on rising fares and passenger numbers, yet warned that profit growth will slow to about +5% in the current financial year, and that it may even report a loss in the third and fourth quarters. Net profit for the 12 months ended March 31, excluding exceptional items, climbed +33% to +€401.4 million, while revenue rose +32% to €2.24 billion. Operating expenses increased +33% to €1.76 billion with the fuel bill up +50% to €693.3 million. Fuel accounted for 39% of operating cost compared to 35% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2006. Operating profit grew +28% to +€471.1 million.

(RYR) as Europe's largest Low Cost Carrier (LCC), opened 153 new routes, including new bases at Marseille, Madrid and Bremen during the year, and purchased 30 airplanes, bringing the fleet to 133 at year end. Passenger boardings rose +22% to 42.5 million on a +22% lift in seat capacity. Load factor fell -1 point to 82% LF. Average fare was up +7%, and revenue per passenger up +8% as ancillary revenue increased +40% to €362.1 million. Unit cost grew +9%. "These record profits and the strong growth in traffic, yields and revenues during a period of much higher oil prices and intense competition is a tribute to the strength of (RYR)'s lowest fare model," (CEO) Michael O'Leary said. That strength will be tested in the current year, however. O'Leary forecast a +22% lift in passengers, but acknowledged that "if trading conditions continue to be soft," yield will fall by up to -5% year-over-year. Unit cost will rise +6% to +7%, largely due to longer sectors, higher airport charges at London Stansted and Dublin, aswell as a one-time increase in cabin crew (CA) ratios.

"As a result, we expect profit growth over the coming year to be more modest and to rise by approximately +5%," he said, adding, "At this time, with no visibility of winter bookings and yields, we believe that the company and our shareholders should remain cautious and conservative." (RYR) said it is planning a share buyback program valued up to €300 million starting this week. The company never has paid a dividend to shareholders.

O'Leary said he expects (EU) competition authorities to reject the potential takeover of (ARL) within the month, despite (RYR)'s offer to surrender a significant number of slots at London Heathrow and Dublin. (RYR) has invested €344.9 million in acquiring 25.2% of (ARL). "It would be unprecedented, but given that the (EC) has broken just about every rule, it is entirely possible," he said of the expected ruling, while warning that a court challenge would have a "high prospect of success." (RYR) said that it expects the (EC) to block its proposed €1.48 billion hostile takeover of (ARL) and vowed to fight the decision vigorously. The (EC) has until July 4 to issue a ruling on the merger, but (RYR) (CEO) Michael O'Leary said "leaked" documents indicate the proposed combination will be blocked. "The (EC)'s decision to prohibit this merger between two (EU) airlines which between them represent just 5% of European airline traffic, is not just unprecedented, but in our view unlawful," he said. He noted that the (EC) has given a "rubber stamp" to mergers between much larger carriers such as Air France (AFA)/(KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH)/Swiss (CSR). "It is obvious that the (EC) is applying a unique and unprecedented set of rules in the (RYR)/(ARL) case," O'Leary said in Brussels. "One can only conclude that the (EC)'s decision to prohibit is a political one to appease the Irish government." The (EC) refuted (RYR)'s claim and denied the leak. "It is very easy to criticize a decision, which has not yet been taken," competition spokesperson Jonathan Todd told "Thomson Financial News."

(RYR) said it would appeal to the European Court of First Instance and will oppose any attempt by the (EC) to force it to sell its 25% stake in (ARL). "We obviously have no control over (ARL)," O'Leary insisted. He also confirmed the filing of a formal complaint with the (EU) ombudsman over "persistent and repeated" leaks by the (EC) of information regarding the proposed merger. (ARL) (CEO) Dermot Mannion said, "If (RYR)'s assessment of the decision is correct, this is a victory for (ARL) and for the consumer." He added: "The (EU)'s competition policy focuses on what is good for the consumer, not the share of the European aviation market in isolation. (ARL) and (RYR) aren't like previous airline mergers, because they are each other's nearest competitor at Dublin, and a deal would create an Irish aviation monopoly in an island nation, that relies on aviation for access."

Finally at the end of this month, in what clearly can be called an unprecedented decision, the (EC) did move to prohibit the proposed takeover by (RYR) of smaller rival (ARL). The (EC) said a merger would harm consumers by creating a monopoly on 22 routes, and a dominant position with a market share of >60% on a further 13. "Monopolies are bad for consumers, because they reduce choice, lower quality and give rise to higher prices. Low-cost carriers (LCC)s like (RYR) are no exception to this rule," Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes said. The (EC) confirmed it is not in a legal position to require (RYR) to divest its minority shareholding in (ARL).

This marks the first time that the (EC), which publicly advocates airline consolidation, has vetoed a combination in the (EU). It cleared the merger of Air France (AFA) with (KLM), and the acquisition of Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) by Lufthansa (DLH). It did not intervene in the tie-ups between SN Brussels (DAT) and Virgin Express (EBA) or between (TAP) Portugal and (PGA) Portugalia Airlines (POR). In the early 1990s, it okayed the merger of (AFA), (UTA) and Air Inter, and always has granted antitrust immunity to alliances or route-specific joint ventures.

Kroes acknowledged that precedent, but argued that this merger presented unique issues because Ireland's two main airlines operate from the same home airport of Dublin. "That fact has led to an unprecedented number of routes where competition would have been harmed, affecting a significantly higher number of European passengers than in any other case in the past," she said at a news conference in Brussels. She would not confirm (RYR), (CEO) Michael O'Leary's claim that no competitors filed objections to the proposed merger. The (EC) said most airlines were unlikely to enter into direct competition against a merged (RYR)/(ARL) in Ireland, in part because (RYR) "has a reputation of aggressive retaliation against any entry attempt by competitors." It added that "the likelihood of entry is further reduced by peak-time congestion at Dublin Airport and other airports on overlap routes."

Kroes said she is confident the (EC)'s decision will "bear scrutiny of the Court of First Instance should it be appealed." (RYR) confirmed that it will appeal, and declared that "this prohibition will be overturned." (RYR) announced the November launch of 8 new routes from its Shannon (SNN) base, the closure of 3, and the reduction of an additional 6. New destinations will be Birmingham (daily), Dublin (2x-daily), Fuerteventura (weekly), Kaunas (2x-weekly), Leeds Bradford (3x-weekly), London Luton (daily), Riga (2x-weekly) and Tenerife (weekly). In addition, frequencies will be increased to Edinburgh (to daily) and Manchester (to 6x-weekly). Also in November, (RYR) will stop serving Bournemouth, Lodz and Rome Ciampino from (SNN), while flights to Biarritz, Carcassonne, Milan Orio al Serio, Murcia, Nantes and Treviso will scale back to an April to October schedule. Starts Bournemouth to Nantes. Starting September 25th, Bremen to Beauvais, to Bratislava, to Malta. Starting September 26th, Bremen to Bergamo, to Trapani. Starting September 28th, Bremen to Alghero. Starting October 3rd, Dusseldorf Weeze to Bergamo, to Malaga, to Valencia. Starting October 4th, Dusseldorf Weeze to Trapani. Starting October 10th, Dusseldorf Weeze to Fueteventura, to Vaxjo. Starting October 11th, Dusseldorf Weeze to Marrakesh. Starting October 30th, East Midlands to Riga, Gerona to Fez, to Luebeck, to Malta. Starting October 31st, East Midlands to Budapest, Gerona to Billund, to Wroclaw. Starting November 2nd, Gerona to Marrakesh. Starting November 7th, Bristol to Bergamo, to Budapest, to Derry, to Knock, to Porto, to Riga, to Wroclaw, Gerona to Bratislava. Starting November 8th, Bristol to Bratislava, to Dinard, to Poznan, to Rzeszow, Gerona to Graz. Starting November 10th, Bristol - Katowice. Starting December 12th, Bergamo to Cagliari, to Porto, to Tampere. Starting December 13th, Bergamo to Bari. Starting December 19th, Bristol to Salzburg. Starting January 16th, Bergamo to Alghero, to Billund, Santander. Starting January 17th, Bergamo to Gothenburg Saive, to Riga.

(RYR) will expand operations at its Stockholm Skavsta base in October, adding a 5th and 6th 737-800 and launching 12 new routes during the month: 7x-weekly to Berlin Schoenefeld and Bratislava; 4x-weekly to Eindhoven, Baden Baden, Liverpool and Valencia; 3x-weekly to Alicante, Basel, Pisa and Porto, and 2x-weekly to Trapani and Malta. A 2x-weekly service to Salzburg will start in December.

(RYR) is launching an effort to generate revenue through in-flight advertising on seatbacks and overhead luggage bins. It signed a contract with Inviseo Media to sell seatback advertising on 5 airplanes and a deal with Fourth Edition to sell ads on overhead bins. "Passengers will benefit because these revenues will help keep our fares the lowest in Europe," (COO) & Deputy (CEO) Michael Cawley said.

Later, (RYR)'s plans to launch in-flight mobile phones in cooperation with OnAir have been delayed by 4 months as regulatory approval has taken longer than expected, the Irish Independent confirmed. The system has approval from relevant Irish authorties, but a handful of other countries, mainly in Scandinavia, have yet to agree. (CEO) Michael O'Leary that the new system will not be running until November at the earliest. (RYR) and SITA announced last summer that (RYR) would outfit its entire 737 fleet with OnAir's onboard mobile communications solution. OnAir was scheduled to equip 50 airplanes during the 2nd half with the remainder receiving installations from early 2008.

(RYR) claimed that it now is the world's largest international airline in terms of passengers, based on IATA (ITA) statistics. (RYR) carried 40.5 million passengers on international flights in 2006, compared to Lufthansa (DLH)'s 38.2 million, Air France (AFA)'s 30.4 million, and British Airways (BAB)'s 29.5 million. Low-cost rival easyJet (EZY) was 6th with 21.9 million, with American Airlines (AAL) the largest non-European carrier and seventh overall at 21.2 million. "Just 10 years ago, most of the other airlines on this (IATA) (ITA) ranking, carried 10x- more passengers than (RYR)," (RYR) said.

(RYR) exercised options for an additional 27 blended winglet-equipped 737-800s with deliveries scheduled from September 2009 through March 2010. The order is worth $1.9 billion at list prices, and brings (RYR)'s 737-800 order book to 308, of which 137 have been delivered. It plans to operate a fleet of 262 airplanes by 2012.

July 2007: Ryanair (RYR) announced 11 new routes and the cancellation of 11 others. Starting October 28 (RYR) will operate Dublin to Stockholm Skavsta, and the following day, it will launch Girona (GRO) to Brno, (GRO) to Linz, and London Stansted (STN) to Billund. (GRO) to Poznan, Bremen to Budapest, Brussels Charleroi to Pau, Marseille to Fez, Marseille to Marrakech, and Milan Orio al Serio to Lamezia will launch October 30, and (GRO) to Basel will start October 31. (RYR) said the Marseille flights mark "the reinstatement of low-fare flights between France and Morocco, following the French government's refusal in December to proceed, as other European countries did, with the prompt application of the already agreed (EU) to Morocco open skies agreement."

Routes scheduled to cease operation are Malmo to Madrid, and Malmo to Marseille (October 27), Dublin to Vasteras, and (STN) to Esjberg (October 28), (STN) to Malmo (October 31), Liverpool (LPL) to Inverness, and (LPL) to Aberdeen (November 2), Malmo to (GRO), and Malmo to Dublin (November 4), Frankfurt Hahn to Wroclaw (November 5), and (LPL) to Kaunas (November 8).

(RYR) said it intends to sue the (EC) for what it called the body's "repeated failure" to take action on a number of state aid complaints involving Air France (AFA), Lufthansa (DLH), Alitalia (ALI), and Olympic Airways (OLY) and their respective national governments that (RYR) submitted >1 year ago.

Separately, the (EC) announced investigations into whether some airports served by (RYR) and easyJet (EZY) received illegal state aid.

(RYR) stated it has called on the (EC) several times to investigate its claims. "It appears, as always, that the Commission applies one rule for the high-fare flag carrier airlines and state-owned primary airports, but a different one for low-cost airlines like (RYR) and the numerous regional and secondary airports, that are offering competition and lower fares to the traveling public," Head of Regulatory Affairs Jim Callaghan commented. He added it is "time that the (EC) stops this twin track approach to enforcing the state aid rules." (RYR) claimed that the French government discounted domestic airport fees, "which amounts to an illegal state aid to Air France (AFA) of approximately €1 billion/$1.36 billion over the past seven years." It said German authorities "allowed" state-owned Munich Airport to incur losses of >€50 million on a terminal "built exclusively" for Lufthansa (DLH) and that Italy and Greece "have repeatedly given massive injections of state aid into their terminally ill flag carrier airlines."

Last month, the (EC) prohibited (RYR)'s proposed takeover of Irish rival (ARL), arguing a merger would harm consumers by creating a monopoly on 22 routes and a dominant position with a market share of >60% on a further 13. The decision marked the 1st time that the (EC) de facto vetoed an airline combination in the (EU), with the proposed merger also representing the 1st time a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) had attempted to take over an established (EU) flag carrier.

France's Conseil d'Etat ruled that (EZY) and (RYR) each must apply French labor laws for staff operating in the country. Both Low Cost Carrier (LCC)s had appealed against last year's decree, that obliged foreign airlines to apply domestic labor laws to airplane crews based in France. (RYR) argued that the decree contravened European laws on free movement of labor and services, freedom of establishment, and the liberalized air transport market. It said that it intends to take further legal action, "Reuters" reported.

"(RYR) will challenge the court's refusal to request a preliminary ruling from the European courts and to provide undistorted competition in France. French consumers have suffered long enough under an Air France (AFA) monopoly, which is denying them the benefits of competition and low fares," Head of Regulatory Affairs & Company Secretary Jim Callaghan said.

(RYR) has been told by Italian authorities that it must transfer its Rome operation to Fiumicino from Ciampino (CIA), Transport Minister Alessandro Bianchi told "Thomson Financial (TF)." Regional authorities reportedly decided to reduce daily operations at (CIA) to 100 flights from 138 effective with the next winter schedule. Biancho told (TF) that (CIA)'s annual passenger throughput has risen to 5 million from 800,000 in the past 5 years and that neighboring airports at Latina, Viterbo and Frosinone are being studied as possible alternatives. (RYR) serves 20 destinations from (CIA).

August 2007: Aer Lingus (ARL)'s decision to open a base in Belfast, and transfer its Shannon (SNN) to London Heathrow (LHR) service to Northern Ireland, met with predictable opposition in the western part of the Republic, as well as from (RYR), which holds 25% of the flag carrier and has appealed to Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern to maintain the status quo. (RYR), whose effort to acquire (ARL) was rebuffed by the European Commission (EC) in June, said the government's approval of the Belfast switch "proves that both (ARL) and the Irish government lied to the (EC)." It presented a portion of the Minister of Transport's October 2006 statement, that said the government "is unlikely to support a proposed disposal of any [(LHR) to (SNN)] slot pair" as (LHR) "serves a unique role in ensuring connectivity to/from Ireland." "If the Irish government wants to preserve connections between Shannon (SNN) and Heathrow (LHR), then (RYR)'s offer will allow this to come about," (CEO) Michael O'Leary said, adding that both (ARL) and the government "assured the [EC], that an independent (ARL) was the only way to maintain competition and choice, between (ARL) and (RYR). This sacrifice of Shannon (SNN) in favor of Belfast, reduces that competition." (RYR) said it has offered to "work with" Ahern to maintain the service.

The "Irish Times" reported that (RYR) increased its stake in (ARL) to 28% from 25% for €37.6 million/$50.4 million. (RYR) confirmed the purchase of a further +4% of (ARL) shares, bringing its stake to >29.4%. "These new shares were acquired at or <€2.45/$3.30 per share, which lowers the average cost of (RYR)'s shares in (ARL)."

(RYR) responded to the Italian Civil Aviation Authorities' decision to restrict capacity at Rome Ciampino (CIA) by nearly -30% from November. It applied to the regional administrative court in Lazio for an injunction and to the (EC), accusing the Italian government of "again trying to support the terminally ill Alitalia (ALI), by blocking low fares and competition in Rome." (RYR) said (ENAC) wants to close (CIA) for 5 months, for "runway works," but argued that "there is no evidence, that there is any problem with the runway" at the airport.

(RYR) will open bases in Valencia and Alicante this fall, each requiring an investment of $140 million. (RYR) will base 2 737-800s and launch 11 new routes from each airport. It already operates 10 routes from Valencia. In October, it will launch daily flights to Paris Beauvais, 4x-weekly service to Baden Baden, Bologna, Eindhoven, Liverpool and Porto, and 3x-weekly flights to Basel, Billund, Malta, Maastricht and Santiago. It flies from Alicante to 6 destinations. In November, it will start daily flights to Brussels Charleroi, 4x-weekly service to Baden Baden and Maastricht, plus 3x-weekly service to Basel and Doncaster Sheffield. In December, it will launch 4x-weekly flights to Billund, Nottingham East Midlands and Milan Orio al Serio, and 3x-weekly service to Bournemouth, Gothenburg City and Paris Beauvais. It will close its service from Vitoria to London Stansted and Dublin on October 25.

(RYR) will base 2 new 737-800s at Dublin from November, bringing its fleet at the airport to 22 airplanes. It will invest $140 million, launch 6 new routes and increase frequencies on a further 12. New routes starting in October, will be Budapest (daily), Szczecin (2x-weekly) and Basel (3x-weekly). New November destinations will be Nice (daily), Prague (daily) and Katowice (3x-weekly). Frequencies will increase to Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bratislava, Edinburgh, Gdansk, Kaunas, Krakow, Manchester, Riga, Rzeszow, Tenerife and Wroclaw.

(RYR) will launch 6 new routes from its Madrid base in October and close 4 others. (RYR) will start flying to Girona, Santander, Alghero, Cagliari, Frankfurt Hahn and Liverpool, and cease service to Faro, Malmo, Bournemouth and Shannon. Frequencies will increase on several existing routes, including to Brussels Charleroi, which will move to 2x-daily from 4x-weekly.

Later, (RYR) said it suspended all bookings to/from its base at Brussels South Charleroi from November 12 "pending the resolution of a number of issues which remain outstanding" since a wildcat strike by security staff closed the airport June 15 to 17. (RYR), which operates 21 routes from its Belgian base, did not detail all "outstanding" issues, but said it wants the airport operator to establish an effective contingency plan to maintain operations in the event of future wildcat strikes. Unions called the June strike to protest plans to switch security personnel to the private sector. The work stoppage, which followed a similar disruption in December, left >22,500 passengers stranded. "Charleroi Airport has assured (RYR) that these outstanding problems will be addressed shortly, and if they are then we would be hopeful that these flights can be put back on sale shortly," (RYR) said.

This was followed by (RYR) announcing later about an agreement with Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL), and said it will now release seats for sale on flights from November 12. (RYR) previously had suspended bookings at (CRL), citing outstanding issues related to a June wildcat strike by security employees, that forced a suspension in operations. It said the deal "addressed all concerns" and cited an accord between the Belgian Ministry of Transport and public service unions, that guarantees there will be 48-hours notice of any future work action. (RYR) said it has "resumed negotiations with [CRL] about further growth, and new route development now that this threat of future unannounced strikes has been removed."

(RYR) launched a one-stop finance shop as part of its strategy to increase ancillary revenue. "Ryanairmoney.com" offers low-cost travel insurance, home insurance and life insurance, a commission-free foreign currency exchange, Visa pre-paid vouchers and (RYR) credit cards.

September 2007: Ryanair (RYR) upheld its full-year profit guidance and said it expects net profits for the current fiscal year ending March 31 to rise +10% on the prior year. Surges in passenger traffic and ancillary revenue helped lift (RYR)'s first fiscal quarter profit +20% to a record +€138.9 million/+$194 million. "Current trading continues to perform as expected and advance bookings for the autumn are in line with our targets," (CEO) Michael O'Leary told shareholders at the carrier's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Dublin. "We continue to believe that winter yields will be down by between -5% to -10%. Accordingly, our full-year guidance is unchanged. We expect passenger volumes to grow by +18% to 50 million passengers and deliver profit growth of +10%, due to the softness in winter yields, rising fuel costs, and the doubling of passenger charges at London Stansted, (RYR)'s largest base." O'Leary also said the airline is "considering what legal remedies are available to us" after Aer Lingus (ARL) twice refused its demands to hold an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on (ARL)'s decision to close its Shannon - Heathrow route. (RYR) is (ARL)'s largest shareholder with a 29.4% stake. "Since the directors of (ARL) are willing to repeatedly breach their statutory obligations towards their largest shareholder, there clearly isn't any influence that (RYR) can bring to bear on this profitable route closure," O'Leary said. He reiterated that (RYR) will expand its Shannon base further, and said it is currently in negotiations with Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) to see if a "viable cost base can be agreed to allow a low-fare" Shannon to (AMS) route to be launched.

(RYR) will launch 3x-weekly, Malta to Venice Treviso service from December 13. It also will start 2 daily services from its Cork base to East Midlands and Glasgow from December 13, bringing the number of destinations served from the airport to 6.

(RYR) will establish its 23rd base at George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD), placing a new 737-800 there from October 30 and launching 4 routes, including a 4x-daily service to London Stansted. In July, (RYR) announced it would launch daily flights to Nottingham East Midlands, Glasgow Prestwick and Liverpool from (BHD). The latter was doubled to 2x-daily. Air-Berlin (BER) announced it would abandon its (BHD) to London Stansted (STN) service. (RYR) also said it will increase (STN) to Shannon flights from 3x-daily to 4x- on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, beginning November 8. Last month, rival Aer Lingus (ARL) announced plans to open a base at Belfast International (BFS). (ARL), in which (RYR) is the biggest shareholder, with just under 30%, will base 3 A320s at (BFS) and serve 8 destinations, including London Heathrow. First flights are scheduled for December 10 to Amsterdam, Barcelona and Malaga.

(RYR) announced the launch of a 3x-weekly, Kerry to London Luton service on November 6. It already serves Stansted from Kerry. It also will bring forward the start of 3x-weekly Shannon to (STN) service to November from January.

(RYR) said it will base 12 airplanes at Milan Malpensa and launch 50 international and 10 domestic routes from the airport in response to Alitalia's (ALI) plan to nearly halve its 340 daily flights from (MPX). In a statement dubbed "(RYR)'s Manifesto for Malpensa (MPX)," (RYR) said it is willing to commit up to $1 billion between 2008 and 2012 at 2 airports, (MPX) and Orio al Serio (BGX) near Bergamo, where it currently has a base. Under the plan, it would increase the size of its existing (BGX) base, where it now has four airplanes, by investing $420 million in 6 additional airplanes before 2012. Malpensa (MPX) would see an $840 million investment by 2012.

(RYR) said it submitted its appeal against the European Union (EU)'s "unlawful and politically motivated" decision to bar (RYR)'s acquisition of (ARL) to the European Court of First Instance (CFI) in Luxembourg. "We are confident that the (CFI) will overturn this decision in the interests of consumers and the competitiveness of the industry. As always, with the (EC), there seems to be 1 rule for the national megacarriers, and a completely different 1 for (RYR)," Head of Regulatory Affairs Jim Callaghan said.

(RYR) cited (ARL)'s 58% 1st-half profit drop and its abandonment of its Shannon to London Heathrow service, as signs (ARL) has been reduced to a "small, peripheral regional airline." (RYR) said it was "confident" the decision would be overturned, since it promised to maintain separate brands and competition, reduce (ARL)'s costs, and guarantee annual fare savings of -€100 million. "This merger, which accounts for <5% of the (EU) air transport market, was clearly pro-competition," Callaghan argued.

(RYR) said it reached agreement with its Dublin-based pilots (FC) on a new 4-year contract, that "will significantly improve" pay and work conditions, and bring them into line with the pay and conditions to which it previously agreed with pilots (FC) in Shannon and Cork. "This new agreement means that all (RYR) pilots (FC) at its 3 Irish bases are now covered by long-term pay, benefits and roster agreements." Key features of the Dublin pilot (FC) deal, which has been negotiated for 2 years, include increases in basic pay, allowances and sector pay; a higher pension contribution by the airline; an improved roster that gives pilots (FC) 4 days off after every 5 days of work; an improvement in the speed at which copilots can be promoted, and an additional 25 days off annually, while still allowing Dublin pilots to fly up to 900 hours per year.

7 737-8ASs (33615, EI-DPY; 33616, EI-DPZ; 33617, EI-DWA; 33642, EI-DWD; 36074, EI-DWE; 36075, EI-DWB; 36076, EI-DWC), deliveries.

October 2007: The British government is considering replacing the controversial air passenger duty (APD) with a tax based on flights, rather than passengers. "I propose that aviation makes a greater contribution in respect of its environmental impact and for this to be as environmentally effective as possible, from 2009, I intend to levy the duty not on individual passengers but on flights," Chancellor Alistair Darling announced. He also stressed that it is "right" that airplane emissions should be part of the (EU) emissions trading scheme. (APD) levels will be frozen in the run-up to the change. EasyJet (EZY) said it welcomed the proposal. "It is right to tax emissions, not passengers. That means reflecting a combination of airplane type and distance flown," (CEO) Andy Harrison said, while warning that "the reform should not be used as an excuse to further increase the burden of tax on passengers. (EZY), for example, already covers its carbon costs more than 4x- over." British Airways (BAB) said, "Our share of (APD) revenue for the government is now £400 million/$815.6 million a year. With this money, the government could offset our entire CO2 emissions four times over." It added, "Once aviation is included in the (EU) scheme, we expect (APD) or any replacement tax to be ended." For (RYR), the reformed (APD) would be "just another tax on ordinary passengers from government ministers swanning around on private airplanes. This Labour government lied when it proposed to spend the £1 billion raised from doubling (APD) on the environment. Not a penny has been spent on the environment, and they are back stealing more from ordinary passengers going on holidays."

Aer Lingus (ARL) asked the European Commission (EC) to consider ordering (RYR) to reduce its stake, both (ARL) and the (EC) confirmed. According to "MarketWatch," (ARL) accused the (EC) of failing to act within the (EU) merger regulations, by allowing (RYR) to keep its sizable stake in (ARL), despite its failed merger attempt. Director General Competition spokesperson Jonathan Todd said (EU) competition authorities received the notice about failure to act two weeks ago, and would respond by October 17. In June, the (EC) prohibited the proposed takeover by (RYR) of its smaller rival, arguing the merger would harm consumers by creating a near-monopoly in the Irish market. While supporting the decision, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes stated the (EC) was not in position to require (RYR) to divest its then-25% shareholding. (RYR) since has built up a 29.4% stake and early last month submitted its appeal against the (EC)'s veto to the European Court of First Instance (CFI). It also called for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders following (ARL)'s decision to transfer slots to London Heathrow from its current base at Shannon to a new base in Belfast. (ARL) 2x- rejected the request, arguing that to do so would result in an infringement of Irish and European competition law.

Later, the (EC) confirmed a citation from the Competition Director General, Philip Lowe that the body has no competence to force (RYR) to sell its shareholding in (ARL). "We are reiterating what we have previously said, namely that under the (EU) merger regulation, we are not in a position to act, because (RYR)'s stake doesn't grant it effective control [over (ARL)]," Director General Competition spokesperson Linda Cain said. (RYR) currently holds a 29.4% shareholding in (ARL). The (EC) in June prohibited the carrier from taking over its smaller rival. "Because (ARL) asked us formally [to force (RYR) to reduce its stake in (ARL)], we will respond formally. We will send them a letter by October 17," Cain said. (ARL) reacted promptly and stated that the (EC)'s decision "will open the way for (ARL) to make an appeal to the European Court of First Instance (CFI) that would, if successful, enable the (EC) to order (RYR) to dispose of its stake in its main competitor." It added that it also will ask the court, "as a matter of urgency, to make an order to prevent (RYR) from interfering in the running of (ARL)'s business" pending judgment on the appeal. (ARL) will make its application to the (CFI) in the coming weeks. (RYR) said it had taken note of the (EC)'s confirmation that it has "properly" rejected (ARL)'s request on the basis that it has no influence or control in the company. "We presume this initiative was designed to cover (ARL)'s embarrassment at a current share price of €2.35/$3.30, which is -20% less than (RYR)'s offer of €2.80 almost one year ago," (RYR) added.

(RYR) said it is taking France to the European Court of Human Rights over a recent ruling by the French Conseil d'Etat, the country's highest administrative court, requiring that (RYR) apply French labor laws to employees located in Marseille, where it opened a base in November 2006. (RYR)'s decision relates to a December 2006 decree compelling foreign carriers to apply French employment laws to crews based at the country's airports. Both (RYR) and easyJet (EZY) immediately filed a legal challenge, but the court dismissed the claims and ordered each airline to pay €2,500/$3,512.40 in legal costs. (EZY) opted not to appeal the decision. The Conseil d'Etat also rejected (RYR)'s request to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. (RYR) argued that the procedure is unjust, since the same court advised the French government on the legality of the contested decree. "This bizarre confusion of consultative and judicial functions within the French supreme court, as well as certain other aspects of the French procedure, denied (RYR) the right to fair trial and made it necessary for us to seek justice in the European Court of Human Rights," Head of Regulatory Affairs and Company Secretary Jim Callaghan said.

(RYR) said it will appeal the decision of the (TAR) Lazio, a regional court in Rome, to uphold flight cuts at Rome Ciampino (CIA). (RYR) is accusing the Italian government of "unlawfully restricting the availability of low fares in the Rome market, a move that provides further illegal protection of Alitalia (ALI) and restricts consumer choice." (RYR) is not alone in its fight against the government's attempt to curb traffic at Rome's secondary airport. Last month, the European Low Fares Airline Assn (ELFAA) submitted a complaint to the (EC) requesting an urgent investigation of the restrictions imposed on (CIA). In 2006, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority sought to impose restrictions at (CIA), by citing night noise problems. (ENAC) dropped the noise allegations after airlines pointed out that state and military airplanes operated at night at the airport, and requested an independent study into the claimed noise problem. Earlier this year, (ENAC) restricted airplane movements from 138 to 100 per day, and threatened a total closure of the airport for five months, citing runway problems. The agency failed to consult with carriers and to provide any evidence to support the claimed runway problems, (ELFAA) argued.

(RYR) will launch 3x-weekly service from its new Bristol base to Bergerac, Beziers and Pau in May 2008. (RYR) will open its 20th European base at Bristol in 3 weeks, and said it expects to carry 1 million passengers on 20 routes from the airport in the coming year.

(RYR) will launch Shannon to Alicante service and flights from Dublin to Palma, Santander and Zadar in March.

Tony Ryan, who helped to transform the way airlines acquire airplanes and founded (RYR), died at the age of 71 after a long illness. In a statement, (RYR) (CEO) Michael O'Leary called him "one of the greatest Irishmen of the 20th century" and said he transformed "the lives of millions" by "pioneering competition and low-fare air travel in Europe." Although he is best known for the namesake airline he launched in 1985, Ryan achieved airline industry renown long before then, with the company he helped create following a 20-year career at Aer Lingus (ARL): Guinness Peat Aviation, later renamed (GPA) Group. Along with International Lease Finance Corp (ILF) co-founder & (CEO) Steven Udvar-Hazy, Ryan was among a small group of individuals, who recognized that the asset value of a commercial airplane could be separated from the airline operating it, and thus was born the operating lease business. The $50,000 that Ryan, (ARL) and Guinness Peat Group invested to launch (GPA) in 1975, paid huge dividends for all, and made Ryan one of the wealthiest men in Ireland at a time, when (RYR) was viewed widely as a failure. Using (GPA) as a vehicle, Ryan began buying used airplanes and leasing them to airlines, eventually ordering planes directly from Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)s and getting into a fierce but publicly respectful rivalry with (ILFC) (ILF). By the early 1990s, (GPA) held orders and options for close to 600 airplanes. It also carried out what generally is accepted to have been the 1st airplane lease securitization, paving the way for today's (EETC)s and other airplane-backed debt instruments. (GPA)'s business model, however, became increasingly complex, as it entered into numerous joint ventures with (OEM)s and airlines to acquire specific types of airplanes. More and more of the privately held company's income derived from airplane trading, rather than core lease rentals, and its massive speculative orders left it vulnerable to the early-1990s downturn. It all came crashing down, when its public floatation collapsed in the summer of 1992, amid investor nervousness about its order book, and the quality of some of its customers. (GE) eventually stepped in and snapped up most of the (GPA) fleet, propelling (GE) Commercial Aviation Services (GEF) into the forefront of the operating lease business, virtually overnight.

(RYR), meanwhile, began to prosper after several years of losses when Ryan hired O'Leary, his tax consultant, to run the airline. O'Leary ditched the broken business models, (RYR) had tried in the past, and the rest is history. The Ryan family remains a significant shareholder in (RYR).

(RYR) took delivery of 5 new 737-800s, including its 150th of the type. (RYR), which phased out its last 737 Classic in January 2006, operates the 2nd-largest 737 fleet in the world behind Southwest Airlines (SWA). It has an additional 121 737s on order.

7 737-8ASs (33618, EI-DWL; 33619, EI-DWF; 33620, EI-DWG; 33637, EI-DWH; 33643, EI-DWI; 36077, EI-DWJ; 36078, EI-DWK), deliveries.

November 2007: Ryanair (RYR) opened its Bristol base with flights to Budapest, Derry, Knock, Milan Orio al Serio, Porto, Riga, and Wroclaw. It will begin flying to Bratislava, Dinard, Poznan and Rzeszow, with Katowice coming on line November 10. Salzburg starts December 19, and Turin December 22. (RYR) is basing 2 737-800s at the airport, from which it expects to transport 1 million passengers next year. It also launched flights from Shannon to Birmingham, Fuerteventura, Kaunas, Leeds, London Luton, Riga, Tenerife, and Dublin.

The Aer Lingus (ARL) Group lodged a formal appeal with the European Union (EU) Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, as part of what it called "the legal process towards removing (RYR) from its shareholder register." Last month, the European Commission (EC) said it does not have the legal authority to order (RYR) to sell off or reduce its shareholding in (ARL) because it holds only a minority stake and does not have effective control. (ARL), however, believes the merger regulation does give the (EC) that power, as the stake was part of the original takeover attempt that the regulatory body prohibited. Aer Lingus (ARL) also asked the court, "as a matter of urgency, to make an order to prevent (RYR) from interfering in the running of (ARL)'s business pending judgment." (RYR) dismissed the (ARL) announcement. "The (EC) has already confirmed that since (RYR) has neither de facto nor de jure control over (ARL), there are no legal grounds for such a compulsory disposal," it said in a statement. (RYR) currently holds 29.4% of its smaller rival.

(RYR) lodged yet another case in the European Court of First Instance (CFI) against the (EC) for failing to act on (RYR)'s complaint about illegal state aid to Volare (VLR), a subsidiary of Alitalia (ALI). (RYR) claims the aid consisted of the writeoff of around €20 million in debts owed by (VLR) to Italian airports and reductions in airport charges and fuel costs in favor of the airline. (RYR) said it initially called on the (EC) to investigate the allegations 2 years ago. This is the 4th case (RYR) has lodged this month against the (EC) in the (CFI) for failure to act on its complaints about illegal subsidies to flag carriers. The other 3 cases involve Olympic Airlines (OLY), Air France (AFA), and Lufthansa (DLH).

According to (RYR), (ALI)'s subsidies included a split-up of the company's assets and operations and an uneven allocation of debt, resulting in a €1.7 billion/$2.51 billion debt write-off. (RYR) said it called on the (EC) to investigate this "blatant abuse" of (EU) competition rules >2 years ago, but the (EC) has failed to do so. The previous four proceedings relate to the (EC)'s alleged failure to act on (RYR)'s complaints about government subsidies, that benefited Air France (AFA) (an alleged €1 billion in reduced domestic airport charges), Lufthansa (DLH) (€100 million related to use of Munich's Terminal 2), Olympic Airways (OLY) (€500 million in state aid), and Volare Airlines (VLR) (€20 million write-off of airport debts).

4 737-8ASs (36079, EI-DWO; 36080, EI-DWM; 36081, EI-DWR; 36082, EI-DWP), deliveries.

December 2007: Ryanair (RYR) called on the European Commission (EC) to block Air France (AFA)/(KLM) from buying Alitalia (ALI) "until both airlines have paid back a combined €2.7 billion/$3.9 billion in illegal state aid received from the French and Italian governments." (RYR) filed documents in the European Court of First Instance stating that the (EC) has failed to act on a complaint it submitted 18 months ago alleging "€1 billion worth of state aid to Air France (AFA) in the form of unlawful reduced domestic airport charges." It also previously lodged a similar complaint with the (EC) claiming that Alitalia (ALI) had received "€1.7 billion [in] illegal state aid in the form of debt writeoffs." (RYR) said that "despite these flagrant breaches of state aid rules, the (EC) has failed to act on either case in the last 2 years."

(RYR) will launch service from Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Bergerac, Limoges, Perpignan, Porto, and Zaragoza on March 5, when it will base a 5th 737-800 at (CRL). It will operate 26 routes to/from the airport next summer, accounting for the cancellation of its service to London Stansted, effective March 5.

(RYR) said it plans to add +50 new routes next year, including 19 from seven UK airports. New destinations will be Angouleme, Arad and Constanta. (CEO) Michael O'Leary said (RYR) expects to carry "almost" 60 million passengers in 2008. New routes announced are: Birmingham to Girona, Marseille, and Pisa; Durham Tees Valley to Alicante; Edinburgh to Alicante, Bremen, Frankfurt Hahn, Marseille, and Pisa; Liverpool to Malaga, and Nantes; London Stansted to Angouleme, and Faro; Manchester to Girona, Bremen, Marseille, and Milan Orio al Serio; Newquay to Alicante, and Girona.

(CIT) Aerospace (TCI) signed contracts with (RYR) for the purchase of 15 737-800s. (TCI) said it will take delivery of the 737-800s it is buying from (RYR) in 2008, and 2009. "All airplanes are committed to future leases," it said. "The addition of these airplanes will help (TCI) continue to meet customer demand for the 737-800." (TCI) owns or finances a fleet of >300 airplanes, including 41 737NGs. It has an additional 10 737NGs on order with Boeing (TBC) for delivery in 2010 and 2011. (TBC) said it has sold >4,300 737NGs to 109 customers.

January 2008: Ryanair (RYR) will establish its 24th European base at Bournemouth on England's south coast. From April, (RYR) will base one 737-800 there and launch service to Malaga, Murcia, Nantes, Palma, and Wroclaw, lifting to 12 the number of routes it serves from the airport. It also will add a second daily flight to Glasgow Prestwick. It expects to bring 1 million passengers per year to Bournemouth.

(RYR) will set up its 25th European base at Birmingham International (BHX) in the spring, with two 737-800s operating on 20 new routes to Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. This will be followed by a further eight 737-800s representing an investment of $560 million that (RYR) said will deliver 5 million passengers annually. (RYR) will launch flights from (BHX) to Girona and Pisa in April; to Marseille in May; to Billund, Bologna, Dinard, Sandefjord, Poitiers, Porto, Trieste, Reus and Rzeszow in June; and to Biarritz, Bratislava, Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Olbia, Perpignan, Stockholm Skavsta and Trapani in July.

February 2008: Ryanair (RYR) will start flights from Dublin to Brest, Rodez and Tours in April. It also announced a thrice-weekly, Cork - Carcassonne, that will run from the end of May to the first week of September.

(RYR) will establish its 26th European and fifth Spanish base at Reus (REU), outside Tarragona. From October, (RYR) will base two new 737-800s at the airport and add five new routes, bringing the number of destinations served from Reus to 12. New flights will go to Palma, Paris Beauvais, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, and Seville. (RYR) will add a Birmingham service in June. (RYR) also has a base in Girona, approximately 100 km northeast of Barcelona. (REU) is some 90 km southwest of Barcelona. (RYR) expects to handle 1 million passengers at (REU) next year.

(RYR) said it will set up its 27th European and second Scottish base at Edinburgh Airport in September with two new 737-800s operating on 19 routes. Eleven of the new routes were not announced previously. They are Berlin Schoenefeld (four-times-weekly), Bilund (thrice-weekly), Bournemouth (13 weekly flights), Bratislava (four-times-weekly), Krakow (thrice-weekly), Lodz (twice-weekly), Malaga (four-times-weekly), Palma (thrice-weekly), Poznan (thrice-weekly), Stockholm (four-times-weekly), and Wroclaw (twice-weekly).

March 2008: Ryanair (RYR) will close its Dublin Telesales Operation at the end of May and cut up to -40 positions as part of a cost-reduction program. (CEO), Michael O'Leary said phone bookings now account for fewer than <1% of sales. (RYR) will maintain call centers in Germany and Romania, which he said are -60% cheaper to operate than the Dublin office.

(RYR) will launch Paris Beauvais - Marseille, and Frankfurt Hahn - Berlin Schoenefeld, its first domestic flights in France and Germany respectively, in May.

April 2008: Ryanair (RYR) will add five new 737-800s at its Girona base by 2012, when it expects to carry 8 million passengers aboard 14 airplanes operating on 75 routes. It started serving the Catalan airport in 2002.

(RYR) will increase its baggage check-in fee to €10/$15.62 from €9 and its airport check-in fee to €5 from €4, effective May 5. It said that 40% currently use the free Internet check-in service.

May 2008: Ryanair (RYR) will begin charging passengers who check in online the same £4/€5 for its priority boarding service as those who check in at the airport, effective June 3. It previously had been free of charge for Web check-in customers. (RYR) makes 40% of its seats (80) available for priority boarding on each flight.

(RYR) will launch thrice-daily, Dublin - Kerry on July 22. (RYR) will launch London Stansted - Zweibrucken service on October 28. (RYR) will launch the following new routes on October 27: Bremen to Fuerteventura, Gothenburg, Marrakesh, and Tenerife; Bournemouth to Milan Orio al Serio, and Paris Beauvais; Glasgow Prestwick to Faro, Malaga, and Tenerife; Marseille to Agadir, Brest, Lille, Nador, and Tangier. It also will operate flights from London Stansted to Beziers and Rimini in June, July, and August.

June 2008: One-time items, including a huge writedown of its stake in Aer Lingus (ARL), resulted in a rare profit drop at Ryanair (RYR) in the fiscal year ended March 31, when it earned +€390.7 million/+$607.2 million, down -10.3% from the +€435.6 million net posted in the preceding 12 months. (RYR) said that "based on forward bookings," it expects average fares to increase around +5% and, if oil remains at $130 per barrel, "then we expect to accordingly break even for fiscal 2009." As recently as March, it was forecasting a +€235 million profit. Still, it remains one of the industry's most profitable carriers, which it said "is a testimony to the strength of the (RYR) lowest fare model."

(RYR) added 30 airplanes during the year (operating 163 737-800s at year end), launched 201 new routes, and enjoyed a +20% increase in passengers to 50.9 million. Fuel costs increased +14% to €791.3 million, but hedging that "insulated us from the worst of these price rises" and the decision to ground seven airplanes at London Stansted (STN) mitigated the effects.

(RYR) announced the following new routes for its winter schedule: From Bristol to Gdansk, Marrakesh, and Szczecin; Brussels Charleroi to Fez, Gdansk, Manchester, Marrakesh, Riga, Tangier, and Wroclaw; Frankfurt Hahn to Birmingham, Klagenfurt, and Prague; London Luton to Beziers, Derry, Kaunas, Rzeszow, Szczecin, and Trapani; Madrid to London Stansted and Milan Orio al Serio; Milan Orio al Serio to Berlin, Brindisi, Fez, Ibiza, and Madrid; Rome Ciampino to Alghero.

(RYR) launched its 25th base at Birmingham International (BHX) and said it will start service to Alicante, Derry, Fuerteventura, Katowice, Kaunas, Krakow, Palma, Malaga, and Murcia in October with one 737-800. It will base two airplanes at (BHX) initially, rising to 10 by 2012. It will invest $700 million in the operation, which is expected to handle 5 million passengers annually by 2012.

(RYR) will launch service from Nottingham East Midlands to Faro, Fuerteventura, and Prague at the end of October. At the same time, it will begin flying from Liverpool to Faro, Gdansk, Scezecin, and Knock. Meanwhile, (RYR) said it will suspend all services to Arad, just north of Timisoara, on July 31, for what it called a "lack of cooperation" from the county government. It will replace the service with a thrice-weekly, Bergamo - Berlin Schoenefeld.

(RYR) will launch daily, West Knock - Liverpool on October 27 and in November will fly from Shannon to Gdansk, Katowice, and Lodz.

(RYR) launched a new Flight Tracker service with Sentient Solutions that will deliver flight information to UK and Irish mobile phones. Flight status updates cost £1.50/€2 (approximately $3) per call/Short Message Service (SMS).

July 2008: Ryanair (RYR) announced the acquisition of 3.5 million ordinary shares in Aer Lingus (ARL) worth €175,000/$275,919, lifting its stake in (ARL) to 29.82%.

(RYR) will cut its winter schedule at Dublin (DUB), reducing based airplanes to 18 from 22, and the number of weekly flights to 1,190 from 1,352. It estimated a passenger decline of around -500,000 from winter 2007 through 2008. It said (DUB) is the second most expensive of its base airports and that a written request to the airport to have fees reduced was "dismissed by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) monopoly." It said the airport charges up to €15/$23.84 per departing passenger.

After recently announcing a service cut at Dublin, (RYR) unveiled a series of winter schedule reductions and temporary base closures that it used as a platform to attack airport monopolies and increasing charges. The largest cutback will be at London Stansted (STN), an airport (RYR) said "is the most expensive" of its 28 bases and where charges jumped +15% this year and +100% last year, according to the airline. (RYR) will base 28 airplanes at (STN) this winter compared to 36 last year and reduce the number of weekly flights by -14% to 1,590. It will introduce seasonal service to Katowice (daily from October 27), Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Tenerife, Malaga (all thrice-weekly from October 28), and Basel (thrice-weekly from December 21) - - flights factored into the reduction - - and said it expects winter passenger numbers to drop by approximately -900,000 year-over-year. (RYR) said it offered to operate the airplanes "in return for a substantial discount on airport charges applicable to these flights for the winter season only" but that airport operator British Airports Authority (BAA) refused. "When a regulated monopoly makes it more profitable for airlines to sit airplanes on the ground, rather than fly them through the winter, then obviously the (UKCAA)'s laughable regulatory regime has failed," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said.

In addition, (RYR) will close its operations from November 4 to December 19 at Basel, Budapest, Krakow, Palma, Rzeszow, Salzburg, and Valencia, citing the fact that "costs at these airports are amongst the most expensive in Europe, and far outweigh the potential revenue which passengers are prepared to pay, particularly during the off-peak winter period."

(RYR) also announced the launch of new service from Leeds Bradford to Girona (four-times-weekly, beginning October 1) and Alicante (thrice-weekly, from October 28).

(GE) Aviation (GEC) and (RYR) signed a three-year extension to include all current firm and option airplanes on order by (RYR) in its current OnPoint Solutions "all-inclusive" Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) agreement for (CFM56-7B)s powering its 737-800s. The original agreement was signed in 2004 and the new deal keeps it in force until 2017.

August 2008: Ryanair (RYR), which said last month that it expected an annual result of between breakeven and a -€60 million loss for the year ending March 31, 2009, now expects to do no worse than breakeven. (CEO), Michael O'Leary told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that (RYR) "will be one of the very few airlines in Europe to grow strongly this winter and at least to break even, if not to make a small profit." (RYR) is reducing its winter season fares by -5% to stimulate demand.

(RYR) will open two new Italian bases, at Forli next March, and at Bologna in June 2010. Forli's single 737-800 will serve 3 to 6 domestic destinations. In the meantime, (RYR) will transfer seven international routes from Forli to Bologna on October 27, when it will operate five-times-weekly to London Stansted, four-times-weekly to Girona, Brussels, Charleroi, and Valencia, thrice-weekly to Birmingham and Frankfurt Hahn, and twice-weekly to Dublin. In 2010, Bologna will become its 30th European base with two airplanes, eventually rising to five that will transport an estimated 2 million passengers per year on 25 routes.

(RYR) will cease daily flights from Cork to Nottingham East Midlands and Glasgow Prestwick on October 26 and October 28, respectively, citing "the +20% increase in charges being imposed on these two routes by Cork Airport."

September 2008: Ryanair (RYR) will launch twice-weekly, London Stansted - Agadir on October 28.

(RYR) is scheduled to take delivery of 122 new 737-800s through 2011, adding to its existing fleet of 166.

(RYR) called on the (EC) to abandon its "damaging" plans to include aviation in the European Union emissions trading scheme (EU ETS)" and actually do something positive - - let grossly inefficient and polluting airlines like Alitalia (ALI) and Olympic Airways (OLY) go out of business, instead of allowing governments to continuously prop them up through billions in illegal state aid." It also called on the (EC) to address the 12% of emissions that (RYR) claims are the result of inefficient Air Traffic Control (ATC).

(RYR) said that owing to delayed deliveries caused by the Boeing (TBC) machinists' strike, it will defer the opening of its Reus (REU) base by five weeks to November 5 and postpone the basing of its seventh airplane at Bergamo by four weeks to October 29. (RYR) already had confirmed it was postponing the opening of its Edinburgh (EDI) base by six weeks to November 5 owing to the strike.

October 2008: (RYR) will expand its Madrid Barajas (MAD) base with two new 737-800s on November 18 and launch twice-daily service to Alicante, Palma, Santiago, and Valencia. (RYR) also will increase frequencies to Dublin, Santander, and Bergamo. Expansion will see (RYR)'s (MAD) network grow to six domestic and 17 international routes on six based airplanes.

(RYR) will open bases in Alghero (AHO) and Cagliari (CAG) in March, creating eight domestic and 11 international routes to/from Sardinia. (AHO) and (CAG) become (RYR)'s sixth and seventh Italian bases. (RYR) will base two new 737s at (CAG) and launch service to Brussels Charleroi, Genoa, Karlsruhe Baden, Paris Beauvais, Rome Ciampino (CIA), Trieste, Brescia (all start March 30), Cuneo, Dusseldorf Weeze, Edinburgh, Marseille, Seville, Treviso (March 31), and Manchester (April 1). (RYR) will base one new airplane at (AHO) and fly to Treviso (from March 30), Charleroi, Beauvais (March 31), Genoa, and Oslo Torp (April 1). (RYR) also announced the addition of a fifth daily (CIA) - Bergamo, and a new twice-daily, (CIA) - Trapani beginning December 4.


(RYR) said it "may" decide to close its Valencia (VLC) base over a dispute with the regional government, which (RYR) claimed "has opted to support other airlines, who have not provided a fraction of the growth which (RYR) has to the airport" and has failed to reply to its "proposal on how to ensure the continued growth" at (VLC). (RYR) operates 22 international routes to/from (VLC), "all of which are at risk."

Later, (RYR) announced the closure of its Valencia base, following through on its threat in a dispute with the Valencian regional government. (RYR) said it will pull more than >70 weekly flights from the airport on November 4 and invest $140 million in another base, set to be unveiled this week. It opened the base in August 2007, but claimed local tourism authorities refused to make funds available to promote travel to the region, in cooperation with (RYR), while simultaneously granting €12 million in marketing support to Air Nostrum.

(RYR) will launch flights from Bologna to Bari, Brindisi, Dusseldorf Weeze, Granada, Lamezia, Paris Beauvais, Trapani (all starting March 30), Edinburgh, Katowice, Oslo Torp (all March 31), and Constanta (April 1).

November 2008: The UK Competition Commission concluded that airports operator, the British Airports Authority (BAA) should be allowed to increase charges at London Stansted (STN) in the five-year period, starting next April 1, albeit at a lower rate than it proposed. In its report to the (CAA), the Commission recommended an increase in the maximum level of charges at (STN) to £6.56/$10.57 per passenger in 2009 to 2010, +3.5% higher than projected 2008 to 2009 charges of £6.34. The charges then would increase by no more than the retail price index inflation plus +1.75% each year, reaching a maximum of £7.05 per passenger in 2013 to 2014.

However, the Commission did not agree with (RYR)'s accusation of excessive pricing and said that the (BAA)'s conduct regarding airport charges in 2008 through 2009, was not contrary to the public's interest. It did say that (STN) "pursued a course of conduct which has operated against the public interest in three respects in the period February 2002 to April 2008" by failing to consult adequately with airlines on the development of the airport and its capital expenditure plans, by failing to manage as effectively as possible the security queuing process, and by failing to offer appropriate landing charges for larger cargo airplanes.

(RYR) said it will base two new 737-800s at Trapani from May, and has cancelled plans to operate a base at Forli, which "withdrew the agreement it had reached with Ryanair (RYR)." Trapani service will comprise new routes to Oslo Torp, Turin, Treviso (all starting May 1), Brussels Charleroi, and Paris Beauvais (from May 2), plus increased frequencies to Bergamo and Rome Ciampino.

(RYR) will launch flights from London Gatwick (LGW) to Girona (daily), and Alicante (twice-daily) on December 18.

(RYR) is threatening to close all of its routes to/from Fuerteventura (FUE) from January 31, unless local tourism group (AIE) honors the commercial agreement it entered into with (RYR) to promote Fuerteventura as a tourist destination. (RYR) confirmed ongoing legal action against (AIE) and its individual members for breach of agreement. (RYR) began flying to (FUE) in 2006, and currently serves nine international destinations from the airport: Birmingham, Bremen, Dublin, Dusseldorf Weeze, East Midlands, Frankfurt Hahn, Liverpool, London Stansted, and Shannon.

(RYR) will close its two routes from Blackpool (daily to Dublin, and thrice-weekly, to Girona) on January 4, following the airport's decision to impose a £10/$14.97 "Airport Development Fee" on all passengers from January 5. Blackpool is the fourth airport from which (RYR) has withdrawn or threatened to withdraw all services, following Valencia, Fuerteventura, and Maastricht.

(RYR) will begin a daily, London Gatwick - Dusseldorf Weeze service on January 7. The new route switches from Stansted, where (RYR) has reduced winter capacity -20%.

INCT: (RYR) said two cabin crew (CA) and eight passengers received medical attention "as a precaution" following a 737-800 overrun at Rome Ciampino airport (CIA). (RYR) said the airplane, on its way from Frankfurt Hahn, "suffered multiple bird strikes" and the left main landing gear "suffered substantial damage on landing." Photographs showed the left engine resting on the tarmac. There were 166 passengers onboard. Italy's (ANSV) said the airplane "exited beyond the threshold" of (CIA)'s 7,220-ft runway.

December 2008: (RYR) was forced to cancel 52 flights in and out of London Stansted (STN) after a group protesting the airport's potential expansion, cut through perimeter fences and chained themselves together near the runway. Police reportedly arrested more than >50 demonstrators and the runway reopened "just after" 8 am, airports operator (BAA) said. (RYR) was furious, claiming (STN) "is not fit for any purpose." It took authorities nearly 5 hours to remove the protestors, which (RYR) said "joins a long list of management failures at the airport."

(RYR) is considering reducing its Frankfurt Hahn-based fleet from the current 11 737-800s by "several aircraft," a spokesperson from the carrier said last week. The airport is planning to introduce a €3/$4.33 per-passenger terminal fee in the 2009 second quarter. (RYR) will make an announcement next month regarding any route cancellations. "We expect cost increase will reduce our passenger numbers at Hahn," the spokesperson said, adding that an employee reduction also is possible. It expects approximately 4 million passengers at the airport this year.

January 2009: Ryanair (RYR) extended to February 13 the deadline for (ARL) shareholders to accept its takeover offer, while confirming that on the initial closing date of January 5, it had received acceptances totaling just 29.83% of the shares in (ARL), including its own stake of 29.82%. (RYR) also confirmed that it held a meeting with representatives of Tailwind Nominees Ltd, which owns approximately 2% of (ARL) on behalf of its pilots (FC).

In an update to shareholders, (ARL) said it now expects to report a profit for 2008 "despite an operating loss of approximately €20 million/$27.5 million."

(ARL) (CEO), Dermot Mannion and (CFO), Sean Coyle agreed to waive a controversial new clause in their contracts that provided for a €2.8 million/$3.8 million parachute payment for Mannion if they left (ARL) following its acquisition. (RYR), which has offered to buy its rival, claimed the payments proved that (ARL) did not foresee a future as an independent carrier. The amount of Coyle's prospective payment was unclear.

(RYR) announced expansions at its Edinburgh, Bristol and Alicante bases representing five additional 737-800s and an investment of $350 million. Edinburgh will double to four 737-800s in March and will see new service launched to Rome Ciampino (four-times-weekly on March 30), Limoges (twice-weekly on March 30), Carcassonne, Leipzig (both thrice-weekly on March 31), Malta (twice-weekly on March 31), Poitiers and Zadar (both twice-weekly on April 1). Frequencies will be increased to Alicante and Dusseldorf Weeze. Bristol also will double to four 737-800s in July and will have new flights to Eindhoven (thrice-weekly from March 31), Cagliari (twice-weekly from July 1), Reus, Montpellier, Toulon (all thrice-weekly from July 2), Perpignan, Rimini, Seville (all twice-weekly from July 3), Limoges (thrice-weekly from July 2), Alicante (daily from July 3), Trieste and Malta (both twice-weekly from July 5). (RYR) will add a fourth 737-800 at Alicante in June and launch service to Derry, Knock (both twice-weekly from June 4) and Wroclaw (twice-weekly from June 5). (RYR) announced the launch of a daily, London Gatwick (LGW) - Marseille service, its seventh route from (LGW), on March 30.

O'Leary said it "will now focus all of our energies on continuing to successfully grow and develop Ireland's biggest airline and we will ensure that Ireland will still be home to one of Europe's big four airline groups," while (ARL) "will be isolated as a small, peripheral, loss-making airline." (RYR) claimed it will create +1,000 jobs in Ireland over the next five years.

(RYR) will base a third 737-800 at Reus in June supporting new service to Bournemouth (beginning March 31), Eindhoven (June 4), Poznan (June 5) and Nador (June 6). It also announced the launch of flights from Bournemouth to Faro (March 31) and Limoges (April 2), a Faro - Bremen flight beginning March 31 and a London Luton - Limoges service starting May 3.

February 2009: Ryanair (RYR) announced a reduction of its Shannon (SNN) base owing to a €10/$12.94 "tourist tax" that (RYR) claimed "is devastating forward bookings" at the Irish airport. From March 30, it will reduce its based airplanes to four from six, cut five routes (to 25), 20 weekly flights (to 116) and more than >100 employees (to fewer than <200). "Irish tourism can only succeed if Ireland is a low-cost destination," (RYR) said, adding that the cuts "would be immediately reversed" if the tax is repealed.

(RYR) continued its campaign against uncooperative authorities, announcing a summer capacity cut at Dublin (DUB) that (RYR) is blaming on "high and rising charges" at the airport and the Irish government's €10/$12.91 "tourist tax" scheduled to be imposed from March 30. (RYR) said it would reduce the number of based airplanes and routes at Shannon owing to the tax, which it said will "decimate traffic and tourism."

Its cuts at (DUB), where it is the largest airline, will be significant: It will reduce the number of based airplanes to 18 from 22, the number of weekly rotations by -18% to fewer than <600 and the number of annual passengers by -20% to 8.7 million. It did not appear that any routes would be cancelled entirely. The moves will result in -200 job losses and may be just the beginning. "Further cuts in (RYR)'s (DUB) winter schedule will be announced later," it said.

"The combination of DUB)'s high costs and awful facilities has already created a traffic collapse at Dublin Airport this winter," (RYR) CEO, Michael O'Leary said, citing a -9% year-over-year decline in December throughput. "This travel tax, when introduced, will exacerbate the traffic decline at Dublin." He said the cuts at both (DUB) and (SNN) will be called off if the government repeals the tax.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) reacted angrily to the announcement, calling it a "publicity stunt." It argued that the December passenger decline "is directly related to the global economic downturn" and claimed that (DUB) "has the lowest passenger charge of any major airport in Europe." It cited (IATA) (ITA) data indicating that (DUB)'s 2008 traffic rose +1% compared to the average -2.7% decrease across Europe. Further, it said that (RYR) "has opposed every single development aimed at improving the passenger experience" at (DUB), while since 2006, (RYR) has increased its baggage check-in charges by +600%, the credit card booking fee by +285% and the change fee by +66%. "(DAA)'s three Irish airports will not receive a single cent from the new tax and will continue to be funded from passenger charges, commercial income and borrowings," the (DAA) said.

(RYR) pulled out of Fuerteventura last month following a dispute with the local tourist authority and has had similar issues with several other airports.

(RYR) announced summer cutbacks at Liverpool (LPL) owing to unfavorable exchange rates and the UK government's £10/$14.22 air passenger duty that (RYR) said is "devastating" traffic at the airport. (RYR) will reduce the number of airplanes based at (LPL) to six from seven and the number of weekly flights by -14% to 163, resulting in -50 job cuts. It recently has drawn down its service at several other airports for similar reasons and like those cases, said it would restore its service at (LPL) should the passenger tax be repealed.

(RYR) said Ireland's Minister of Finance repealed the €10 "tourist tax" at "small and peripheral airports" like Donegal and Sligo but left it in place at Dublin and Shannon. (RYR) this month announced cuts in its service at both airports.

(RYR) will launch daily, London Gatwick - Marseille service on March 30.

(RYR) launched "OnAir"'s in-flight mobile phone service on board 20 Dublin-based airplanes. The technology enables passengers to use mobile phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)s to make and receive calls at international roaming rates as well as Short Message Service (SMS) and e-mail. Service will be available initially to customers of OnAir and some 50 other mobile operators across Europe before being installed across the carrier's fleet of more than >170 airplanes. Prices depend on individual billing plans.

(RYR) intends to close all its airport check-in counters by year end in a cost-cutting move. "All we will have is a bag drop where passengers can drop off their luggage, otherwise everything will be done online. Ultimately, we want just one in five people to check in luggage," (CEO), Michael O'Leary told "The Daily Telegraph."

Approximately 75% of (RYR)'s passengers currently use online check-in. "We are trying to encourage the remaining 25% to do the same," O'Leary added. According to (RYR)'s website, passengers can check in online from 14 days to up to 4 hours prior to departure.

(RYR) is introducing third-party advertising on its website and has appointed global digital advertising agency "Ad2One" to handle the sales, initially in the UK and Ireland. Expansion to other European markets will follow. "The revenue (RYR) earns from online advertising will help defray our website costs and ensure that (RYR) continues to offer passengers Europe's guaranteed lowest fares," Deputy CEO & COO, Michael Cawley said, adding that in recent years (RYR) received "lots of unsolicited advertising requests from non-travel brands."

(RYR) has redesigned its home page across all of its country sites to create a cleaner look. The redesign was carried out in-house.

(RYR) said it "recently" exercised options for 13 737s scheduled for delivery in 2011.

(RYR) Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley told reporters that (RYR) is talking with both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) about placing an order for 300 to 400 airplanes within the next two years for delivery in 2012 to 2017. It will sell older airplanes to clear some space but eventually is targeting 200 million passengers per year. (RYR) transported 57.7 million in 2008 and currently operates 181 737-800s. Cawley said there was no impediment to operating both (TBC) and (EDS) types; "We're large enough now to run two fleets."

March 2009: Ryanair (RYR) pilots (FC) voted "overwhelmingly" to accept a 12-month pay freeze and productivity increases in lieu of the -10% pay cut originally sought by the airline. "We are still lowering air fares, which means we will suffer losses in both our third and fourth quarters of the current year," Director Flight Operations & Ground Operations, David O'Brien said. "Our pilots (FC) have recognized the difficulties we face and are making their contribution." Pilots (FC) at each of (RYR)'s 31 bases participated in the voting, according to the airline.

O'Brien said (RYR) is targeting a -5% reduction in unit costs in the fiscal year beginning April 1, adding that management employees already have "accepted significant pay cuts."

(RYR) confirmed that it plans to close all airport check-in counters by October 1, forcing all passengers to check in online. Check-in will be available from 15 days to 4 hour prior to scheduled departure. Beginning March 19, Web check-in will be available to non-(EU)/(EEA) citizens, passengers with checked baggage - - £5/€5 / $6.99/$6.32 per person per flight - - and reduced mobility customers. Airport check-in will cost £10/€10 per person per flight. From May 1, all new bookings will be required to use Internet check-in, with the £5/€5 fee applying. Airport fees will double. Desks will be gone by October, with bag drop points available to those checking luggage. (RYR) said that "up to" 75% of passengers currently check in online.

(RYR) relaunched its daily, London Stansted - Newquay, Cornwall service. (RYR) is gone from the Cork - Birmingham/East Midlands route.

(RYR) and the European Commission (EC) are trying to mend their fractured relationship and said they have agreed to a series of discussions on "air traffic in Europe, the development of the aviation sector in the internal market and the role of regional airports." (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary and (EC) VP Transport Antonio Tajani met recently in Brussels and agreed to conduct more detailed meetings starting next month.

(RYR) confirmed it will add an eighth 737-800 to its Brussels South Charleroi (CRL) base in June and launch service to Brindisi, La Rochelle (each twice-weekly), Palma (four-times-weekly), Santiago de Compostela and Turin (each thrice-weekly), while increasing frequencies to Fez, Manchester and Riga. (RYR) expects to boost its annual traffic at (CRL) to 3 million passengers. It also will open seven new routes to/from Memmingen. New May flights from the Bavarian airport will be to Girona (five-times-weekly), Dublin (six-times-weekly) and London Stansted (10-times-weekly). In June service will start to Alghero (thrice-weekly), Reus (four-times-weekly) and Pisa (four-times-weekly) and in July to Alicante (thrice-weekly).

(RYR) will reduce its operation at Dublin (DUB) further from July in "response to the decision of the government-owned Irish Aviation Authority to increase Air Traffic Control (ATC) charges by +12% this summer, at more than >12 times the rate of inflation," (RYR) said.
It announced an initial cut at (DUB) last month and said Ireland's €10/$12.92 passenger tax "and other government price hikes" contributed to a -12% fall in passengers at the airport in February.
The reductions comprise the cancellation of service to Basel, Doncaster, Porto and Durham Tees Valley and fewer frequencies to Aberdeen, Biarritz, Billund, Bournemouth, Carcassonne, Nottingham East Midlands, Malaga and Rome Ciampino. One airplane based at (DUB) will be transferred to "a low-cost . . . European base in July," (RYR) said, adding to the four already set to depart. It now will base 17 airplanes at (DUB) this summer, while the number of weekly rotations will drop -20% to fewer than 600 from more than >700. Its (DUB) passenger boardings are expected to fall -23% year-over-year to 8.3 million and -50 more jobs will be eliminated. "Further cuts in (RYR)'s Dublin winter schedule will be announced later," it said.

(RYR) will launch thrice-weekly flights from Nottingham East Midlands (EMA) to Reus and Palma in July. It will cease serving Paris Beauvais from (EMA). (RYR) also said all Beauvais service will be suspended June 3 through 10 as the airport closes to upgrade its landing systems. (RYR) said the upgrade will enable more flights "to land safely in adverse weather conditions." It also announced the launch of flights to Limoges from Edinburgh (twice-weekly on March 30), Bournemouth (twice-weekly on April 2), London Luton (thrice-weekly on May 3), and Bristol (thrice-weekly on July 2).

(RYR) opened its bases at Alghero, Bologna and Cagliari, where (RYR) will base two airplanes each operating a combined 67 routes.

(CEO) Michael O'Leary said the Air Traffic Control (ATC) charge increase "is another nail in the coffin of Irish tourism" and called on the government "to promote tourism by scrapping the travel tax" and "sacking" aviation regulator, Cathal Guiomard.

(RYR) is considering charging passengers £1/$1.43 to use on board lavatories, (CEO) Michael O'Leary told the BBC. "One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future," O'Leary said. A UK (CAA) spokesperson told "The Times" that "there is no legal requirement for an aircraft to have a toilet on board, so if an airline does have a toilet they can charge to use it. (RYR) is legally able to do this."

O'Leary's statements generated worldwide publicity and (RYR) soon was downplaying the idea. A (RYR) spokesperson was quoted as saying, "Michael makes a lot of this stuff up as he goes along and, while this has been discussed internally, there are no immediate plans to introduce it." However, the spokesperson did say, "Passengers using train and bus stations are already accustomed to paying to use the toilet, so why not on airplanes? Not everyone uses the toilet on board one of our flights, but those that do could help to reduce airfares for all passengers."

(RYR) presented a "rescue plan for Irish tourism," part of its ongoing campaign to convince the government to scrap the €10/$12.50 "tourist tax" set to kick in on March 30. (RYR) cited the levy when announcing flight cuts at Dublin and Shannon and claimed its plan would grow air traffic and tourism to Ireland by +20% over the next two years. In addition to calling for the tax repeal, it urged eliminating the Dublin Airport Metro plan, which it said will cost €5 billion, and closing the "useless Aviation Regulator's office." It also wants Dublin Airport Authority to lower passenger charges by -30%. It said it would cancel its planned flight cuts if the measures were adopted.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary continued to insist he was serious about charging for on board lavatory use but issued a rare mea culpa regarding (RYR)'s investment in rival Aer Lingus (ARL). Many observers believe that the outspoken O'Leary merely was stirring the pot when he suggested charging £1/$1.41 to use the bathroom in-flight, but in a press briefing on March 5 he claimed he already has been in touch with Boeing (TBC) about modifying the lavatory doors on (RYR)'s 737s. "The problem is (TBC) can't come up with a mechanism on the toilet door to take coins," he told reporters. "We're suggesting they go back and look at a mechanism where you'd swipe the credit card for a quid on the toilet door. They've gone off to look at that . . . We are serious." He estimated that (RYR) could earn some £15 million annually, assuming 20% of the (RYR)'s passengers pay up. "Eventually it's going to happen. It's just we can't do it at the moment because we don't have a mechanism for charging you," he said.

Separately, O'Leary criticized his decision to have (RYR) acquire a 29.8% stake in (ARL), which it has tried to take over unsuccessfully twice. "It was a stupid investment," he was quoted as saying. "At the time, it was the right strategy to go for one combined airline but it has now proven to be a disaster." In November, (ARL) forecast a 2008 operating loss of approximately -€20 million/-$25.2 million.

(RYR), which last year made an unsuccessful bid for its smaller competitor, called on (ARL) Chairman, Colm Barrington to apologize for "misleading" shareholders and the market when he claimed the carrier would earn a 2008 profit. (RYR) noted that in the document urging the Irish government to reject (RYR)'s offer bid, Barrington stated flatly, "(ARL) is and will be profitable." (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said, "We intend to submit formal complaints to the London and Irish Stock Exchange, the Takeover Panel and the Financial Services Regulator about the patently false claims and misleading advice given by (ARL) to shareholders."

April 2009: Ryanair (RYR) confirmed that TUI UK (TUG) agreed to stop "screen-scraping" its website in settlement of legal proceedings filed against it. The English High Court approved the cease-and-desist agreement that was signed by TUI (TUG) on March 26.

(RYR) said it will allow "price comparison only" websites to access its timetable, seat availability and fare information but will continue to ban reselling through so-called screen-scraper sites. (RYR) will introduce a license agreement for an annual charitable donation of €100/$131 to the "price comparison only" websites.

(RYR) will open a base at Pescara in July, using one airplane to support seven routes including four new ones. It will be (RYR)'s 32nd base overall and eighth in Italy. New service will be to Cagliari, Treviso (both twice-weekly), Eindhoven (thrice-weekly) and Bergamo (four-times-weekly).

(RYR) threatened to close its base at Dusseldorf Weeze, where it bases six airplanes and handles 2.5 million passengers per year, if a decision by the (OVG) Court in Munster to restrict the airport's operating hours is not overturned by April 29. (RYR) said it stopped accepting bookings on all flights affected by the change in operating hours. It opened the base in 2007 and added a fifth and sixth 737-800 last winter.

(RYR) installed OnAir in-flight mobile telephone, Short Message Service (SMS) and e-mail service on five 737s based at Rome Ciampino.

Low-cost carriers (LCC)s represented 35% of all intra-European capacity last year, virtually unchanged from 2007, according to the 2009 edition of "RDC Aviation's Low Cost Monitor." Growth across all sectors "slowed sharply toward the end of 2008," with aggregate annual capacity growing just +2.2% (ASK), the smallest increase this decade. Within this overall figure, however, the low-fare sector increased available seat capacity by +11% year-over-year while capacity in the non-low-cost sector dropped -2%. Significantly, the report noted that Ryanair (RYR) assumed the No 1 position for intra-European capacity (if Air France (AFA) and (KLM) are counted separately) by "overtaking Lufthansa (DLH) thanks to a +16.5% rise in seats available." EasyJet (EZY) is the fourth-largest intra-European carrier while Air Berlin (BER) moved up two places to the No 7 position in 2008 through the integration of (LTU). (RYR), (EZY) and (BER) accounted for just under 150 million seats in 2008, or 17.7% of total capacity within Europe. Seven of the top ten intra-Europe carriers are network airlines, but their combined capacity fell -4% last year. Interestingly, although the three largest (LCC)s fly 1,675 routes, competition among them remains small. "(RYR) and (EZY) go head-to-head on 28 routes while (BER) competes with (RYR) on two and (EZY) on five, according to the "Monitor." These three accounted for 54% of intra-European low-cost capacity last year, up from 51% in 2007. For more information about the Low Cost Monitor, contact chris.haynes@rdcaviation.com.


May 2009: Ryanair (RYR) confirmed it will not scale back operations at Dusseldorf Weeze (NRN) following the issuance of a new operating licence for (NRN) that allows (RYR) to operate its full flight schedule. Last month, it threatened to close the base after the (OVG) Court in Munster decided to reduce operating hours at the airport. (RYR) currently operates six airplanes at (NRN).

(RYR) will launch service from Brussels South Charleroi to Ancona (twice-weekly from July 8) and Figari (thrice-weekly seasonal from July 9).

(RYR) called for the early sale of London Stansted after (BAA) figures confirmed that passenger traffic at the airport dropped -14% year-over-year in the first four months of 2009, including a -13% decline in April.

The Spanish government is eliminating airport taxes for all carriers that increase or maintain the level of traffic at the country's "largest airports" during the second half of 2009 compared to the year-ago period, (RYR) said. (RYR) again called upon the Irish government to end its €10/$13.49 air passenger duty, citing recent efforts by Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain to reduce charges "to reverse recent traffic and tourism declines."

June 2009: Ryanair (RYR) reported a full-year net loss for the first time since its Initial Public Offering (IPO) 20 years ago, a -€169.2 million/-$239.8 million deficit in the year ended March 31 that represented a sharp reversal from the +€391 million profit posted in 2007 to 2008 as it wrote down the value of its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) by €222.5 million.

(RYR) now values its holding in its smaller rival at just €93.2 million. It also recorded a -€51.6 million loss related to airplane disposals. Excluding those one-off items, it made an adjusted net profit of +€104.9 million in fiscal 2008 to 2009, down -78% from the +€480.9 million earned a year earlier on a similar basis.

Revenue rose +8% to €2.94 billion on a +15% increase in passengers booked to 58.5 million. Operating expenses jumped +31.3% to €2.85 billion mainly owing to a 59% lift in fuel costs. Operating profit plunged to +€92.6 million from +€537.8 million.

As always, (CEO), Michael O'Leary remained upbeat and concluded that the result excluding exceptional items symbolized a "robust performance during a year of record high oil prices" while forecasting that (RYR)'s 2009 to 2010 profit on a similar basis will rise to +€200 to +€300 million as it cuts the average fare -15% to -20% and its fuel bill falls by -€450 million.

(RYR) has 90% of its fuel needs for the first three quarters hedged at an average jet fuel cost of $620 per tonne and 5% for the fourth quarter at about $490 per tonne. Overall unit cost excluding fuel is guided to fall by -5%. The closure of all airport check-in desks by October will result in a -€40 to -€50 million cost reduction. It expects passenger boardings to grow +15% to 67 million.

In 2008 to 2009, unit cost excluding fuel declined -3% and average fare fell -8% to €40. Ancillary revenue grew +23% to €598 million, surpassing (RYR)'s 20% target (18% last year) one year ahead of schedule. O'Leary said early returns from its onboard mobile telephony trial, which commenced at the end of February and now is available on more than >40 airplanes based in Ireland and Italy, have demonstrated that consumers "love this service and penetration rates continue to rise." He said the airline intends to start charging for the use of onboard toilets within two years.

(RYR) announced winter cuts at both Dublin (DUB) and Shannon (SNN), blaming Ireland's €10/$13.84 "tourist tax" for a -11% year-over-year fall in passenger traffic at (DUB) in the first five months of 2009. From the start of the winter schedule, it will reduce the number of airplanes based at (DUB) to 16 from 17 and at (SNN) to three from four. It will cut 44 weekly flights from its (DUB) schedule and 36 from (SNN), resulting in -350 and -300 job losses, respectively. "Further cuts can be expected in the coming months if the €10 tourist tax is not scrapped. If the tourist tax is scrapped these cuts, and the tourism collapse, will be reversed," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said.

(RYR) launched 223 new routes during the year, opened six new bases and added 18 new airplanes to bring its fleet to 181 737-800s. It completed the financing of 45 more, scheduled to deliver between October 2009 and September 2010.

(RYR) will "freeze growth" at its nine UK bases "with immediate effect" in response to a drop of 4.5 million passengers at the British Airport Authority (BAA)'s seven UK airports through the year's first five months. (RYR) blamed both the airports operator and the country's £10/$16.43 air passenger duty for the decline. "While the UK keeps taxing tourists, (RYR) will switch its growth to other (EU) countries where low-cost airports are growing and where governments are welcoming tourists, not taxing them," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said.

Meanwhile, O'Leary told reporters that (RYR) plans to "move away from check-in luggage to more carry-on luggage" next spring in an effort to save an additional -€20 million/-$27.8 million per year. "It only sounds revolutionary. I can assure you it's not," he was quoted as saying. The system reportedly will require passengers to carry their own bags onto the airplane and will leave space open in the hold for bags that do not fit in overhead compartments. (RYR) is eliminating airport check-in desks in October. UK (CAA) spokesperson told "Bloomberg News" that, "Currently every airport has a different policy on hand luggage depending on their unique requirements. These policies are negotiated on a unilateral basis between the airport operator, airlines and the Department for Transport."

"European air travel is increasingly dominated by four major airlines comprising three high-fare airline groups and one very large low-fares airline, (RYR)," O'Leary stated. "RYR)'s continued fare cuts and traffic growth has seen us overtake Lufthansa (DLH)'s traffic figures in March 2009 to finally become Europe's largest airline by both traffic and market cap."

(RYR) is "having a serious look at (DLH). We could almost buy it for cash," O'Leary told a news conference, according to "Reuters." "We are not planning any bids for (DLH) in the foreseeable future but it is the only one of the other three large airlines that we would be interested in." (RYR) market capitalization was €5.3 billion as of May 1 compared to (DLH)'s €4.5 billion and British Airways (BAB)'s €2 billion.

"15below" inked a deal with (RYR) to deliver booking confirmation numbers directly to passenger mobile phones via Short Message System (SMS) within 24 hours of booking. The cost per (SMS) will be €1/$1.40.

July 2009: Ryanair (RYR) reported a +€123 million/+$174.6 million net profit in its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, reversed from a -€90.5 million loss in the year-ago period, but it issued a warning that full-year net income will be at the lower end of its previous guidance of + Euro200 to +€300 million because its full-year decline in yield will be "at or slightly more" than >20%.

(RYR) booked a €13.5 million impairment charge on its Aer Lingus (ARL) stake, reflecting the fall in (ARL)'s share price, but that number was far lower than the exceptional items recorded in the quarter ended June 30, 2008. "Many of our competitors are guiding increased losses and declining traffic or in some cases, such as (ARL), have refused to give any guidance at all. (RYR) will be the only major European airline to deliver passenger and profit growth in the current year," (CEO), Michael O'Leary claimed.

At the end of this month, (RYR) will operate 199 737-800s to 147 destinations. It has 113 airplanes on order scheduled for delivery over the next three years.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary found himself in the headlines again after telling "Sky News" "We might take out the last five or six rows [of seats] and say to passengers, 'Do you want to stand up? If you do, you can travel for free'." O'Leary said he has asked Boeing (TBC) to look at converting or producing airplanes with "vertical seating" and asked, "Why is this any different to what happens on trains where you see thousands of people who cannot get a seat standing in the aisles?"

A spokesperson confirmed to "Agence France Presse" that (RYR) and (TBC) are in discussions "in relation to adapting the airplanes to allow people to travel in vertical seating." They "wouldn't be fully standing. They would have something like a stool to lean on or to sit on." The same spokesperson told the "Daily Mail," "It's really early days but we're looking at a +20% to +30% increase in passengers on commuter routes."

(RYR) has not yet sought approval from aviation authorities. (RYR) credited Shanghai-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Spring Airlines (CQH) for the idea. A (CQH) spokesperson reportedly told "China Central Television" that it plans to submit its plan to regulators this year and that "it's just like bar stools. The safety belt is the most important thing. It will still be fastened around the waist." (CQH) President, Wang Zhenghua said the country's Vice Premier, Zhang Dejiang, "suggested that for a lower price, passengers should be able to get on a plane like catching a bus, with no seat, no luggage consignment, no food, no water, but very convenient."

(RYR) opened a poll on its website asking passengers if they would be willing to "stand" on (RYR)'s 737s if flights were free or 50% cheaper. (RYR) said it is considering "vertical seating . . . on short flights of approximately 1 hour."

(RYR) said it "will continue to explore the concept of 'fare-free standing' flights with (TBC) and the relevant aviation authorities in the USA and the (EU)" after 66% of 120,000 passengers participating in an online poll said they would be willing to stand in the cabin on flights 1 hour or shorter if the fare was free. (RYR) said 42% would stand for half price and 60% felt standing should be an option.

(RYR) announced it will open its 33rd base at Porto (OPO) in September with two based airplanes and new service to Basel, Eindhoven, St Etienne and Tours. It currently serves 12 destinations from the airport and will offer 50 weekly flights this fall. (RYR) expects to carry 1.5 million passengers through (OPO) per year. It also added a third and fourth 737-800 to its Bristol base and launched 11 new routes. New destinations comprise Limoges, Toulon, Montpellier and Perpignan, Trieste, Rimini, Cagliari, Malta, Alicante, Barcelona Reus and Seville.

(RYR) will reduce winter schedule capacity at London Stansted (STN) by -40%, operating just 24 airplanes from the airport compared to the present 40. CEO, Michael O'Leary said the decision "shows just how much [UK Prime Minister] Gordon Brown's £10/$16.46 tourist tax and the British Airport Authority (BAA) Monopoly's high airport charges are damaging London and UK tourism and the British economy generally," while reiterating that (STN) is one of (RYR)'s two most expensive bases (along with Dublin).

(RYR) said the (BAA) rejected its call for "deep cuts in these high passenger fees" this winter. In November, the UK's air passenger duty on short-haul economy (Y) flights will increase to £11 from £10. Last winter, (RYR) cut its (STN) fleet to 28 airplanes from 36 in the summer.

(RYR) said it has complained to the European Commission (EC) about Ireland's €10/$14.23 air passenger duty, which it blamed for last month's decision to cut capacity at Dublin and Shannon. (RYR) said the tax "unfairly differentiates between Irish domestic routes and (EU) routes" and that it breaches (EU) regulations because the measure is "designed to effectively protect domestic traffic and airlines that fly domestic routes." The Irish government levies just €2 on shorter routes, which (RYR) said unfairly benefits Aer Arann, and does not tax transfer passengers and cargo, which it said benefits Aer Lingus (ARL).

(RYR) said it will open 39 new routes from the Canary Islands for the winter schedule starting in October, using airplanes removed from bases in Ireland and the UK. From Gran Canaria, it will serve Girona, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Brussels Charleroi, Dublin, Dusseldorf Weeze, Nottingham East Midlands, Frankfurt Hahn, Glasgow Prestwick, Liverpool, London Luton (LTN) and Stansted, Madrid (MAD), Porto, and Shannon. From Lanzarote it will fly to all the aforementioned airports except Porto, and from Tenerife it will launch flights to Girona, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Charleroi, (LTN), (MAD), and Porto.

(RYR) announced an expansion to its Oslo area service comprising new routes from Rygge to Brussels Charleroi (seven-times-weekly), Bremen (thrice-weekly), London Stansted (twice-daily) and Madrid (four-times-weekly) beginning in October and to Alicante (twice-weekly), Girona (twice-weekly) and Bergamo (thrice-weekly) in November. It also will launch flights from Oslo Torp to Paris Beauvais (seven-times-weekly) in September and to Krakow (four-times-weekly) Lodz (thrice-weekly) and Rome Ciampino (thrice-weekly) in November.

(RYR) launched a booking service on its website allowing passengers to purchase their seats up to 6 hours before departure and check in online up to 4 hours before the flight.

(RYR) confirmed that it has lodged proceedings in the High Court in Dublin against German ticket tout Travelviva. (RYR) said it is the first of a number of High Court cases it intends to bring over the coming weeks against European "screenscrapers."

August 2009: Ryanair (RYR) will reduce Dublin (DUB) winter capacity by -22% year-over-year, or by four airplanes to 14 based airplanes. It did not specify which routes would be affected, but weekly flights will drop below 1,000 from the approximately 1,200 operated to/from (DUB) in winter 2008 to 2009. Last month, (RYR) said it would lower the number of airplanes at (DUB) to 16. (RYR) said the newest cuts are the result of "high and rising costs at Dublin Airport, combined with an insanely stupid €10/$14.12 tourist tax" imposed by the Irish government. This week it lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission (EC) concerning the duty.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) issued a prompt response, saying (RYR)'s move "is purely related to the current economic downturn" and that recent experience demonstrates (RYR) "announces large cuts in capacity to the media but subsequently reduces capacity by a much smaller amount in reality. The (DAA) claimed (DUB)'s passenger charges have fallen by -30% in real terms over the past 20 years and that Airports Council International research indicated its charges "are among the lowest of any comparable European airport."

(RYR) reiterated that it will continue to cut flights at "high cost, tourist tax airports" in the UK and Ireland and switch airplanes to (EU) countries and airports that offer no tourist taxes and lower airport costs. To that end, (RYR) said it will operate to 43 new Spanish destinations, a notable contrast with its recently announced steep capacity reductions at Stansted and Dublin. "(RYR)'s 43 new Spanish routes will deliver 2.4 million passengers and sustain at least 2,400 jobs," CEO, Michael O'Leary said. "These 43 new routes are the result of the 100% discount offered by (AENA) on its airport charges." He added that continuation of the routes long-term is "dependent on a long-term extension of this discount scheme."

(RYR) announced that it will close nine of its 10 routes to/from Manchester (MAN) and switch them to "lower-cost competitor" airports such as Nottingham East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool on October 1, citing (MAN)'s refusal to lower its charges. (RYR) said it offered (MAN) an additional 28 weekly flights and 400,000 new passengers, if the airport reduced its charges. The transfers will result in the loss of 44 weekly Manchester flights, 600,000 passengers per year and up to 600 local jobs, (RYR) claimed. Affected routes are to/from Girona, Bremen, Brussels South Charleroi, Cagliari, Dusseldorf Weeze, Frankfurt Hahn, Marseille, Bergamo, and Shannon.

A Manchester Airport (MAN) spokesperson said the airport operator does not believe "that charges as low as £3/$4.96 per passenger are unreasonable. Clearly, (RYR) do and that's regrettable. We've consistently cut our charges for the last 15 years even when faced with increased costs such as security." (MAN) owner, Manchester Airport Group also owns East Midlands Airport (EMA).

(RYR) said it "will continue to grow at low-cost airports which work with us to deliver the low fares required to keep passengers flying during this recession." (RYR) announced the opening of its Leeds Bradford base recently.

(RYR) will launch four new routes from East Midlands this autumn - - Lodz (October 28) and Marrakesh, Rzeszow, and Bydgoszcz in early November - - lifting its winter schedule from the airport to 29 routes. It also will add an undisclosed number of services on routes to Belfast City and Nantes from October 25. (RYR) further announced it will commence daily service from London Gatwick to Stockholm Skavsta from November 5.

(RYR) reached agreement with BNP Paribas, Calyon and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation for the financing of 55 737-800s scheduled for delivery between November 2009 and October 2010. The banks were mandated to act as joint arrangers for (RYR)'s euro-dominated export credit facility from the USA Export-Import Bank. Calyon has underwritten 25 airplanes BNP and SMBC 15 each, (RYR) said, noting the $1.6 billion funding agreement is a "testimony to [its] financial strength."

(RYR) said the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) "temporarily suspended" its campaign to unionize (RYR)'s pilots (FC) "in the face of massive opposition" from the employee group. (BALPA) initially "threatened" to go to the UK Central Arbitration Committee, which could require a secret ballot among (RYR)'s UK pilots (FC), but opted against it because losing the vote would prevent them from trying again for three years, (RYR) Director Personnel, Eddie Wilson said.

September 2009: Ryanair (RYR) said it now expects to carry 66 million passengers this year rather than 67 million, owing to its cuts at London Stansted and Dublin. At its annual general meeting in Dublin, (CEO), Michael O'Leary maintained the full-year guidance of an adjusted net profit at the lower end of the +€200 to +€300 million/+$295.8 to +$443.7 million) range and said average fares in 2009 will wind up about -20% lower than 2008.

O'Leary also said (RYR) is prepared to increase its investment in struggling Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (ARL), although a third bid for (ARL) is "highly unlikely." He said, "I do think (ARL) will need a major reorganization," according to "Reuters." "They will come back to the existing shareholders which would be the government, the trade unions and (RYR), presumably to raise some more money. We'd be happy to invest more money in (ARL)," in which it holds about 29%. "I can't foresee circumstances in which we would be interested in bidding again, but you never say never," he said. "I don't believe (ARL) has a future as a standalone independent airline." He also said (RYR) is 3 to 4 years away from being able to launch a long-haul subsidiary. "While the market or orders for short-haul airplanes has collapsed for both Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS), the long-haul order book has held up," he said.

(RYR) announced an increase in its baggage fees effective October 1 on the heels of a -20% drop in the average fare this year to €32/$45.70. It also will allow passengers to check a second bag. Each of the two bags will have a 15-kg limit. The first will cost £/€30 if checked in at the airport or £/€15 on the Internet and the second will cost £/€70 at the airport or £/€35 online. Sports equipment will cost £/€50 at the airport and £/€40 online and excess luggage will cost £/€20 per kg. (RYR) said that more than >70% of its passengers currently travel with just one carry-on bag.

(RYR) will open bases at Bari and Brindisi early next year, its 35th and 36th, with a combined three airplanes and an investment of $210 million. (RYR) will base two airplanes at Bari in January and launch flights on January 14 to Brussels South Charleroi, Paris Beauvais (each four-times-weekly) Treviso (six-times-weekly), Genoa (thrice-weekly) and Karlsruhe/Baden (twice-weekly). In February, it will begin serving Trapani (four-times-weekly), Dusseldorf Weeze, Valencia (each thrice-weekly) and Cagliari (twice-weekly). (RYR) will operate 16 routes in total from the airport.

The Brindisi base will open February 4 with a single 737. (RYR) currently serves five destinations from the airport and plans to launch new service to Girona, Eindhoven (each twice-weekly), Trapani (thrice-weekly), and Treviso (four-times-weekly). (RYR) expects to handle 1.2 million passengers per year at Bari and 650,000 at Brindisi.

(RYR) began offering passengers smokeless cigarettes that "deliver a small amount of nicotine through inhalation" without being lit. Packs of 10 will be available to adult passengers for €6/$8.82.

Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) won a contract to provide line maintenance at Brussels Charleroi for eight (RYR) 737-800s. The deal includes an option for increased support if (RYR) expands at the airport.

(RYR)'s operating fleet increased to 200 airplanes with the delivery of a new 737-800 on September 6.

October 2009: Ryanair (RYR) said there is "no substance" to a "Financial Times" report claiming that it could take control of Aer Lingus (ARL) if (ARL) launched a rights issue. (RYR) is currently (ARL)'s largest shareholder with a stake of just under <30%. "Our position on (ARL) was recently confirmed at the (RYR) Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is that we are 'highly unlikely' to make a third offer," (CEO), Michael O'Leary said, adding that (ARL) "would now be profitable, growing and creating new jobs" if the Irish government had accepted either of (RYR)'s two previous offers.

(RYR) called on the Irish government to explain why it rejected its December 2008 offer for (ARL) that it maintains would have led to the doubling of (ARL)'s short-haul fleet and created +1,000 new jobs over a five-year period. The request followed the announcement by (ARL) of its restructuring plan that seeks to reduce annual operating costs excluding fuel by -€97 million/-$142.7 million) before the end of 2011 and cut its workforce by -17%. (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary asserted that if (ARL) keeps cutting costs and fails to grow, the government eventually will be asked to bail out the former state carrier. Meanwhile, United Airlines (UAL) said it will move forward with its planned transatlantic partnership with (ARL) even as (ARL) is preoccupied with cutting costs.

Ireland's three main carriers again called on the government to remove the €10/$14.80 tourist tax added to airline tickets on April 1. In a joint statement, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary, (ARL) (CEO), Christoph Mueller, and CityJet (CEO), Geoffrey O'Byrne-White said the tax has had a "devastating impact on traffic and visitor numbers at Ireland's airports" since it was introduced, including a -15% decline in monthly throughput at Dublin (DUB). They predict passenger numbers at (DUB) may fall from 24 million to approximately 21 million this year owing to the tax.

(RYR) called on the Scottish government to reintroduce the Route Development Fund, which operated in 2002 to 2007, in order to reverse the -6.3% fall in passenger traffic at Scottish airports in the first eight months of this year. It blamed the UK's £10/$16.33 air passenger duty for the decline. (RYR) said it could increase passenger numbers by 1.5 million per year and create 1,500 new jobs in Scotland if a development support scheme for new routes was restored. It repeated its plea for the UK government to abolish the duty, which is set to rise on November 1.

(RYR) said it notified Shannon Airport (SNN) that it will reduce the number of based airplanes to one from three, if the Irish government does not repeal its €10/$15 passenger tax by February 1 or if the airport does not extend (RYR)'s cost base "on a competitive basis for a further five-year period." (RYR) said it has lost money in each of the five years it has operated at SNN and it announced a cutback over the summer. It said it is seeking a -50% reduction in its costs to reflect the -70% decline in average fares from the airport in the past five years.

(RYR) will launch service from Bordeaux to Brussels South Charleroi (thrice-weekly on December 17) and plans to serve Edinburgh, Bologna (each four-times-weekly) and Porto (thrice-weekly) beginning next March.

(RYR) is not accepting Flight Crew (FC) applications. (RYR) recalled 4 pilots (FC) in September which brings the total number of furloughed pilots (FC) to 49.

November 2009: Ryanair (RYR) threatened to cancel or defer airplane orders from Boeing (TBC) if it fails to secure a fleet-renewal agreement before year end as (RYR) announced an adjusted net profit of +€250.5 million/+$368.5 million in the fiscal second quarter ended September 30, a +29.4% increase from the +€193.6 million earned in the year-ago period. Despite the improvement, (CEO), Michael O'Leary expressed frustration. "I regret to report that we have made little progress in our discussions with (TBC) for an order of 200 airplanes for delivery between 2013 and 2016," he said, adding that (RYR) informed (TBC) that if the order is not finalized by year end, "then (RYR) will end its relationship with (TBC) and confirm a series of order deferrals and cancellations. We see no point in continuing to grow rapidly in a declining yield environment where our main airplane partner is unwilling to play its part in our cost reduction program by passing on some of the enormous savings which (TBC) have enjoyed both from suppliers and more efficient manufacturing in recent years."

He added: "If we cannot invest our surplus cash efficiently in new airplanes, then we should distribute it to shareholders." By the end of November, (RYR) will operate a fleet of 210 737-800s with firm orders for a further 102 scheduled for delivery over the next 2.5 years. Some 48 airplanes were due to join its fleet next year.

(RYR) will shutter its Basel operation on December 2 and cancel its 18 weekly flights to Alicante, Cagliari, London Stansted, Marseille, Porto, and Stockholm Skavsta. (RYR) said the airport "refused to lower its high airport charges to reflect the lower fares being paid by passengers in the current recession." (RYR) offered to add 13 more weekly flights to the airport in exchange for lower charges but Basel refused, according to (RYR).

(RYR) will set up its 37th base, and first in Norway, at Oslo Rygge (RYG) in March with three airplanes and 16 new routes. (RYR) currently has services to six destinations from (RYG). New destinations will be Aarhus, Berlin Schonefeld, Dublin, Dusseldorf Weeze, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Krakow, La Rochelle, Malaga, Memmingen, Palma, Paris Beauvais, Riga, Wroclaw, Valencia, and Treviso. (RYR) said its investment at the airport will exceed $200 million and that it eventually expects to serve 1.7 million passengers per year.

December 2009: Talks between Ryanair (RYR) and Boeing (TBC) regarding an order for up to 200 737s dissolved after (TBS) changed delivery conditions, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said, while announcing an expansion of (RYR)'s base at Charleroi. "It would be the first time in history that someone has reached agreement on price and then can't get the deal done because the airplane manufacturer wants to change the delivery conditions," O'Leary told "Bloomberg News." He claimed (TBC) "want[s] to go back and renegotiate the delivery conditions of the 200 new airplanes to make them inferior to the kind of conditions we have on the existing orders. Sadly, the deal is now highly unlikely to happen. The negotiations have now broken down. I'm shocked." He said revised terms on warranties and performance guarantees were among the changes (TBC) sought.

(RYR) warned last month that there was "little" progress on negotiations and that it might end its relationship with (TBC) and confirm a series of order deferrals and cancellations. It plans to make a final decision at a December 17 board meeting. "(TBC) could put it together again, but that's it," O'Leary said. "Unless there's some change in (TBC)'s position, it's off," he told "Reuters." He added that (RYR) has no alternative plan to buy airplanes from Airbus (EDS) and is not interested in Bombardier's smaller CSeries.

"With what I know of the pricing levels they have in mind, I think I can say this is one order that (TBC) should win," (EDS) (COO) Customers, John Leahy told "Reuters." (RYR) has more than >100 737s on order still to be delivered.

(RYR) will outline plans to reduce growth and capital expenditures "significantly" in the first quarter of the new year after negotiations with Boeing (TBC) for an order of up to 200 new 737-800s formally broke down, although it still plans to take 112 previously ordered 737-800s (including 48 next year) to sustain growth over the medium term. (CEO), Michael O'Leary, who has warned repeatedly that the deal may fall through, said the parties found common ground on pricing and a 2013 to 2016 delivery schedule but that (TBC) was "unwilling to incorporate some other terms and conditions from our existing agreement" into the new order. "We will not order airplanes if we believe that either the pricing or the other contractual terms and conditions will be inferior to those which we currently enjoy, as this would not be a wise or sensible use of shareholders funds," he stated.

He stressed that (RYR) has no plans to reopen discussions with (TBC) "or any other airplane manufacturers," and that shareholders will be briefed in the first quarter on a "revised strategy that will comprise much-reduced capital expenditures through 2011 and 2012, thereby generating substantial surplus cash balances for distribution during the period 2012 to 2015." He said returning funds to shareholders was an "appropriate" move absent an airplane order.

(RYR) went public in 1997 and never has paid a dividend despite consistently strong profitability. (RYR) posted net earnings of +€373.45 million/+$537.9 million in the fiscal first half ended September 30, at which point it had more €2.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

O'Leary left the door open for a future deal. "In the meantime, we will continue to work with our partners in (TBC) on the 48 deliveries which (RYR) is scheduled to take in 2010 and perhaps in future there may be other opportunities for (RYR) and (TBC) to work together to our mutual benefit during the period from 2013 onwards."

The Charleroi expansion will occur in March and comprise an additional four 737-800s, bringing the number of airplanes based there to 12. It will launch four-times-weekly flights to Seville (May 3), thrice-weekly service to Ibiza (May 1), Kaunas (April 1), Krakow (March 31) and Zadar (May 1) and a twice-weekly flight to Nador (May 3), while increasing frequencies on 14 current routes. Annual traffic at the airport is expected to top 4 million, (RYR) said.

(RYR) announced a return to Fuerteventura. (RYR) pulled out of the Canary Islands airport in January following a dispute with tourism authorities. (RYR) will return next March after reaching an agreement with the local government to extend an airport charges discount scheme through February 2012. (RYR) will operate to Brussels Charleroi, Liverpool (each starting March 31); Bournemouth, Dusseldorf Weeze, Madrid (each April 1); Frankfurt Hahn, Glasgow Prestwick, Pisa (each April 2); Dublin and Bergamo (each April 3). It also announced the placement of a sixth 737-800 at Prestwick in the wake of the recent collapse of Flyglobespan (FGC) and a second at Bournemouth, from which it will launch the aforementioned twice-weekly service to Fuerteventura as well as new twice-weekly flights to Ibiza, Malta (each March 30) and Valencia (April 2).

(RYR) also announced plans to base an eighth 737-800 at Dusseldorf Weeze in March and launch new twice-weekly service to Lappeenranta (April 1) and Szczecin (March 31), while increasing frequencies to five destinations.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said Ireland's Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) has determined that the average maximum passenger charge will increase to €9.97/$15.04 in 2010 to 2015, more than >33% higher than the current period, although the commission's report "contains many variables." The (DAA) said charges "in real terms" have fallen -30% over the past 20 years and that the increase still compares favorably to European "peers" that charge an average of €12.50 per passenger. (RYR) claimed charges were rising +41% to €10.44 by 2011 and charged the (DAA) and the (CAR) with "operating an anti-consumer cartel." (RYR) claimed that Dublin's new Terminal 2, which (DAA) used to justify the increase, "is clearly not needed as traffic at Dublin has collapsed by over 3 million passengers this year to less than 20 million."

(RYR) said it will begin displaying third-party advertising on boarding passes early next year. (RYR) this year implemented 100% online check-in and said the ads will appear on passes printed by customers. "(RYR) passengers must reference their boarding cards on a number of occasions during a trip, providing repeat exposure for advertisers," it said.

INCDT: Two of the world's largest carriers, American Airlines (AAL) and Ryanair (RYR), suffered 737-800 runway mishaps, with (AAL)'s overrun in Jamaica resulting in destruction of the airplane and dozens of injuries.

(AAL) Flight 331 originated at Washington National, stopped in Miami, then headed to Kingston (KIN). At approximately 9:22 pm local time, the airplane overran the runway at rainy Norman Manley International (KIN), skidded across a road and fell down a small grassy dune onto a nearby beach. Photos show the fuselage split nearly all the way through both in front of and behind the wing. The engines broke off. (KIN)'s runway measures 8,900 ft. Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network (ASN) said the airplane landed in "heavy rain showers" with a tailwind gusting at 8 kt. Seven passengers were admitted to local hospitals, while others were "treated and released," (AAL) said. The 737-800 was carrying 148 passengers and six crew (FC - CA). Reports concerning the number of passengers injured ranged from 40 to 90. Chairman & CEO, Gerard Arpey said, "We are grateful for the professionalism of our crew members who safely evacuated the airplane." The (CFM56-7B27)-powered 737 first flew in November 2001, according to the (ASN). The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched investigators to Jamaica.

The (RYR) incident occurred at Glasgow Prestwick at approximately 9 am local time. The 737-800 was on its way from Dublin and "after a normal landing was completed and while taxiing from the runway, the airplane encountered ice and slid just off the runway onto the grass verge," (RYR) said. "(RYR) engineers are at the airplane, which appears to have suffered no damage." The airport opened 2 hours later. The 129 passengers on board disembarked and were bused to the terminal. The Strathclyde police confirmed there were no injuries.

January 2010: Ryanair (RYR) will suspend operation of domestic routes to/from its 10 Italian bases on January 23 in protest of a November (ENAC) decision to accept forms of passenger identification that the airline considers unsecure. (RYR) requires passengers to present either a passport or an (EU)/(EEA) national (ID) card at the gate. CEO, Michael O'Leary said (RYR)'s policy "has been approved by every other (EU) country, including (ENAC) itself some four years ago," and that being forced to accept alternative forms of (ID), "which our crews and our handling agents may be unfamiliar with, reduces safety and security in a manner which is unacceptable." It said it would restore service only if it "can be certain that the safety and security of its operations will not be undermined by (ENAC)'s unlawful interference." (RYR) operates bases at Alghero, Bari, Bologna, Brindisi, Cagliari, Bergamo, Pescara, Pisa, Rome Ciampino, and Trapani.

(RYR) plans to fly from Turin and Venice Treviso to Spain's Ibiza.

(RYR) said it plans to return about €1 billion/$1.44 billion in surplus cash to shareholders following last month's collapse of a deal to purchase up to 200 airplanes from Boeing (TBC), while also denying speculation that it plans to take another run at Aer Lingus (ARL) and announcing an agreement with Italian authorities regarding passenger identification. (RYR)'s capital expenditure is expected to fall from €1.2 billion in the current fiscal year ending March 31 to around €100 million in the year ending March 31, 2013, as a result of the failed negotiations with (TBC).

"We expect our current cash reserves of €2.5 billion to grow substantially by March 2013 and we plan to distribute surplus cash to shareholders from that date," CEO, Michael O'Leary said in a notice to investors. (RYR), which has not paid a dividend since its 1997 Initial Public Offering (IPO), did not detail the nature of the payouts but O'Leary indicated he expects "the distribution to be lumpy and irregular," "Bloomberg News" reported. "What I don't want people to do is to start putting in an annual dividend stream," he said.

Meanwhile, (RYR) stressed that there is "no truth or basis" to recent speculation that it is preparing a third bid for Aer Lingus (ARL), in which (RYR) holds almost 30%. "A third bid is highly unlikely unless or until the Irish government decides to dispose of its 25% stake in this loss-making, increasingly marginalized regional carrier," O'Leary stated, while claiming (RYR) "is growing strongly and remains on course to carry over >66 million passengers in the current fiscal year." It transported 4.9 million passengers in December, up +12% year-over-year, while load factor rose +2 points to 82% LF. In the calendar year, it carried 65.3 million passengers, up +13% from 2008.

(RYR) also announced an agreement with (ENAC) that will end the threat of a suspension of domestic services from its 10 Italian bases. (RYR) got its way, and now all passengers travelling on domestic flights will be required to produce either a passport or a valid (EU)/(EEA) national identity card in line with the airline's own security requirements.

Irish air traffic controllers at Dublin, Cork, and Shannon represented by Impact, plan to strike for 4 hours. The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said controllers are demanding a +6% pay increase and that it already has suspended 12 who "stopped doing work on a number of ongoing projects." The (IAA) said the +6% increase would cost the authority €6 million/$8.6 million per year and would be passed on to airlines. (RYR) announced the cancellation of 48 flights, while Aer Lingus (ARL) said it would cancel "a number" of flights and Aer Arann said six flights are subject to cancellation and 11 to delay.

(RYR) will further reduce its capacity at Dublin Airport (DUB) this summer and focus on "higher-yield, outbound, peak-month, summer sun routes, rather than stimulating year-round inbound tourism with low-access fares." (RYR) cited "high and rising" airport charges and the Irish government's €10/$14.18 "tourist tax." (RYR) will cut its Dublin-based fleet from 18 airplanes last summer to 15 and trim weekly rotations by some -19% from more than >600 to fewer than <500. It said it expects the measures to result in a -20% decrease in (DUB) passenger traffic to approximately 6.5 million in its fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, the loss of -150 jobs at the airline and more than >-2,000 support jobs in Dublin. (RYR) warned that cuts for the 2010 to 2011 winter schedule will be announced. (RYR) will increase frequencies in June - August from (DUB) to Malaga, Faro, Girona, Alicante, Carcasonne, Nantes, and Almeira. (RYR) previously announced new four-times-weekly flights to Cran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Dublin Airport Authority responded with a statement claiming that "(RYR)'s own business environment" was the key factor in the cuts. "These decisions are not related to passenger charges as Dublin, which remains one of Europe's most competitively priced large airports," it said.

8 737-8ASs (35021, EI-EKG; 35022, EI-EKA; 35023, EI-EKE; 35024, EI-EKD; 35025, EI-EKF; 38483, EI-EKH; 38494, EI-EKB; 38495, EI-EKC), deliveries.

February 2010: Ryanair (RYR) transported 4.4 million passengers in January, a +9% increase year-over-year. Load factor rose +1 point to 70% LF.

(RYR) said it remains "uniquely positioned to benefit from the accelerating pace of airline consolidation and closures in Europe which has led to significant capacity reductions" and vowed that "despite the depth of the current recession, (RYR) will continue to grow traffic and profits while most other airlines lose money." It expects to increase passenger traffic by approximately +10% to 73 million in fiscal 2010 to 2011.

(RYR) announced the following new routes: London Stansted to Fuerteventura, Fez, and Figari beginning May 3; Nottingham East Midlands to Fuerteventura, and Treviso from May 3; Bristol to Bydgoszcz, and Kaunas from May 3; Cork to Alicante, Reus, Bordeaux, Faro, La Rochelle, Lanzarote, and Malaga starting in June; Reus to Knock, Krakow, Bergamo, and Treviso launching in May and June; Bratislava to London Luton (April 1), Bari, and Palma (each May 4); Bergamo - Tenerife, Alicante - Poznan and Girona - Gdansk each on May 3; Pescara - Oslo Torp on May 1.

(RYR) will establish a base at Kaunas, its 40th, in May with two 737-800s. Routes from the airport will double to 18, including new service to Berlin Schoenefeld, Dusseldorf Weeze, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, Bergamo, Oslo Rygge, Paris Beauvais, Tampere, and Girona. (RYR) said the new base represents an investment of more than >$140 million and that it "is in continuous negotiation with four other Central European airports" regarding new bases.

(RYR) will base one additional 737 at Cork from June through August and launch new seasonal routes to Alicante, Reus, Bordeaux, Faro, La Rochelle, Lanzarote, and Malaga. (RYR) announced new flights from Edinburgh (EDI) to Faro, Marrakech and Paris Beauvais starting in May, when it will base a sixth airplane at the airport. It also will increase frequencies on 11 other routes from (EDI). New service from Frankfurt Hahn to Agadir and Pula also is scheduled to start in May. (RYR) will launch thrice-weekly, Newcastle - Oslo Rygge service on May 19. (RYR) will launch service to Kos and Volos from Frankfurt Hahn and Bergamo, and to Rhodes from Bergamo and Pisa in May.

(RYR) will extend its maintenance facilities at Glasgow Prestwick with a second hangar, representing an £8 million/$12.5 million investment. The 6,000-sq-m facility, due to open in October, will create 200 new engineering (MT) jobs and join to (RYR)'s existing 4,000-sq-m hangar that opened in 2004. (RYR) operates 29 routes from the airport. The Scottish government is contributing £1.5 million to the project.

6 737-8ASs (38496, EI-EKI; 38497, EI-EKJ; 38498, EI-EKL; 38499, EI-EKM; 38500, EI-EKK; 35026, EI-EKN), deliveries.

March 2010: Ryanair (RYR) transported 4.4 million passengers in February, a +6% increase year-over-year. Load factor dropped -3 points to 75% LF.

(RYR) will open a base at Malta International airport (MLA) in May with one 737. It will launch six new routes from the airport, boosting the total number of destinations to 19 and the number of weekly flights to more than >120. It plans to serve 800,000 passengers per year at (MLA). New service will be to Billund, Bologna, Krakow, Marseille, Seville, and Valencia.

(RYR) will launch thrice-weekly, London Stansted - Ciudad Real service on May 24.

(RYR) launched new bases at Leeds Bradford (LBA) and Faro. It has two 737s at (LBA), from which it will serve 17 destinations. (RYR) plans to transport 1 million passengers per year at the airport. It will base seven 737s at Faro operating 30 routes. It plans to serve 1.3 million passengers per year.

(RYR) said it has presented Prague Ruzyne airport (PRG) with a proposal to base six airplanes and operate 33 routes to "fill any void left by a collapse of (CSA) [Czech Airlines]." Last month, (CSA) put its entire fleet up as collateral against bank loans required to maintain operations. The commitment would require (PRG) to reduce its "high airport charges to become more competitive with other, lower cost, destinations," (RYR) said.

The (FAA) issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) calling for operators of 737-600s, 737-700s, 737-800s, 737-900s and 737-900ERs to inspect elevator tab control mechanisms following "severe elevator vibration" on a Ryanair (RYR) 737-800 that made an emergency landing in Brussels this month.

The (FAA) attributed the vibration to "failure of the aft attach lugs on the left elevator tab control mechanism" and said carriers need "to detect and correct" any loose bearings in the mechanisms. "Severe vibration in this attach point is suspected of allowing rapid wear of the joint and resulted in failure of the attach lugs" on the (RYR) 737-800, it said. "This condition, if not corrected, could result in a loss of airplane control and structural integrity."

The (FAA) said inspections must occur within 12 to 30 days depending on the timing of an airplane's entry into service. It added that a final rulemaking on the issue may be forthcoming once more information is gathered.

OnAir announced its intent to terminate its in-flight phone service contract with (RYR) following 13 months of a "proving period of service operation" on 50 737s. "The two companies did not reach a mutual agreement on the process and timing leading to the full deployment" on board (RYR)'s fleet of more than >230 airplanes, OnAir said, calling the inability to reach an agreement "disappointing." It did not provide a time line for termination of the service.

(RYR) said it "regrets that OnAir were unwilling to commit" to the full roll-out, but was "pleased with the performance of the OnAir system and the rapidly growing call/text and data volumes."

It added that it "will now invite other in-flight communications providers to tender for access" to its 73 million annual passengers. It launched the in-flight mobile phone and (PDA) service in February 2009 following a delay of more than a year.

OnAir, a joint venture between Airbus (EDS) and (SITA), currently operates with six airlines, plans to launch with six more this year and has a portfolio of 23 signed agreements with national carriers worldwide.

8 737-8ASs (35027, EI-EKO; 35028, EI-EKP; 35030, EI-EKX; 38503, EI-EKR; 38504, EI-EKS; 38505, EI-EKT; 38506, EI-EKW; 38507, EI-EKV), deliveries.

April 2010: Ryanair (RYR) raised its net profit guidance for the fiscal year ended March 31 to "not less than +€310 million/+$418 million)" from a previously forecast +€275 million as a result of "somewhat stronger than expected passenger bookings, at better than expected yields" in late February and March in the run up to the Easter holiday weekend. (RYR) expects to announce its full-year results on June 1.

(RYR) appears to be moving ahead with plans to charge customers to use toilets on short-haul flights. According to its in-flight magazine, it is working with Boeing (TBC) to develop a coin-operated door-release mechanism and plans to charge passengers €1/£1 to use restrooms on flights of 1 hour or less.

(RYR) said it will increase checked baggage fees from €15/£15 to €20/£20 per first bag (weighing a maximum 15 kg and booked online) in July and August for all bookings made now and ahead. Checked bag fees remain €15/£15 for passengers traveling outside of the two peak summer months. It did not mention the charge for a second bag, which currently is €35/£35 when booked online. The charges double when paid at the airport.

Volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption on Wednesday April 14th in south-eastern Iceland caused dramatic disruption to air traffic in Europe, with many airlines cancelling services throughout the following five days owing to airspace closures but questioning whether European Union (EU) governments and Air Traffic Control (ATC) providers were overreacting.

Severe restrictions on civil flights across most of northern and central Europe remained in place until over the following weekend. This included airspace over Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, most of France, most of Germany, Hungary, Ireland, northern Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the UK. In some areas, upper airspace was made available for limited flights. But rather than easing, the restrictions spread on Sunday April 18: 11 airports in Spain closed as did Bulgarian airspace.

(IATA) (ITA)'s "initial and conservative" estimate of the financial impact on the airline industry is at least $200 million per day in lost revenue. It added that carriers would incur further costs for rerouting airplanes, maintaining parked airplanes at various airports and providing care for stranded passengers. The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said 63,000 flights were cancelled over four days.

The (AEA) and Airports Council International Europe jointly called for an "immediate reassessment of flight restrictions," asserting that non-passenger test flights conducted by several European airlines "have revealed no irregularities at all." The organizations questioned the "proportionality of the flight restrictions currently imposed."

(KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH) were among the carriers that performed test flights over the following weekend. (KLM) operated one on Saturday and was scheduled to operate nine more later. The technical inspection conducted after Saturday's 737-800 flight, which climbed to an altitude of 41,000 ft, "revealed that no problems had been encountered and that the quality of the atmosphere is in order," (KLM) said. (KLM) President & CEO, Peter Hartman estimated the combined financial impact of lost revenue and costs for stranded passengers at €5 million/$6.8 million - €10 million daily. "This is rather dramatic," he told Dutch media. He confirmed that (KLM) does not have insurance that covers this event.

(SAS) warned it would lay off up to -2,500 employees temporarily in Norway, if airplanes remained grounded. It later announced that nearly all of its flights would be cancelled, though it did say "a few domestic flights" would operate in Norway.

Several European carriers, including Finnair (FIN) and Lufthansa (DLH), grounded their entire fleets. Ryanair (RYR) said it had cancelled all scheduled flights to/from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States.

Eurocontrol said there were 10,400 flights in European airspace two days after the eruption compared to 28,000 normally and approximately 5,000 on the Saturday April 17 compared to 22,000 on a normal Saturday.

The situation forced airlines in North America and Asia to cancel a high percentage of their Europe-bound flights. The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) said USA carriers cancelled 282 of 337 scheduled Saturday April 17 transatlantic flights. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of passengers were stranded at airports across Asia over the weekend as airlines in the region halted nearly all flights to Europe, though some to southern Europe were still operating.



8 737-8ASs (34978, EI-EMF; 35029, EI-EME; 35031, EI-EKY; 35032, EI-EMA; 38508, EI-EKZ; 38509, EI-EMD; 38510, EI-EMCD; 38511, EI-EMB), deliveries.

May 2010: Flights into and out of Ireland and Northern Ireland were grounded for about 6 hours again as another volcanic ash cloud drifted from Iceland. The disruption paled in comparison to last month's (EU)-wide airspace closure, but it renewed fears that volcanic ash could interrupt air traffic on an ongoing basis. In a worrying development, the Icelandic Meteorological Office stated on its website that there has been an increase in activity from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano along with a high number of earthquakes in its immediate area. Both Aer Lingus (ARL) and Ryanair (RYR) cancelled hundreds of flights. UK airports, including London Heathrow were not closed.

Meanwhile, the full extent of the April 15 - 21 closures came into clearer focus with the release of data on the period from (IATA) (ITA). (ITA) said more than >100,000 flights were cancelled over six days, with 19,000 cancelled on both April 19 and 20, the two days of "maximum impact." This equated to about 30% of worldwide scheduled passenger capacity of 4.9 billion (ASK)s, (ITA) said. "Over 1.2 million scheduled passengers were being affected each day," it stated. "The European Commission (EC) estimates the total number of passengers unable to travel over the whole period at 10 million." Lost revenue on flights between the UK and the USA amounted to -$24.9 million daily, (ITA) said. The next-highest route impact was France to the USA on which losses totaled -$8.7 million daily.

(RYR) will build a new maintenance hangar, flight simulator and cabin crew training facility at Frankfurt Hahn at a cost of approx €25 million/$30.7 million. The 7,000-sq-m facility will be fully operational by December. It will accommodate up to two 737-800s side-by-side and be used to perform maintenance on a large portion of (RYR)'s 240-airplane fleet. The training center will house up to 16 classrooms, two pilot (FC) training flight simulators, a full-size airplane fuselage and 70 bedrooms to facilitate training courses for new and existing crew beginning in August. The Rhineland-Palatinate government and Frankfurt Hahn Airport secured the investment following an extended competition with three other airports in Europe, (RYR) said.

(RYR) opened its 42nd base at Malta, with one 737 and 19 routes. (RYR) will serve Bari, Billund, Bologna, Bournemouth, Bremen, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Girona, Krakow, Leeds, London Luton, Marseille, Pisa, Seville, Stockholm Skavsta, Trapani, Valencia, and Venice Treviso from Malta.

(RYR) is increasing its footprint in Spain further and will open its 43rd base at Barcelona El Prat (BCN) in September with five 737-800s and 20 new routes, a mix of domestic and international destinations. It already has five bases in Spain, at Alicante, Girona, Madrid, Malaga, and Reus. The new (BCN) base represents an investment of more than >$350 million.

New routes include twice-dailies to Malaga, Palmaand Seville; an 11-times-weekly to Santiago; dailies to Brussels Charleroi, Dublin, Ibiza, Bergamo, Paris Beauvais, Rome Ciampino, Santander, and Valencia; a six-times-weekly to Trevisio; a four-times-weekly to Dusseldorf Weeze; thrice-weeklies to Cagliari, Edinburgh, Oslo Rygge and Lanzarotte, and a twice-weekly to Tenerife.

In all, (RYR) will operate 270 weekly flights to/from Barcelona El Prat which it said "will help reverse declining traffic numbers at El Prat airport which fell by -3 million passengers in 2009."

7 737-8ASs (34974, EI-EMH; 34979, EI-EMI; 34975, EI-EMJ; 38512, EI-EMK; 38513, EI-EML; 38514, EI-EMM; 38515, EI-EMN), deliveries.

June 2010: Ryanair (RYR) transported 6.44 million passengers in May, a +17% increase year-over-year. Load factor stayed flat at 81% LF.

(RYR) reported net income of +€305.5 million/+$373.4 million for its fiscal year ended March 31, reversed from a -€169.2 million deficit in its prior fiscal year, when results were affected negatively by €274.1 million in exceptional costs including a €222.5 million impairment resulting from its investment in Aer Lingus (ARL).

In contrast to most other major airlines in Europe and for the first time since it went public in 1997, (RYR) revealed that it will pay out a one-time dividend to shareholders. It will disburse €500 million in dividends to shareholders in October.

Excluding exceptional items, Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 to 2010 net earnings tripled to €318.8 million from €104.9 million in (FY) 2008 to 2009. Total cash and cash equivalents at the end of the financial year were €2.81 billion and net debt was €142.8 million.

Revenue rose +1.6% to €2.99 billion on a +13.5% increase in passengers carried to 66.5 million. Scheduled services revenue grew less than 1% as average fares fell -13% and ancillary revenue jumped +10.9% to €663.6 million. Total operating expenses declined -7.6% to €2.59 billion, primarily due to lower fuel prices offset by the higher level of activity and increased operating costs associated with the airline’s growth. Fuel, which represented 35% of total operating costs compared to 45% in the prior year, decreased -29% to €893.9 million. Operating profit, including exceptional items, more than quadrupled from €92.6 million to €402.1 million.

"We can be proud of delivering a +200% increase in profits and traffic growth during a global recession when many of our competitors have announced losses or cutbacks," CEO, Michael O'Leary said. "Capacity cuts by many European flag and non-flag carriers caused traffic to fall at many major European airports, [leaving (RYR)] inundated with offers from large and small airports competing with lower costs and efficient facilities to win (RYR)'s growth."

(RYR) added 51 net new airplanes in the reporting year to bring its fleet to 232 737-800s. It opened eight new bases at Bari, Brindisi, Faro, Leeds, Oslo Rygge, Pescara, Porto, and Trapani, and launched +284 new routes, expanding its network to 42 bases and 940 routes.

It expects to grow traffic in the current financial year +11% to 73.5 million passengers "subject to volcanic ash disruptions" and "no further airspace closures." It forecasts that airfares will lift +5% to +10% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 to 2011. While first-quarter net profit will be lower than the year-ago period's owing to the volcano, it forecasts that full-year earnings will heighten +10% to +15% to €350 to €375 million excluding exceptional costs from the volcanic ash disruptions.

(RYR) will launch Dusseldorf Weeze service to Madrid (seven-times-weekly) and Marseille (thrice-weekly) in November. (RYR) intends to increase its already strong presence in the Spanish market further with the opening of a base at Valencia (VLC) in November with two 737-800s and 10 new routes, enlarging its network from the airport to 31 destinations. (RYR) confirmed that it agreed to reestablish a base at (VLC) after Spanish "Minster for Tourism, Belen Juste committed to a joint promotion and advertising program which will help reverse Valencia Airport's collapsing traffic, which fell by -18% or almost -1 million passengers, in 2009."

(RYR) in November 2008 closed its base at Valencia, where it had two based airplanes, and pulled 10 routes from the airport following disagreement with the local authorities over allocation of marketing funds. (VLC) will be the carrier's 43rd base and seventh in Spain besides Alicante, Girona, Madrid, Reus, Malaga, and Barcelona El Prat (to be launched in September). The (VLC) base represents an investment of more than >$140 million in the airport, the airline said, and will provide 260 weekly flights. New routes include daily service to Palma and Ibiza, a four-times-weekly service to Paris Beauvais, and Santiago, thrice-weekly flights to Marseille, Marrakech, Trieste, and Seville, and twice-weekly flights to Fuerteventura and Memmingen (Munich West). (RYR) opened its newest base at Malaga with four 737-800s. In the coming days it will launch almost 20 new routes, expanding its network at the Spanish airport to 44 domestic and international routes and 360 weekly flights. (RYR) said the base represents an investment of more than >$250 million. It expects its operations at the airport will grow to serve more than >2 million passengers annually.

3 737-8ASs (40283, EI-EMO; 40285, EI-EMP; 40284, EI-EMR), deliveries.

July 2010: Ryanair (RYR) said it plans to reduce winter capacity from UK airports by -16% and by -17% at its London Stansted base, citing the negative traffic impact of the UK's £11 air passenger duty (APD). (RYR) said it will base 22 airplanes at Stansted from November, down from 24 a year ago, with -135 fewer weekly frequencies in what it said was a -17% cut in capacity. It will cut winter flying at most of its other UK bases except Edinburgh and Leeds Bradford. Airplanes freed up by the reductions will be redeployed "to other European bases where governments have scrapped tourist taxes and reduced passenger charges." (RYR) cited data from (RDC) Aviation showing that passenger traffic at British Airports Authority (BAA) airports fell -5% in the first five months of 2010 compared to the year-ago period and attributed this to the (APD) and airport charges. "Sadly, UK traffic and tourism continues to collapse while (RYR) continues to grow rapidly in those countries which welcome tourists instead of taxing them," CEO, Michael O'Leary said.

(RYR) said it will cut capacity at its Dublin base this winter to 12 airplanes operating 850 weekly flights, down from 14 airplanes operating 1,000 last winter.

(RYR) is one of Europe's largest low cost carriers (LCC)'s serving more than >150 destinations from 40 operational or announced European bases.

Employees = 5,986.

(IATA) Code: FR - 224. (ICAO) Code: RYR (Callsign - RYANAIR).

Parent organization/shareholders: Others (41.22%); Fidelity Estimates (14.26%); Ryan Fidelity (9.5%); Guilder Gagnon Howe & Co (8.9%); Wellington (8.7%); Janus (7.4%); Capital Group Companies (5.14%); & Michael O'Leary (4.5%).

Airline subsidiaries/shareholdings: Aer Lingus (29.82%).

Main Base: Dublin International airport (DUB); & London Stansted (STN).

Hubs: Bournemouth International airport (BOH); Bristol International airport (BRS); Bologna airport (BLQ); Edinburgh airport (EDI); Alicante airport (ALC); Barcelona El Prat airport (BCN); Brindisi Papola Casale airport (BDS); Bergamo Orio Al Serio (BGY); Shannon International airport (SNN); East Midlands - Nottingham, Leicester, Derby airport (EMA); Kerry County airport (KIR); Belfast City airport (BHD); Cagliari Elmas airport (CAG); Birmingham International airport (BHX); Cork International airport (ORK); Gerona airport (GRO); Leeds/Bradford International airport (LBA); Madrid Barajas airport (MAD); Reus airport (REU); Bari airport (BRI); Oslo Rygge airport (RYG); Trapani Birgi airport (TPS); Pescara airport (PSR); Dusseldorf Weeze airport (NRN); Pisa International Galileo Galilei airport (PSA); Liverpool John Lennon airport (LPL); Alghero Fertilia (AHO); Marseilles Provence airport (MRS); Stockholm Skavsta airport (NYO); Rome Ciampino G.B. Pastine airport (CIA); Brussels South Charleroi airport (CRL); Hahn airport (HHN); Bremen airport (BRE); and Glasgow Prestwick International airport (PIK).

(RYR) reported net income of +€93.7 million/+$73 million for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, down -23.8% compared to a +€123 million profit in the year-ago period. CEO, Michael O'Leary said the results "were adversely impacted by the unnecessary closures of European airspace for 18 days in April and May." He also reiterated his complaint about Ireland's "disastrous €10 tourist tax," which he claimed "has caused a continuing collapse in Irish tourism." He noted that traffic in Dublin fell -15% year-over-year in May and "is on track" to fall -30% for the full year. He said (RYR)'s 2010 outlook "remains cautious." Quarterly revenue rose +15.8% to €896.8 million, while expenses fell -6.4% to €727.4 million, producing operating income of +€169.4 million, widened from a +€119.4 million in operating income in the prior-year period.

August 2010: Ryanair (RYR) will begin twice-weekly service from London Stansted to Plovdiv in Bulgaria on November 2. (RYR) will launch four new routes from London Gatwick (LGW) to Bologna (four-times-weekly), Faro (four-times-weekly), Milan Bergamo (daily) and Porto (five-times-weekly) aboard a 737-800 October 31 and will increase the frequency of its (LGW) - Oslo Rygge route from seven to 10 flights per week.

September 2010: Ryanair (RYR) transported 7.68 million passengers in August, up +12% year-over-year, while load factor fell -1 point to 89% LF.

(RYR) said it will close its Belfast City base at the end of the current summer schedule October 31, citing the airport's confirmation that a public inquiry into a planned runway extension will be further delayed. The runway extension was originally scheduled to be delivered in 2008. Runway 04/22 is just 1,829 m long.

"It makes no sense for (RYR) to continue to invest in Belfast City, operating restricted routes with less than full payloads between Belfast (BHD) and other UK airports (which suffer a double (APD) penalty) unless there is clear and immediate prospect of (RYR) being enabled to safely operate longer European routes from Belfast City Airport, and for this, we need the runway extension," CEO, Michael O'Leary said.

(RYR) launched a base at (BHD) in October 2007 with one 737-800. It operates five routes to the UK: London Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands, Bristol, and Glasgow. (RYR) said the closure of its base will result in the loss of -1 million passengers annually at the airport.

(RYR) has confirmed it will operate “hand baggage only” on flights to/from Spain, as it called on the European Commission (EC) to take urgent action to prevent Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes and suggested that it follow “the example shown by Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s when he fired and replaced USA Air Traffic Controllers after they went on strike.” It insisted that the national (ATC) providers should be deregulated and allowed to compete with each other in a “system that will allow one country to manage the airspace of neighboring countries to prevent flights being cancelled or delayed during industrial action.”

(RYR)’s request follows the recent strike action by French (ATC) controllers and comes ahead of the scheduled general strike in Spain. Iberia (IBE) cancelled several services owing to the strike, but noted that in keeping with its minimum services agreements, it plans to operate 35% of its scheduled flights.

4 737-8ASs (34980, EI-ENC; 34981, EI-EGD; 34983, EI-ENA; 40289, EI-ENB), deliveries.

October 2010: Ryanair (RYR), which announced it was forced to cancel 1,400 flights and delay more than >12,000 others as a direct result of Belgian, French and Spanish Air T6raffic Control (ATC) strikes in recent months, formally called on the European Commission (EC) to “end this (ATC) chaos” by removing the “right to strike” provision of essential (ATC) services in Europe and reforming the controversial EU261 passenger rights legislation.

(RYR), like all other airlines, wants a waiver of the obligation on airlines to provide care and assistance at the airlines’ expense in “force majeure” cases such as (ATC) strikes, which are clearly outside of airlines’ control.

At a press conference in Belgium, CEO, Michael O’Leary revealed (RYR) will take legal action against the Belgian (ATC) provider "Belgocontrol" following the wildcat strikes, which caused the cancellation of more than >90 (RYR) flights and disrupted more than >15,000 passengers. It claims the unannounced strike cost it -€1 million/-$1.37 million.

“The single greatest cause of (ATC) delays are (EU) government-owned and mismanaged (ATC) services. It’s time the ‘right to strike’ within this essential service was removed, like it is in the USA. The (EC) must act now to end this (ATC) chaos,” he added. A deregulation of Europe’s national (ATC) services would allow nonstriking controllers to keep the skies open while “overpaid, underworked” competing controllers go on strike “again and again,” he said. “It is ridiculous that Belgian, French and Spanish (ATC) controllers can repeatedly strike without any financial penalty, while airlines suffer a ‘right to care’ to passengers and absorb the costs of these unnecessary disruptions. It is also unacceptable that Spanish Air Traffic Controllers (ATC)s, some of whom earn almost €1 million per year, continue to engage in strikes, go slows and work to rules, causing delays and misery for millions of European passengers all summer long,” said O’Leary.

(RYR) will cut flights at its Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) base by -30% from next summer 2011 in response to the German government’s planned air passenger tax of €8/$11.12 for intra-European flights. It will reduce its (HHN) fleet from 11 to 8 based airplanes, trim the number of routes from 54 to 45, and reduce the number of weekly flights from 532 to 382. (RYR) said these actions will lead to the loss of -1,000 jobs in Hahn, including -150 pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) jobs, and that (HHN)’s passenger throughput will decline by -1 million passengers annually.

The nine destinations to be dropped from (HHN) are Agadir, Berlin (from January 10), Gdansk, Gothenburg, Klagenfurt, Prague, Santiago, Seville, and Wroclaw. Fifteen other routes will see frequencies reduced.

“(RYR) will move these three airplanes to (RYR) bases outside Germany, which welcome tourists instead of taxing them. We urge the German government to look again at the damaging impact of tourist taxes in Ireland and the UK before implementing this €8 tourist tax, which will lead to similar declines in traffic and jobs at German airports,” (RYR) Deputy CEO, Michael Cawley said.

Other airlines, including Germanwings (RFG), have said they will consider moving their based airplanes to airports in neighboring countries.

November 2010: Buoyed by a +32% rise in second-quarter earnings, Ryanair (RYR) reported a net profit of +€424 million/+$591.2 million for the fiscal first half ended September 30, up from earnings of +€373.5 million in the year-ago period. (RYR) said that six-month results for the current period were net of +€27.9 million in costs associated with the volcanic ash disruptions in April and May.

Earnings for the fiscal second-quarter totaled +€330.3 million, compared to earnings of +€250.5 million in the 2009 period. Revenues rose +29.5% to €1.28 billion, while operating expenses climbed +28.3% to €890.5 million, resulting in an operating profit of +€394.3 million, up +32.4% compared to €297.9 million a year ago.

For the six-month period, revenues rose +23% to €2.18 billion on a +10% rise in passengers to 40.1 million, while operating expenses — including the cost of the volcanic ash disruptions — climbed +26.8% to €1.31 billion. Operating profit was +€515.4 million, up from 13.9% last year.

Ancillary revenues for the half year climbed +22.4% to €423.8 million and represented 19% of total revenues, unchanged from the year-ago period. Average fares for the period rose +12% to €44 "in line with a +12% sector length increase" while unit costs climbed +13% "primarily due to the +12% growth in sector length and higher fuel costs," (RYR) said. Its fuel bill rose +44% to €660 million.

(RYR) CEO, Michael O'Leary called the strong results "testimony to the robustness of (RYR)'s lowest cost/lowest fare model, which continues to deliver traffic and profit growth even during a deep recession." (RYR) said its outlook for the rest of the financial year "remains cautious," however, it now expects net profit for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 "will exceed the upper end of our previous forecast range" of €350 million to €375 million to reach "a range of €380 million to €400 million."

(RYR) will launch twice-weekly, Brussels South Charleroi – Volos service on March 29.

December 2010: Ryanair (RYR) announced it will open three new bases in the Canary Islands next year as part of (RYR)’s Spain expansion plan, bringing the number of bases in the country to 11. It opened two new bases in Spain last month, in Valencia and Seville, following a new base at Barcelona El Prat in September.

“Ryanair (RYR)’s growth is directly attributable to the visionary initiatives of the Canary Islands government that, in recent years, have identified low-fare access as being critical, and have worked with (RYR) to reduce airport costs in order to return tourism to its previous 2007 record levels,” said Deputy CEO, Michael Cawley.

(RYR) will base two airplanes each in Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Tenerife from February while also increasing routes and frequencies to/from Fuerteventura. (RYR) will operate a total of 112 routes to/from the Canary Islands, which it claims will deliver 4.5 million passengers per year and sustain more than >4,500 local jobs including 350 (RYR) pilots (FC), cabin attendants(CA) and engineers (MT). Of the 122 routes, 35 will be new.

(RYR) said its €400 million/$522.5 million investment in the Canary Islands is a direct result of incentives by local and national authorities, including airport operator (AENA), to stimulate air traffic, including a reduction in airport charges and the establishment of a Regional Marketing Fund.

(RYR) will operate seasonal service to Turin from East Midlands and Edinburg (February 19/26) as well as seasonal service to Salzburg from Liverpool (February 19/26), and Prestwick (February 13/20/27).

(RYR) announced further cuts to its German operations next year, citing the new flight tax as reason for its decision. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel announced the new tax in June as part of a €80 billion/$106 billion package of austerity measures, although she justified it on environmental grounds. The tax will be €8 on all flights within the (EU), beginning on January 1. Medium-haul flights outside the (EU) and long-haul flights will be taxed €25 and €45 per passenger, respectively.

(RYR) will trim 56% of its flights from/to Berlin Schonefeld (SXF), 29% of its flights from/to Bremen (BRE), and 21% of its flights from/to Weeze (NRM) near Dusseldorf, starting with its summer 2011 schedule. (SXF) will lose 122 weekly flights over four routes, (BRE) will lose 58 weekly flights and eight routes, and (NRM) 84 will lose weekly flights and 13 routes. These capacity reductions come on top of the earlier announced cuts at its Frankfurt Hahn base covering 150 weekly flights and nine routes. In total, (RYR) has announced the cutback of -34 routes and -414 weekly flights from/to Germany next year.

“The German government’s €8 tourist tax continues to inflict significant damage on traffic, tourism and jobs in Germany,” said CEO, Michael O’Leary. “(RYR) has now announced deep cuts at Berlin, Bremen, Dusseldorf Weeze, and Frankfurt Hahn for summer 2011, with the loss of -3 million passengers per annum and over >-3,000 jobs at German airports. (RYR) will move these airplanes to bases outside Germany, which welcome tourists instead of taxing them,” he said.

January 2011: Ryanair (RYR) transported 5 million passengers in December, up +2% year-over-year. Load factor dipped -1 point to 80% LF. Passengers carried for the full-year 2010 increased +10% to 72.7 million and load factor stayed flat at 82% LF. (RYR) said it set a new monthly record of over 7.7 million passengers in August, and that the busiest day of travel was July 30, when over >255,000 flew on over >1,400 (RYR) flights.

(RYR) posted a net loss of -€10.3 million/-$14 million for its fiscal third quarter ended December 31, slightly reduced from the -€10.9 million deficit in the prior-year period, despite a +6% year-on-year increase in passengers to 17 million, a +15% rise in the average fare to €34 and a +22% hike in revenue to €746.3 million.

Scheduled passenger revenue heightened +23% to €579.2 million and ancillary revenue lifted +20% to €167.1 million, equating to a +13% rise in average ancillary (RPM) to €10, primarily due to an improved product mix and higher Internet-related revenues. Load factor increased by +1 point to 83% LF.

(RYR) CEO, Michael O’Leary called the results “disappointing” and said the company was on track to break even “but earnings were hit by a series of Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes/walkouts in the quarter, compounded by a spate of bad weather airport closures in December.” (RYR) did not disclose the cost of the snow disruptions but noted the scale was evidenced by the fact that it canceled more than >3,000 flights in the third quarter, far more than the 1,400-plus cancellations during the entire prior fiscal year.

Total operating expenses increased by +22% to €746.5 million, owing to the +37% increase in fuel costs to €283.7 million and a +8% increase in unit costs (ex-fuel), the higher level of activity and the +14% increase in flight hours. Fuel now represents 38% of total operating costs compared to 34% in the prior-year quarter. Operating loss came in at -€0.3 million in the quarter compared to an operating profit of +€1.4 million in the year-ago period.

For the nine months ended December 31, (RYR) reported a net profit of +€413.7 million, up +14% compared to +€362.6 million in the year-ago period, primarily due to a +13% increase in average fares and +22% hike in ancillary revenues, offset by a +42% increase in fuel costs. Total operating revenue increased by +23% to €2.93 billion as average fares rose by +13%. Total operating expenses rose by +24% to €2.38 billion. Operating profit rose +13.5% to +€545.1 million.

“It would appear that the short-haul fuel surcharges imposed by many of Europe’s flag carriers, allied to the high and rising fares charged by some of our not-so-low fare competitors, is creating opportunities for (RYR) to grow, even during the winter period, at slightly higher fares,” O’Leary commented.

(RYR) as Europe’s largest Low Cost Carrier (LCC) said its outlook for the fourth quarter and remainder of the financial year 2010-11 remains largely unchanged and it expects full-year results will be “toward the upper end of our previously guided range of a net profit of between +€380 million to +€400 million.” Full-year passenger numbers are forecast to grow +11% to 73.5 million and average fares approximately +11%. By the end of March, it will have 272 airplanes in its fleet. During the results presentation, (RYR) said it has new airports and bases ready to achieve 83.5 million passengers in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012-13. It will add 27 737-800s in the next two years, net of disposals (13 airplanes). It currently operates more than >1,500 flights per day from 44 bases and 1,200 routes across 27 countries, connecting 160 destinations.

(RYR) carried 72 million passengers in 2010 (+10%).

(RYR) launched Tallinn - London Luton service on January 10. (RYR) announced a new route from Cork with twice-weekly service to Milan Bergamo beginning in June. According to anna.aero, (RYR) already has 61 new routes scheduled to begin this year. (RYR) will commence four new routes from Manchester airport (MAN) to Alicante (six-times-weekly), Faro (daily), Madrid (four-times-weekly) and Tenerife (four-times-weekly) from April 14 and increase frequencies on its four-times-daily, (MAN) - Dublin route to six-times-daily. It will also launch twice-weekly, Humberside - Alicante service on April 12.

11 737-8ASs (35036, EI-ENN; 35037, EI-ENL; 35038, EI-ENL; 35040, EI-ENT; 35041, EI-ENR; 40300, EI-ENI; 40301, EI-ENJ; 40302, EI-ENO; 40303, EI-ENK; 40304, EI-ENP; 40307, EI-ENS), deliveries. 737-8AS (33557, EI-DAX), sold to (GEF), leased to OK Air.

February 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will launch thrice-weekly, London Stansted - Thessaloniki service April 13, its first UK - Greece route.

(RYR) will launch new service from Brussels Charleroi to Almeria (thrice-weekly) and Rhodes (twice-weekly) in May, after it adds an additional 737-800 to the base.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said that negotiations with (RYR) ended after (RYR) rejected (DAA)’s offer of more than >€60 million/$81.1 million worth of discounts on airport charges to stimulate increased traffic into its three Irish airports. Instead, the (DAA) said, (RYR) insisted it be paid more than >€100 million in discounts, with no guarantee of any additional traffic.

(RYR) also wanted to be paid more than >€10 million in discounts for existing passengers at Dublin Airport (DUB). In short, the (DAA) claimed the “(RYR) proposal would have seen the airline potentially being financially rewarded for reducing traffic at Cork and Shannon airports and transferring it to Dublin airport.” The (DAA) said it had been in talks with (RYR) for the past few weeks about the issue, following a meeting involving (DAA) Chief Executive, Declan Collier, (RYR) CEO, Michael O'Leary and other executives from both companies in December.

(RYR) will prune its base at Girona Airport (GRO) at the end of this month, removing five airplanes, closing 18 routes and reducing frequencies on a further 17 routes, citing the refusal of the new government of Catalonia to honor the five-year extension agreement it reached with the outgoing government in December. The planned reduction equates to some 100 weekly flights. The five airplanes will be moved to “other airports elsewhere in Europe,” (RYR) said.

On December 23, (RYR) and (GRO) management announced a new deal to expand (RYR)’s presence at the airport, which would have seen it base up to 10 airplanes at the start of its summer 2011 schedule and open eight new routes, lifting its network to/from the airport to 64 routes. “(RYR) sincerely regrets that the new government of Catalonia has failed to honor the recent five-year extension of our base agreement at (GRO) despite the fact that it was consulted on its detail by the outgoing government,” (RYR) COO, Michael Cawley commented, claiming that the capacity cuts will result “in the loss of -1.7 million passengers annually and -1,700 jobs to other airports elsewhere in Europe.”

Besides (GRO), (RYR) operates two bases in the Barcelona region, at Reus (REU) and Barcelona El Prat. (RYR) opened the latter in September, raising speculation that it might result in the closure of (GRO) or (REU).

(RYR) officially opened its second maintenance hangar at Glasgow Prestwick airport (PIK). The 6,000 sq m hangar will maintain a large portion of (RYR)’s 260 airplane fleet and represents an investment of £8 million/$12.9 million. The Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and (PIK) secured the investment early last year, following a tender and competition from five other (RYR) bases throughout Europe. The Scottish government contributed £1.5 million toward the cost of the hangar through a series of grants, including £640,000 in training grants.

March 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will launch service from Vilnius to London Stansted (daily), Dublin (thrice-weekly), Milan Bergamo (thrice-weekly), Rome Ciampino (thrice-weekly), and Girona (twice-weekly) in May.

(RYR) has temporarily suspended operations at Trapani (TPS) from March 21 “for an indefinite period and until at least March 28” as the airport is closed to all civilian air traffic owing to the ongoing military action in Libya. (RYR) consequently switched its (TPS) operations to Palermo Airport, 35 miles (56 km) from Trapani. (RYR) operates to/from 42 domestic and European destinations from (TPS).

(RYR) which only recently entered Greece, is adding Chania on the isle of Crete to its menu of sunshine destinations from Frankfurt Hahn and Milan Bergamo this summer. Last month, (RYR) announced no fewer than 17 new summertime routes to Greece from cities throughout Europe.

April 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will launch twice-weekly, London Stansted - Corfu service in July. (RYR) will launch twice-weekly, Brussels South Charleroi - Pula service on June 20.

(RYR) announced deep cuts of “up to -80%” at its Alicante (ALC) airport base from October 2011, following (AENA) Alicante’s decision last week to force passengers to board via airbridges instead of stairs, which it asserts “will cost more than >€2 million/$2.8 million per year.” (RYR), which has been operating at (ALC) for more than five years without using airbridges, has submitted a formal complaint to the Spanish government and the European Commission (EC) for what it calls “unnecessary facilities.” (RYR) called (ALC)’s decision to require the use of airbridges an “abuse of its monopoly.”

As a result, (RYR) said it will eliminate 31 of its 62 routes from (ALC), reduce the number of planes based there from 11 to two, and cut capacity to 1.5 million from 4 million from its winter 2011/2012 schedule. “This abusive behavior by (AENA) Alicante will now mean that the airport loses over -€30 million in revenues, more than >-2.5 million passengers and over >-2,000 jobs, as (RYR)’s based airplanes and flights are cut by up to -80% from October 2011,” said (RYR) CEO, Michael O’Leary. “We hope that the Spanish government and the (EC) will support our complaint. ”O’Leary added that he has assured Spain’s Transport Ministry that if (AENA) Alicante “reverses this foolish decision,” then “these deep cuts in routes, traffic and jobs can be reversed.”

May 2011: Ryanair (RYR) reported a net profit of +€374.6 million/+$530 million for its fiscal year ended March 31, up +23% from +€305.3 million earned in the prior fiscal year. Despite the profit increase, it warned that up to 80 airplanes could be grounded next winter to counter surging fuel prices and limit second-half losses to protect full-year profitability. It parked 40 airplanes in winter 2010 to 2011. “Higher oil prices next winter, and the refusal of some airports to offer lower charges, makes it more profitable to tactically ground up to 80 airplanes rather than suffer losses operating them to high cost airports at low winter yields,” said CEO, Michael O’Leary. (RYR) expects passengers carried in the current fiscal year (FY) ending March 2012 to grow +4% year-over-year to more than >75 million, with strong growth of up to +10% in the first half, but said the expected winter capacity cuts will cause monthly traffic in the second half of (FY) 2011 - 2012 “to fall by approximately -4%.”

“It’s the first time ever that we’ll go negative on traffic,” conceded O’Leary, predicting that higher oil prices will lead “to further consolidations, increased competitor losses and more airlines going broke.” O’Leary concluded this “creates further growth opportunities for (RYR) because we operate the most fuel-efficient airplanes, have the lowest operating costs, and the strongest balance sheet” with €3 billion in cash.

Excluding exceptional items, (FY) 2010 - 2011 net earnings increased +26% to +€400.7 million from +€318.8 million in (FY) 2009 - 2010. Exceptional costs in the reporting year, amounted to €26.1 million relating to the closure of airspace in April/May 2010 due to the Icelandic volcanic ash disruptions; the ash cloud costs include €12.4 million in passenger compensation claims.

(FY) 2010 - 2011 revenue rose +21% to €3.63 billion on a +8% increase in booked passengers to 72 million. Scheduled-services revenue grew +22% as average fares (including baggage fees) rose +12% to €39 and ancillary revenue jumped +21% to €801.6 million (representing 22% of total revenue). Total operating expenses increased +20% to €3.11 billion, primarily due to the +37% hike in fuel costs to €1.23 billion. Fuel represented 39% of total operating costs compared to 35% in the prior year. Unit costs ex-fuel heightened +3%; including fuel, costs increased by +11%. Operating profit including exceptional items rose from +€402.1 million in (FY) 2009 - 2010 to +€488.2 million in (FY) 2010- 2011.

(RYR) is 90% hedged for the current fiscal year at $820 per tonne. Despite the scheduled winter capacity cuts, (RYR) still expects its full-year fuel bill to increase by about +€350 million.

(RYR) added +40 new airplanes in the reporting year to bring its fleet to 272 737-800s. It opened eight new bases at Barcelona El Prat, Gran Canaria, Kaunas, Lanzarote, Malta, Seville, Tenerife, and Valencia, but closed six and launched 382 new routes, expanding its network to 44 bases and more than >1,300 routes. This compares to 42 bases and 940 routes at the end of (FY) 2009 - 2010. Load factor was up +1 point to 83% LF. (RYR)'s fleet will increase to 294 airplanes by the end of March 2012 and to 299 by the end of (FY) 2012 - 2013.

June 2011: Comac (CCC) plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with low-cost carrier (LCC), Ryanair (RYR) to co-operate on (CCC)'s C919 narrow body, in a move that (CCC) hopes will lead to orders. The agreement is to be signed on 21 June at Comac (CCC)'s new European office in Paris, which will be officially established on 19 June.

Calling the deal a "market co-operation agreement, they [Ryanair (RYR)] are an airline, while we are an airplane manufacturer. We hope to understand their needs and to incorporate them into the design of the C919" said (CCC).

(RYR) is in talks with (CCC) to acquire the Comac C919 narrow body and could order hundreds of airplanes, said (RYR)'s CEO, Michael O'Leary. "We have started discussions on pricing . . . if we do order, there is no point for us to order just a few, it would be over 200 airplanes," O'Leary said after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Comac (CCC).

The agreement will see the airline working with (CCC) on the design of the C919. (RYR) is keen on a stretched 200-seat version of the C919, said O'Leary, who added that the C919 baseline model is "a little bit small".

The C919, scheduled to enter into service in 2016, can take 168Y seats in an all-economy configuration. (RYR)'s fleet of 737-800s have 189Y seats each. "The extra 10 seats in a larger version of the C919 will help," said O'Leary.

(RYR) could start off by operating the baseline version, but (RYR) would eventually prefer a larger airplane. "We could start with 20 to 30 airplanes at the start, during the first or second year. We could take the baseline version first, as long as a bigger version comes along," said O'Leary.

(RYR) has about 30 more 737 deliveries to come until early 2012, but has so far failed to agree terms with Boeing (TBC) or Airbus (EDS) covering a further large airplane deal. O'Leary foresees a need for new deliveries to begin in 2017.

While O'Leary said he is keen to see a third competitor in the narrow body market, he acknowledged that Comac (CCC) has its work cut out for it in terms of meeting the 2016 entry into service date.

"It will be a challenge for Comac (CCC). Can they meet that demand within China and the international market? But it's also an opportunity. They have to show they can compete with Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC)," he said.

O'Leary dismisses criticism of the C919 program, and believes the airplane will be able to meet USA and European safety standards, saying that the Chinese airplane manufacturing industry is no longer a "laughing stock".

"I think it's [the criticism] rubbish. Will passengers fly on a Chinese airplane? Of course they will fly on a bloody Chinese airplane."

Comac (CCC) is developing the C919, which is scheduled to enter service in 2016. The company is aiming to get the airplane certificated by the USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), so it can be marketed overseas.

CyberSource reached an agreement with Ryanair (RYR), under which the Visa-owned company will provide fraud management and payment processing services to the (RYR) website. CyberSource’s payment management will allow (RYR) to process multiple payment types across more than >190 currencies.

July 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will establish a base at Manchester Airport (MAN) on October 2, initially with two 737-800s operating on 17 routes, and has plans to grow to four airplanes and 26 routes by the summer of 2012. (MAN) will be (RYR)’s 45th base.

The announcement comes less than two years after it pulled nine out of 10 routes from/to (MAN) in a dispute over passenger charges. In August 2009, (RYR) said it had offered (MAN) an additional 28 weekly flights and 400,000 new passengers if the airport reduced its charges but the airport operator maintained "that charges as low as £3/$4.96 per passenger were reasonable.” Two months later, (RYR) quasi-closed its operations at (MAN), although it has opened five new routes to/from (MAN) since then.

(RYR) said its new base represents an investment of more than >$280 million, which it expects will deliver up to two million passengers a year and create 2,000 jobs at the UK’s fourth largest airport in passenger numbers. New routes are: Girona, Bergamo, Bezier, Biarritz, Bremen, Brussels South Charleroi, Frankfurt Hahn, Ibiza, Katowice, Malaga, Memmingen, Murcia, Oslo, Paris Beauvais, Reus, Rome Ciampino, Rzeszow, Tallinn, Tours, and Valencia. Not all of them are year-round routes.

August 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will launch four-times-weekly, Bordeaux - Rome Ciampino 737-800 service on November 2. (RYR) will cease Dublin service to Kerry and Cork on September 7 and October 30, respectively.

September 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will cease Dublin service to Kerry and Cork on September 7 and October 30, respectively.

The Irish government is considering the sale of its 25% stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) because it is no longer seen as a “strategic” asset, Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar said. “No formal decision on that [(ARL) sale] is made yet,” Varadkar said in a radio interview, which was cited in Irish media. “What I can say is that that stake in the past was held for strategic reasons and, having studied the matter over the summer, I don't think that really stands anymore.”

The divestment of the (ARL) holding was included in a government-sponsored report published in April as part of the country’s commitment to raising approximately €2 billion/$2.8 billion from sales of state assets to reduce high public debt. The report also listed the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and the Irish Aviation Authority as possible disposal targets. The sale of one of the terminals at Dublin airport might not yield much money for the government owing to the (DAA)'s pension deficit, according to Varadkar.

Ryanair (RYR), which is (ARL)’s largest shareholder with close to 30% ownership, said in a statement it would not bid for the 25% stake if the government indicated such an offer would be unwelcome. It also said it would “welcome” and work with another financially strong airline/investor to restore shareholder value and even consider selling its own stake. “Should another financially strong airline/investor acquire the government’s 25% stake, (RYR) would not rule out entering into discussions with that party for the subsequent disposal of Ryanair (RYR)’s near 30% stake, subject to an acceptable agreement on price and maximizing shareholder value,” it said.

Britain's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) last year opened an investigation on whether (RYR)'s ownership of the stake in (ARL) hampers competition in the sector. (OFT) said earlier this month it expects to make a decision by October 26.

October 2011: Ryanair (RYR) will open a base at Wroclaw Airport (WRO) in March 2012, initially with one 737-800 and six new routes, bringing its network from the airport to 21 destinations.

New routes from (WRO) include Bournemouth, Chania (Crete), Malta, Malmo, Paris Beauvais and Venice Treviso. (RYR) expects the base will deliver up to 800,000 passengers annually and sustain 800 jobs in the Wroclaw region.

(WRO) with be (RYR)’s first base in Poland and its 46th base in Europe.

November 2011: Ryanair (RYR) reported net profit of +€543.5 million/+$750 million in the first half ended September 30, up +20.2% compared to adjusted net profit of +€451.9 million in the year-ago period. Including exceptional items, earnings jumped +28% from €424 million to €543.5 million. Adjusted net margin was 20%.

Revenue rose +24% to €2.7 billion, on a +12% growth in passengers carried to 44.7 million and a +13% hike in average fare to €50. Ancillary revenues grew by +15% to €486.5 million. Revenue per passenger rose +11% to €63.

(RYR) CEO, Michael O’Leary said the solid income growth is “a testament to the strength of (RYR)’s lowest fare/lowest cost model, which delivered robust traffic and profit growth despite significantly higher oil prices and an economic downturn in Europe.” He attributed the +13% rise in average fares (which include baggage fees) to the slower growth, a better mix of new routes and bases, “as well as rising competitor fares/fuel surcharges.”

Europe’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC) will proceed with its previously announced planned capacity cuts in its fiscal second half and ground up to 80 airplanes this winter due to higher oil prices. Consequently, it expects traffic to fall in the second half by -4%, including a noteworthy decline of -10%, or almost 500,000 passengers in November, whereas the average ticket prices are expected to rise by up to +14%, slightly better than the +12% in its previous earnings guidance, O’Leary said.

The better-than-average ticket prices prompted (RYR) to raise its full-year net profit guidance by 10. It now expects to earn +€440 million, compared to a +€400 million forecast earlier in the year.

Fiscal first-half operating expenses increased +26% to €2.06 billion, primarily owing to an increase in fuel prices, the higher level of activity and operating costs associated with the airline’s growth. Fuel, which represents 44% of total operating costs compared to 40% in the prior period, increased by +37% to €907 million. Unit costs, ex-fuel, increased by +6%. Load factor remained flat at 85% LF.

(RYR) will roll out its reservation option for certain seats, which has been trialled on select routes since May, to the entire network in January. Over the past six months, passengers have been able to purchase reservations for the seats in the front two rows and at the over-wing exits for £10/$15.70 per flight on around 100 routes.

While the first rows allow quicker debarkation after arrival, the seats at the emergency exits offer more leg room. The scheme has been so popular that it will be extended to the entire network from 10 January.

(RYR) operates approximately 1,100 routes, according to its website.

Earlier this month, UK low-cost carrier (LCC) EasyJet (EZY) revealed that it would trial allocated seating on selected routes from next spring.

(RYR) will launch 3X-weekly, London Stansted (STN) - Turku flights from April 2012, its third route to Finland.

(RYR) ended its fiscal first half with 275 737-800s, which operate more than >1,500 daily flights. Its network spans more than >1,300 routes connecting 160 airports in 27 countries.

Deputy CEO & CFO, Howard Millar told analysts that (RYR) will be meeting with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) and Boeing later this month as it looks to place an order for up to 300 airplanes for fleet replacement and growth.

(RYR) revealed it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with (COMAC) (CCC) at the Paris Air Show in June to develop a 200-seat airplane.

December 2011: Ryanair (RYR) said it will cut 42 frequencies from its network to/from Riga airport (RIX), citing the new €6.50/$8.75 security tax imposed by the Latvian government that becomes effective January 1.

Beginning January 12, (RYR) will close routes to/from Bristol and Bremen and reduce frequencies on another eight routes, including London Stansted, Bergamo, and Rome Ciampino. It serves 16 destinations to/from (RIX).

(RYR) predicts the capacity reduction will result in the loss of more than >-300,000 passengers, -300 jobs and over -€30 million in tourism revenue.

“(RYR) emphasized the devastating impact such taxes have had on passenger traffic in the UK, Germany and Ireland and confirmed that passengers to/from Riga are extremely price sensitive and unwilling to pay the Latvian government’s high travel taxes,” (RYR) said, noting that tourist taxes were scrapped in Belgium and Holland “after their governments studied the devastating impact such taxes have on tourism and jobs.”

January 2012: Ryanair (RYR) reported a net profit of +€14.9 million/+$19.7 million in the third quarter ended December 31, 2011, a complete turnaround from a -€10.3 million deficit in the year-ago period.

The improvement was a result of an increase in yield after (RYR) cut capacity by -2% as well as strong ancillary revenues.

(RYR) grounded 80 airplanes for the winter season to offset the damaging combination of weak demand with rising fuel prices.

(RYR) CEO, Michael O’Leary said the third-quarter profit “was slightly ahead of guidance due to a combination of benign weather, which caused fewer flight cancellations and significant de-icing savings, and a better performance on yields reflecting our planned winter capacity cuts, longer sectors, and higher competitor fares/fuel surcharges.”

He added that if the positive third-quarter tends continue into the fourth quarter, ending March 31, “we now expect our full-year profit will exceed previous guidance [of +€440 million] and rise to +€480 million.”

Total operating revenue rose +13% to €844.4 million, on a -2% decrease in passenger carried to 16.7 million and a +17% hike in average fares (including baggage fees). Ancillary revenue increased +6% to €177 million despite the decrease in passenger volume, and rose by +8% on a per passenger basis because of an improved product mix and higher Internet-related revenues.

Fiscal third-quarter operating expenses increased +9% to €815 million, primarily because of +18% increase in fuel costs and a +7% increase in sector length. Fuel now represents 41% of (RYR)’s total operating costs. Unit costs, ex-fuel, increased by +6%. Load factor decreased by -2 points to 81% LF. Operating profit was +€29.4 million compared to an operating loss of -€0.3 million in the year-ago period.

O’Leary said (RYR)’s new routes and bases “have performed well this winter” and it remains on course to open a further five new bases in Baden Baden, Billund, Palma, Paphos, and Wroclaw in March/April. He said (RYR) expects to launch at least one more base for the summer of 2012.

(RYR) named Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca as its 49th base, assigning it four 737s enabling 17 new routes. It’s hardly a coincidence that Palma is a big base for struggling Air Berlin (BER), which (RYR) wants to kick while it’s down. (RYR) is also opening a new base this year in the southern German city of Baden Baden, not far from Stuttgart and the French city of Strasbourg, plus new bases at Wroclaw and Billund.

(RYR) will open a base at Paphos International, Cyprus, in April with two 737-800s operating more than >80 weekly flights on 14 routes. It will be (RYR)’s 50th base.

In December, (RYR) announced it will open its 49th base at Palma Airport in March with four based airplanes operating 47 routes, of which 17 are new. It will cut back its presence in Alicante because it says that airport operator (AENA) is mandating the use of unnecessary air bridges that will require it to pay fees of some €2 million/$2.5 million per year.

(RYR) said the Cyprus base represents an investment of $140 million and will initially deliver some 600,000 passengers per year and sustain over >600 jobs.

The routes are to Chania, Frankfurt Hahn, Kaunas, Krakow, London, Memmingen, Milan, Oslo, Patras, Pisa, Rome Ciampino, Stockholm, Treviso, and Thessaloniki in Greece.

(RYR) also announced it will expand its base at Girona (GRO) this summer, growing the number of based airplanes from four to nine and adding 19 new routes to Aarhus, Bydgoszcz, Cagliari, Cork, Doncaster, Dusseldorf, Gdansk, Ibiza, Knock, Krakow, Madrid, Malmo, Nador, Perugia, Poitiers, Skelleftea, Stockholm, Thessaloniki, and Turku. This will bring its network at the Spanish airport to 59 routes.

(RYR) will launch 2X-weekly, Birmingham - Budapest service in March.

(RYR) said its traffic at (GRO) will grow by +3 million passengers per year. (RYR) flew 76.4 million passengers in 2011, up +5% from 72.7 million in 2010.

(RYR) said it would resume many routes to Reus after the winter season and several other new routes with its 737-800 fleet:
Alicante - Bournemouth: 4x weekly service resuming on February 2;
Alicante - Cork: 3x weekly service resuming on June 2;
Alicante - Haugesund: 2x weekly service resuming on March 27;
Alicante - Kaunas: 2x weekly service resuming on March 26;
Alicante - Kerry: 2x weekly service resuming on March 28;
Alicante - Knock: 2x weekly service resuming on March 26;
Alicante - Maastricht: 4x weekly service resuming on March 26;
Alicante - Malmö: 2x weekly service starting on March 28;
Alicante - Memmingen: 2x weekly service has resumed on December 1;
Alicante - Oslo Torp: 3x weekly service resuming on March 27;
Alicante - Paris Beauvais: 3x weekly service resuming on March 27;
Alicante - Stockholm Vasteras: 2x weekly service resuming on March 26;
Alicante - Tampere: 2x weekly service resuming on March 25;
Alicante - Växjö: 2x weekly service resuming on March 26;
Alicante - Wroclaw: 2x weekly service resuming on March 25;
Barcelona - East Midlands: daily service starting on March 25; (replacing Girona route operated last summer);
Barcelona - Glasgow Prestwick: daily service starting on March 25 (replacing Girona route operated last summer);
Barcelona - Poznan: 2x weekly service has started on October 30 (replacing Girona route operated last summer);
Barcelona - Trieste: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Barcelona - Vilnius: 2x weekly service has started on November 2 (replacing Girona route operated last summer);
Bari - Maastricht: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Bari - Trieste: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Billund - Carcassonne: 2x weekly service starting on March 22;
Billund - Kerkyra: weekly seasonal service starting on March 24;
Billund - Krakow: 3x weekly service starting on March 22;
Billund - Venice Treviso: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Billund - Zadar: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 24;
Birmingham - Reus: 3x weekly service resuming on March 25;
Bologna Marconi - Trapani: daily service has resumed on October 30;
Bremen - Lodz: 2x weekly service starting on March 28;
Bristol - Bratislava: 2x weekly service has resumed on November 2;
Bristol - Reus: 2x weekly service resuming on March 27;
Brussels Charleroi - Alghero: 2x weekly seasonal service resuming on March 29;
Brussels Charleroi - Chania: weekly seasonal service starting on March 29;
Brussels Charleroi - Kerkyra: weekly seasonal service starting on March 30;
Brussels Charleroi - Memmingen: daily service starting on March 25;
Brussels Charleroi - Reus: 4x weekly service resuming on March 27;
Brussels Charleroi - Rodez: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Brussels Charleroi - Turku: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Cork - Reus: 4x weekly service resuming on June 1;
Dublin - Reus: 11x weekly service resuming on March 25;
Dublin - Verona: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Dusseldorf Weeze - Reus: 2x weekly service resuming on March 27;
East Midlands - Almeria: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
East Midlands - Chania: weekly seasonal service starting on March 28;
East Midlands - Kerkyra: weekly seasonal service starting on March 28;
East Midlands - La Rochelle: 3x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
East Midlands - Reus: 2x weekly service resuming on March 27;
East Midlands - Rhodes: weekly seasonal service starting on March 31;
East Midlands - Zadar: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on July 2;
Edinburgh - Verona: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Eindhoven - Gdansk: 2x weekly service has started on November 1;
Eindhoven - Krakow: 2x weekly service has started on October 31;
Eindhoven - Marrakech: 2x weekly service has started on October 30;
Faro - Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden: 2x weekly service starting on March 28;
Faro - Leipzig/Halle: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Faro - Maastricht: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Frankfurt Hahn - Alexandroupolis: 2x weekly service starting on March 28;
Frankfurt Hahn - Gothenburg City: 3x weekly service resuming on March 26;
Frankfurt Hahn - Knock: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Frankfurt Hahn - Lamezia Terme: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Frankfurt Hahn - Nador: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Frankfurt Hahn - Oslo Rygge: 3x weekly service has started on October 31;
Frankfurt Hahn - Plovdiv: 2x weekly service has started on November 3;
Frankfurt Hahn - Reus: 4x weekly service resuming on March 25;
Frankfurt Hahn - Tallinn: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Girona - Cagliari: daily service resuming on March 25;
Girona - Dusseldorf Weeze: daily service resuming on March 25;
Girona - Knock: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Girona - Manchester: daily service has resumed on November 2 (replacing Liverpool route);
Girona - Turku: 2x weekly service starting on April 6;
Glasgow Prestwick - Bydgoszcz: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Glasgow Prestwick - Chania: weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
Glasgow Prestwick - Kerkyra: weekly seasonal service starting on March 29;
Glasgow Prestwick - Reus: 2x weekly service resuming on March 27;
Karlsruhe/Baden - Baden - Riga: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Karlsruhe/Baden - Baden - Thessaloniki: 2x weekly service starting on March 30;
Karlsruhe/Baden - Baden - Vilnius: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Karlsruhe/Baden - Baden - Zadar: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 28;
Kaunas - Eindhoven: 2x weekly service has started on October 31;
Leeds/Bradford - Chania: weekly seasonal service starting on March 31;
Leeds/Bradford - Dinard: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Leeds/Bradford - Kerkyra: weekly seasonal service starting on March 29;
Leeds/Bradford - Kos: weekly seasonal service starting on March 28;
Leeds/Bradford - Tenerife Sur: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Liverpool - Reus: 4x weekly service resuming on March 25;
London Luton - Alghero: 2x weekly service starting on March 26 (in addition to Stansted route);
London Luton - Reus: 4x weekly service resuming on March 27;
London Stansted - Araxos: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
London Stansted - Barcelona: 2x daily service has started on December 1;
London Stansted - Chania: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
London Stansted - Kos: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
London Stansted - Leipzig/Halle: daily service has started on November 2;
London Stansted - Reus: 5x weekly service resuming on March 25;
London Stansted - Turku: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Malaga - Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Malaga - Leipzig/Halle: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Malaga - Palma de Mallorca: 4x weekly service starting on March 21;
Malaga - Turku: 2x weekly service starting on April 4;
Marseilles - Bordeaux: daily service starting on March 25;
Marseilles - Ibiza: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Marseilles - Oujda: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Marseilles - Palma de Mallorca: 3x weekly service starting on March 21;
Marseilles - Paris Beauvais: daily service resuming on March 25;
Marseilles - Vatry: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Marseilles - Zadar: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 26;
Milan Orio al Serio - Araxos: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 30;
Milan Orio al Serio - Bremen: 2x weekly service resuming on March 25;
Milan Orio al Serio - Kefalonia: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on April 2;
Milan Orio al Serio - Kerkyra: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
Milan Orio al Serio - Knock: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Milan Orio al Serio - Leeds/Bradford: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Milan Orio al Serio - Marseilles: 10x weekly service has started on October 30;
Milan Orio al Serio - Oslo Rygge: 4x weekly service starting on February 7;
Oslo Rygge - Chania: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
Oslo Rygge - Kerkyra: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 26;
Oslo Rygge - Lodz: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Oslo Rygge - Poznan: 2x weekly service has started on November 1;
Oslo Rygge - Pula: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Oslo Rygge - Toulon: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Palma de Mallorca - Aarhus: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Palma de Mallorca - Cork: 2x weekly service starting on March 28;
Palma de Mallorca - Gothenburg City: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Palma de Mallorca - Haugesund: weekly service starting on March 26;
Palma de Mallorca - Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden: daily service starting on March 27;
Palma de Mallorca - Kaunas: 2x weekly service starting on March 27;
Palma de Mallorca - Krakow: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Palma de Mallorca - Maastricht: 3x weekly service starting on March 22;
Palma de Mallorca - Magdeburg/Cochstedt: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Palma de Mallorca - Oslo Torp: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Palma de Mallorca - Paris Beauvais: 3x weekly service starting on March 22;
Palma de Mallorca - Poznan: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Palma de Mallorca - Santander: 5x weekly service starting on March 21;
Palma de Mallorca - Santiago de Compostela: 4x weekly service starting on March 22;
Palma de Mallorca - Stockholm Vasteras: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Palma de Mallorca - Tampere: weekly service starting on March 29;
Paris Beauvais - Knock: 3x weekly service starting on March 27;
Paris Beauvais - Vilnius: 3x weekly service starting on March 26 (replacing Kaunas route);
Pisa - Chania: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 28;
Pisa - Cork: 2x weekly service starting on June 1;
Pisa - Haugesund: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Pisa - Kefalonia: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on April 2;
Pisa - Kos: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 28;
Pisa - Malmö: 2x weekly service starting on March 26;
Pisa - Wroclaw: 2x weekly service starting on March 25;
Porto - Dole: 2x weekly service starting on April 5;
Rome Ciampino - Bordeaux: 4x weekly service has started on November 2;
Rome Ciampino - Genoa: 2x daily service has started on October 30;
Rome Ciampino - Leipzig/Halle: 3x weekly service has started on November 1;
Rome Ciampino - Marseilles: 3x weekly service has resumed on November 1;
Rome Ciampino - Poznan: 2x weekly service has started on November 1;
Rome Ciampino - Wroclaw: 2x weekly service has resumed on October 30;
Stockholm Skavsta - Ancona: 2x weekly service starting on March 28;
Stockholm Skavsta - Chania: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 27;
Wroclaw - Bournemouth: 2x weekly service starting on March 30;
Wroclaw - Chania: 2x weekly seasonal service starting on March 30;
Wroclaw - Malmö: 3x weekly service starting on March 29;
Wroclaw - Malta: 2x weekly service starting on March 31;
Wroclaw - Paris Beauvais: 3x weekly service starting on March 29;
Wroclaw - Venice Treviso: 2x weekly service starting on March 28.

(RYR) has announced its interest in opening a base at Modlin airport near Warsaw when it opens for commercial airline operations next summer. (RYR) will give up its routes from Bremen and Bristol to Riga on January 12 in protest of a new Latvian security tax that has been introduced at Riga airport. It has also suspended all of its services from Magdeburg/Cochstedt for the winter season and will only resume its route to Girona along with the new Palma service in March. (RYR) will not resume its routes to Magdeburg/Cochstedt from Alicante, Las Palmas and Malaga. At the end of the last summer timetable period in October, it has terminated its routes from Bologna Marconi to Fez and Marrakech, from Dublin to Aberdeen, Bologna Marconi, Cork and Kerry, from Girona to Skelleftea, from Milan Orio al Serio to Plovdiv, from Oslo Torp to Vatry and from Paris Beauvais to Parma. Ryanair has also not launched the previously announced Bari - Thessaloniki route this winter season. While (RYR) had never cancelled its Alicante - Memmingen route in the end, some of the other routes cancelled because of the arguments between Alicante airport and the carrier are not expected to be resumed next summer as well: Aarhus, Bratislava, Brno, Doncaster/Sheffield, Fez, Gdansk, Humberside, Londonderry, Marrakech, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Poznan, Santander, Valladolid, Venice Treviso and Zaragoza. It also does not plan to resume its routes from Edinburgh to Bologna Marconi and Marrakech and from London Stansted to Hamburg Lübeck in spring that were supposedly only cancelled for the winter season.

(RYR) will introduce a €0.25/$0.32 levy per passenger per segment for all bookings made from January 17 to cover costs incurred from the inclusion of aviation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Europe’s largest Low Cost Carrier (LCC) said it estimates the (EU ETS) will cost it between €15 million/$19.1 million and €20 million this year.

“(RYR) does not believe that European aviation should be included in the (ETS) scheme, since it accounts for less than <2% of the (EU)’s CO2 emissions. This latest (EU) stealth tax will damage traffic, tourism, European competiveness and jobs at a time when no other economic block is including aviation in their (ETS) schemes,” it said.

The new (ETS) tax “reduces the competitiveness of (EU) air transport with yet another misguided ‘environmental’ tax, which does nothing for the environment but penalizes (EU) consumers and families,” he said.

Review Michael O'Leary appearance on Irish Late Late TV show:

4 737-8AS (34982, EI-EVB; 40286, EI-EVC; 40287, EI-EVD; 40288, EI-EVA), deliveries.

February 2012: Ryanair (RYR) continued expanding its new Budapest (BUD) base, on 21 February launching four new routes with its 189-seat 737-800s in addition to the 13 routes already launched the week prior. Flights to Milan Bergamo (BGY) were launched with the highest frequency at 10 flights a week, increasing to 11 weekly flights at the start of the summer season. The other three routes, to Brussels Charleroi (CRL), Paris Beauvais (BVA) and Rome Ciampino (CIA), are initially operated with daily frequencies, but the flights to the Belgian and Italian capitals increase to 13 and 10 weekly flights respectively for the summer scheduling season. Two of the four new routes face direct competition; Wizz Air (WZZ) competes with each daily flights to both Brussels Charleroi and Milan Bergamo. Further indirect competition comes from Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) at Brussels Airport, AirFrance (AFA) at Paris (CDG), easyJet (EZY) at Paris Orly and Wizz Air (WZZ) and Alitalia (ALI) at Rome Fiumicino.

(UK) airports operator (BAA) lost its appeal this month of a 2009 ruling by the UK Competition Commission (CC) that had the effect of directing it to sell London Stansted (STN) Airport. After years of legal challenges, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal decided to uphold the (CC)’s decision to require (BAA) to sell (STN). A (BAA) spokesperson said the company will “now carefully consider before making any further statements.”

(STN) handled 18.3 million passengers in 2011, down -2.8% from 2010. It was the only (UK) airport in (BAA)’s portfolio to register a decline in passenger traffic, according to (BAA) data. Airplane movements decreased -4.5% year-over-year to 136,911. It handles mostly short–and medium-haul point-to-point flights and serves as a base for Ryanair (RYR) and easyJet (EZY).

(RYR) said it welcomed the decision, claiming that while “(BAA) Stansted Airport has been delaying the sale, they have doubled passenger charges and presided over record traffic declines from 24 million in 2007 to 18 million in 2011.”

3 737-8ASs (35035, EI-EVE; 40291, EI-EVF; 40292, EI-EVG), deliveries.

March 2012: Ryanair (RYR) has reportedly signed an agreement with the government of Montenegro to start air services to the country from its bases at Brussels Charleroi (CRL), London Stansted (STN) and Milan Orio al Serio (BGY) this summer in return for subsidized landing fees and financial assistance to sell Montenegro as a tourist destination.

The (UK) government has confirmed the Air Passenger Duty (APD) will rise to 8% April 1 as previously announced, despite strong lobbying from airlines, airports and the tourist industry to cancel the tax. It is also keeping plans for a further “inflationary” increase in the (APD) from April 2013.

“At a time when the government talks about creating jobs and growth, its blinkered insistence on further increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD) achieves precisely the opposite,” (IAG)/(BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh; easyJet (EZY) (CEO), Carolyn McCall; Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary; and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) (CEO), Steve Ridgway said in a joint statement.

The (UK) (APD) is one of the highest air travel taxes in the world. It is calculated on a four-band structure and varies from £13/$20.63 for an economy-class (Y) ticket in Europe, to £92 for a ticket to a "Band D" destination (over >6,000 miles). The amounts are doubled for a ticket in premium economy (PY), business (C) or first class (F).

“In every other leading country, aviation is an expanding industry that underpins and facilitates growth in other parts of the economy. In the (UK), rises of up to +360% in (APD) in the last seven years are squeezing the life out of the economy. The [(UK) Civil Aviation Authority] (CAA) has confirmed that (UK) passenger numbers last year were the same as in 2004,” the (CEO)s of the country’s four largest airlines added. They argue the “(APD) must be scrapped.”

Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) (CEO), Mike Carrivick described the decision to stick to the (APD) hike a “reckless brake” on the economy. “A policy of disproportionately high air travel taxation and a failed aviation policy provide two glaring examples of how the government’s aim for economic recovery is being damaged by its own doing,” he said.

The Airport Operators Association said it was “dismayed” at the (APD) decision. The (UK) government also confirmed it will proceed with plans to bring executive jets into (APD) from April 2013, as outlined in December.

On a more positive note, Chancellor, George Osborne said the country had to “confront the lack of capacity in the southeast of England.”

Ryanair (RYR) has condemned the “European Commission (EC)’s bias against low cost carriers (LCC)s” and called for an end to its travel policy prohibiting members booking flights on (LCC)s.

At a press conference in Brussels, (RYR) released copies of emails received from the (EC)'s travel agency, Amex, stating it is not allowed to book low-cost flights or reimburse travel expenses to and from Brussels Charleroi airport, where (RYR) has a large base. (RYR) also released a letter from the (EC)’s Director for Administration & Payment, which said it is “true that the terms of this contract do prevent Amex from booking tickets with ‘low-cost carriers (LCC)s.”

The Amex emails and the (EC)’s letters “unequivocally admit that the (EC) “prevents” its travel agency from making bookings on (LCC)s, which would save the hard-pressed (EU) taxpayer millions of euros each year,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said. “This prohibition is a blatant subsidy to (EU) flag carriers and discriminates yet again against Europe’s (LCC)s which have now overtaken Europe’s flag carriers in terms of passenger popularity.”

(RYR) filed a formal complaint with the European Court of Auditors earlier this month, asking it to assess “the legality, regularity and financial soundness” of the travel policy.

(RYR) described the (EC)’s travel policy as the latest example of its bias against (LCC)s in general, and (RYR) in particular, and criticized the (EC)’s “rubber stamping” of mergers between flag carriers while blocking a merger between Ryanair (RYR) and Aer Lingus (ARL) in 2006.

The (EC) in past years cleared the merger between AirFrance (AFA) and (KLM), Lufthansa (DLH)’s acquisition of Austrian Airlines (AUL), Swiss (CSR), Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and British Midlands International (BMA), and the merger of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE).

Outspoken Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary has offered a scathing verdict on Boeing (TBC)'s 737 Max, describing the re-engined narrow body as a "dog's dinner of a design" that had been drawn "on the back of a fag packet as a response to the [Airbus (EDS)] A320Neo".

Although talks "are ongoing" with (TBC) about future orders of either the 737Max or current generation 737-800s, he complained "(TBC) can't tell you what the 737Max looks like or what the fuel saving is".

An additional stumbling block is (RYR)'s concept for a standing-only area on its flights, raising capacity to 230 passengers from 189 on an all-seated 737 airplane. This would require the removal of the rear lavatories and final six rows of seats in the 737. "We won't place any new order until they [Boeing (TBC)] come up with a fix for this issue," said O'Leary.

In the meantime, (RYR) has approached an undisclosed aviation regulator with a view to trialling standing-area flights, but has received "no positive response".

(RYR) is still condsidering ordering the (Comac) (CCC) C919, added O'Leary, and has a design team working with the Chinese airframer (CCC) toward a 200-seat variant of the baseline 174-seat airplane in the 2018/2019 time frame. Airbus (EDS) was not currently in the running, he said.

Meanwhile, he criticised the (UK) government's lack of a clear policy towards the aviation sector and said it was damaging the (UK)'s competitiveness. Since Airline Passenger Duty (APD) was introduced in 2007, (UK) passenger numbers have fallen by -20%, said O'Leary.

He called for the government to "stop pandering to the idiot environmentalists and even less sensible Nimbys" and add extra runways at London Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, as these airports are already served by existing public transport and road infrastructure. Seeking to construct a new airport in "the estuary of Boris [Johnson's] imagination" with no road or rail links for delivery in 30 years time was, he said "complete and utter bloody lunacy even by Boris's standards".


April 2012: Ryanair (RYR) will significantly increase its presence at Warsaw Modlin airport (WMI) between September and October, launching 11 new routes to Barcelona El Prat International (BCN), Bologna Giuseppe Marconi (BLQ), Bristol International (BRS), Dusseldorf Weeze (NRN), East Midlands (EMA), Frankfurt Hahn (HHN), Glasgow Prestwick (PIK), Liverpool John Lennon (LPL), Manchester Ringway International (MAN) and Paris Beauvais Tillé (BVA) airports.

Ryanair (RYR) has scrapped a further batch of flights from Edinburgh airport (EDI) in Scotland, in an ongoing dispute over costs with airport owner, the British Airports Authority (BAA).

(RYR) cut five routes from its summer schedule in February as part of the same dispute and warned today that yet more could be at risk if no resolution was reached.

The cuts are routes from (EDI) to Bratislava (Slovakia), Bremen, and Frankfurt (Germany), Fuerteventura (Spain’s Canary Islands), Gothenburg (Sweden), Kaunas (Lithuania), Lodz, and Poznan (Poland).

This will involve the loss of -60 weekly flights, -500,000 passengers per year and up to -500 onsite jobs, (RYR) said.

The dispute centers on (RYR)’s five-year base agreement at (EDI), where it stations six 737-800s and which ends in October. It accused the (BAA) of artificially increasing charges at (EDI) “in the hope of making a killing on the sale of the airport for its Spanish shareholders.”

The (BAA) is majority-owned by Ferrovial of Spain and operates six UK airports. The (UK) competition authorities have instructed the (BAA) to sell off London Stansted and (EDI).

(EDI) Managing Director, Jim O’Sullivan said: “Of course we are disappointed that (RYR) has announced that it will reduce its services from Edinburgh. The numbers quoted on any passenger and job impacts are speculative and we look forward to further negotiations with (RYR), once the sale of the airport is concluded. We have tried extremely hard to negotiate with (RYR) but sadly on many issues, we have not been able to find common ground. We continue not to be able to accept their wish to not pay the agreed air traffic control (ATC) costs that all other airlines pay.”

The world's leading low-cost carriers (LCC)s enjoyed double-digit revenue growth in 2011 and collective passenger numbers rose nearly +12%. The latest "Airline Business" low-cost carrier (LCC) survey showed revenues grew strong at virtually all of the more than >30 carriers 2011 financial results were available for.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) remains the largest budget operator by revenue and passenger numbers. Its revenues jumped nearly +30% to $15.7 billion when accounting for its 2011 acquisition of fellow low-cost carrier (LCC) AirTran (CQT). Excluding the merger, its revenues were up +6%. Passenger numbers reached 135 million.

Ryanair (RYR), using an annual figure based on revenues in its four published quarters for the calendar year, was the second largest no-frills operators by revenues at just under <$6 billion.

(RYR) was also among the most profitable of low-cost carrier (LCC) operators. It posted net profits of +$496 million to March 2011 and has been targeting net profits of +$630 million for its financial year just ended.

Passenger numbers across 75 low-cost carriers (LCC)s in the survey grew +11.6% in 2011.

May 2012: RyanAir (RYR) has announced a +25% leap in annual post-tax profits to a record +€503 million/+$641 million, compared to +€401 million in the year-ago period. It warned that the next Fiscal Year (FY13)’s figures are likely to decline, given the combination of rising fuel costs and Europe’s gloomy economic outlook.

(RYR)’s results included a +19% increase in revenue to €4.32 billion and a +5% rise in passengers to 75.8 million, despite the grounding of up to 80 of its 294 737s over the winter.

Ancillary revenue rose +11% to €886 million, or 21% of total revenue. Excluding fuel, sector length-adjusted unit costs were flat.

(RYR)’s fuel bill went up +€360 million and it anticipates further increases in the coming year. It has hedged 90% of its FY13 fuel at approximately $101 per barrel, a +22% increase on last year, but significantly lower than current prices.

(RYR) again proposed grounding a large proportion of its fleet next winter, because of fuel costs and what O’Leary described as “the refusal of some monopoly airports, notably Dublin and [London] Stansted, to lower winter charges. This makes it more logical to ground up to 80 airplanes rather than suffer losses flying at very low winter yields in FY13.”

Despite this move, it anticipated traffic again will grow to 79 million passengers, with annual profits in the +€400 to +€440 million range.

Looking forward, (CEO), Michael O’Leary forecast that Europe’s fiscal problems will result in more airline bankruptcies, following Malev (HGA), Spanair (SPP) and Cimber Sterling (STR) and the closure later this year of bmibaby (BMI) if a purchaser is not found.

(RYR) now serves Cologne/Bonn Airport in Germany from Girona and Palma de Mallorca in Spain. (RYR) now flies to Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands. (RYR) has launched new routes from Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Madrid, Pafos and Malta.

June 2012: While the vast majority of routes operated by Ryanair (RYR) are to and/or from one of its 50 bases spread far and wide across Europe, occasionally it elects to connect two non-bases. Such is the case with (RYR)’s new service between Eindhoven (EIN) in the Netherlands and Carcassonne (CCF) in France. The French town is less than 100 kilometres from Toulouse, a major French city that (RYR) does not serve directly. Flights will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Eindhoven becomes (RYR)’s 11th route to/from Carcassonne, which last year saw passenger numbers fall -6.3% to 368,021. Carcassonne’s busiest ever year was in 2007, when it handled 467,000 passengers.

(RYR) has launched another takeover bid for Ireland’s national carrier Aer Lingus (ARL).

After European financial markets closed, (RYR) said that (RYR) Holdings subsidiary, Coinside Ltd, was making an all-cash offer of €1.30/$1.65 per share for (ARL), a premium of 38.3% over a closing price of €0.94. This values the Aer Lingus (ARL) Group at €694 million/$877.8 million.

(RYR) built up a 29.82% shareholding in (ARL) from 2006 and has made two previously unsuccessful attempts to buy (ARL). (ARL) has long wanted (RYR) to be forced to sell its shareholding and (as recently as a month ago) welcomed the outcome of a long-running legal wrangle in which the UK’s Office of Fair Trading was decreed to have the jurisdiction to investigate the allegedly anti-competitive effects of (RYR)’s minority shareholding in (ARL). The status of that investigation, if (RYR) succeeds in buying (ARL), was not immediately clear.

(RYR)’s previous takeover attempts failed to gain sufficient shareholder acceptance and were ultimately blocked by the European Commission (EC) on competition grounds.

The Irish government, which holds a 25% stake in (ARL), has always opposed a sale to (RYR). The government now wishes to sell its stake to bolster its finances in the face of Ireland’s severe economic downturn.

(RYR) said it believed circumstances have changed since its previous takeover attempts. It listed several factors, including the continued consolidation of European airlines, which it said was leaving (ARL) isolated as an increasingly peripheral player in the marketplace.

It added that any competition concerns raised by the (EC) “can be addressed by (RYR) making appropriate remedies.”

The (RYR) statement said the two carriers could complement each other, with (RYR) helping (ARL) “by growing (ARL)’s short-haul fleet to offer more competition at some of Europe’s major airports where currently (ARL) operates and (RYR) has no desire to fly.”

(ARL)’s transatlantic operations would also benefit from (RYR)’s investment to grow, (RYR) stated.

In an expected move, the Aer Lingus (ARL) board rejected the third attempt by (RYR) to take over the company, saying the bid undervalued (ARL).

According to (ARL), its management team “has delivered a significantly improved operational and financial performance since 2009, transforming (ARL) into a robust, profitable airline.”

It also said the UK Competition Commission (CC) was currently investigating (RYR)’s 29.82% stake in (ARL), built up at the time of two earlier takeover bids, “with the result that (RYR) is now under a legal prohibition from undertaking any further integration with (ARL) without the consent of the (CC); and may be subject to an order to sell down its shares at the end of the (CC) investigation.”

(ARL) has long wanted (RYR) to be forced to divest its shareholding, arguing it is intolerable its main competitor holds such a large stake in it.

The statement also noted that (RYR)’s 2006 takeover bid was blocked on competition grounds by the European Commission (EC). “Consequently there is significant uncertainty that any offer from (RYR), if made, would be capable of completion.”

(RYR) argued the world has moved on since its earlier bids, with the (EC) having allowed several major European airline takeovers in the intervening period and that (ARL) needs a more powerful partner to prevent it becoming an increasingly peripheral player in the marketplace.

(ARL) advised its shareholders to take no action on the (RYR) offer.

(RYR) celebrated its 5th anniversary of (RYR)'s presence at the German airport located on the border to the Netherlands - - SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "RYR-2012-06 - 5 YEARS AT WEEZE." (RYR) welcomed the 18 millionth passenger through Liverpool John Lennon Airport in northwest England - - SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "RYR-2012-06 - 18 MILLION PASSENGERS LIVERPOOL."

July 2012: Ryanair (RYR) posted a +€99 million/+$121 million net profit for the first quarter ended June 30, down -29% from +€139 million year-over-year, largely due to a +27% rise in fuel costs.

First-quarter revenue increased +11% to €1.3 billion compared to €1.2 billion for the same period a year ago. Fuel amounted to 47% of total operating costs, (RYR) said.

“Our +6% (RPK) traffic growth combined with a +4% rise in average fares led to a +11% increase in revenues,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said. “Ancillary sales grew by +15% to €286 million (outpacing traffic growth) accounting for 22% of total revenues.”

(RYR) Deputy (CEO), Howard Millar said “It seems once people make the travel decision, they're prepared to spend [on ancillaries].”

Excluding fuel, unit costs rose by just +3%, he said.

(RYR) said it is 90% hedged for Fiscal Year FY2013 at $1,000 per tonne, a +21% increase on FY2012, and has hedged 50% of its FY2014 requirement at $940.

Millar said its Q1 2013 yields were dampened by the European Union (EU)-wide recession, together with heavily discounted fares from some of its new bases around the continent. New bases were producing high load factors, although some smaller ones were doing so at modest yields. It nevertheless planned to add "up to two" further bases this year, to add to its tally of 51.

(RYR) said its outlook for FY13 remains cautious, with continuing austerity and restrained fare growth. Its full-year guidance for net profits remains in the +€400 to +€440 range.

(RYR) will reduce flights to Morocco following disagreements with the Moroccan governmental airport authority (ONDA) over handling charges.

(RYR) said that from October 1, (RYR) will cancel 34 weekly flights to Moroccan airports from Spain, France, Belgium and the UK. It will stop services completely to Oujda, while reducing flights at Nador, Fez, Marrakesh and Tangier. The cancellations constitute around one-third of (RYR)’s weekly flights to Morocco.

(RYR) Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley said (RYR) had previously entered long-term agreements with the Moroccan Tourism Authority and (ONDA) to increase tourism to the North African nation.

However, (ONDA)’s decision “to impose a new monopoly handling company on Ryanair (RYR), which would have resulted in a massive increase in charges for (RYR)” mean it will now cut its services. He estimated this will mean -100,000 fewer tourists traveling to Morocco annually.

(RYR) has had a combative relationship with many European airport authorities in recent years and has not hesitated to reduce services when faced with higher costs.

(RYR) has cut its Spanish services from Madrid (MAD) and Barcelona El Prat (BCN) to protest tax increases, which were applied July 1. From the start of the winter season in November, (RYR) will cancel 11 routes from (MAD) and four from (BCN). It will also cut back its frequencies on a total of 46 routes from the two airports.

“(RYR) objects to the Spanish government’s decision to double airport taxes at both (MAD) and (BCN) airports,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said. “These route and traffic cuts can be reversed but only when the Spanish Government and its airports monopoly (AENA) reverse these tax increases and cuts its high airport charges.”

(MAD) will lose three of its 14 based airplanes and the (BCN) fleet will be cut from 13 to 11. (RYR) estimates the cuts will cost the airports -2.3 million passengers and more than >-2,000 jobs.

Many of the routes are holiday destinations, which would normally be reduced during the slower winter season; however, an (RYR) spokesman said the cuts and reductions are “approximately >20% more than last winter.”

Members of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) have joined Ryanair (RYR) in blasting a steep increase in Spanish airport fees.

Spanish state-owned airport operator (AENA) increased its charges July 1, a move that AEA claims doubles fees at popular airports such as Madrid Barajas (MAD) and Barcelona El Prat (BCN).

(AEA) has “strongly condemned” the move, saying it is for “purely budgetary reasons.” It added the change was made “without formal consultation or proper justification,” which are requirements under the (EU) airport charges directive.

“The increase is disproportionate and was implemented without the necessary consultation with the airlines; therefore, the (AEA) urges the (EC) to launch an investigation,” said the (AEA), which represents 33 European network carriers, including AirFrance (AFA), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), (KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH).

It also criticized the backdating of the new charging structure to July 1, as this affects both forward-sold tickets and some that have already traveled.

(RYR) has publicly called on Israeli Transportation Minister, Yisrael Katz to sign the "open skies" treaty between the European Union (EU) and Israel. The new air services agreement would allow (EU) carriers to serve Israel from any point in the (EU) without limitations and vice versa allow Israeli carriers to serve any (EU) airport as often as desired. (RYR) plans to add Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV) to its network but El Al Israel Airlines (ELA) is reportedly asking the government not to ratify the agreement as it expects this would heavily increase the number of flights to Israel operated by European carriers.

UK airports operator (BAA) has lost its most recent appeal to keep Stansted Airport (STN), although it has vowed to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. This appeal is the latest development in a long-running battle between the UK Competition Commission (CC) and (BAA).

“We are pleased that our decision on (STN) has once again been upheld,” ((BAA) Remedies Implementation Group Chairman, Laura Carstensen said. “It is surely now time for (BAA) to accept the verdict and proceed with the sale.”

However, (BAA) has vowed to continue the fight, saying: “We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Competition Commission. We will now consider its judgment carefully and we intend to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court.”

The (CC) published a report in 2009 requiring (BAA) to sell three of its seven airports. Since then, (BAA) has sold both Gatwick and Edinburgh airports to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP); however, it has continued to contest the (STN) sale.

Colin Smith, who is head of airports at consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “The situation has been ongoing for three years and isn't entirely unexpected. We believe [STN] will certainly be of interest to a wide range of potential investors.”

Ryanair (RYR), which is a key operator from (STN), welcomed the ruling.

Warsaw-Modlin Mazovia Airport (WMI), the second international passenger airport in the Polish capital, has just opened. The airport, formerly an unused military airfield, will be mainly used by low-cost carriers (LCCs). On 15 July, (RYR) officially launched its Warsaw Modlin (WMI) operations with scheduled flights starting the following day. The opening of the new low-cost airport serving the Polish capital marks (RYR)'s return to Warsaw. (RYR) withdrew all services in 2008 following a dispute over landing fees. At Warsaw Modlin, (RYR) will initially offer eight routes to a selection of European cities. (RYR) will compete against Wizz Air (WZZ) on four of the new routes.

(RYR), one of the first carriers to use the airport, is expecting to transport around 1.5 million passengers from (WMI). The (LCC) is eyeing services to Barcelona, Bologna, Bristol, Brussels, Budapest, Dublin, Dusseldorf, East Midlands, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Rome, and Stockholm.

Wizz Air (WZZ) will transfer all flights from Warsaw Chopin Airport to (WMI) and will start operations July 18; it plans to serve up to 20 destinations from (WMI).

(WMI), which offers 10 remote parking stands, can handle about 5,000 passengers per day.

August 2012: Ryanair (RYR) will operate Cork service to Gdansk (2X-weekly), Krakow (3X-weekly), Warsaw (3X-weekly), Wroclaw (3X-weekly) and Vilnius (2X-weekly) for the winter season beginning in November.

easyJet (EZY) as well as Monarch Airlines (MON) and Ryanair (RYR) have been approached by the Lebanese tourism ministry planning to provide incentives for European low-cost carriers (LCC)s to launch services to Beirut Rafic Hariri International airport (BEY). Monarch (MON) and Ryanair (RYR) do not currently serve any destinations in the region, but easyJet (EZY) currently serves Amman Queen Alia International (AMM) and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV) airports.

(RYR) says the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) is looking at potential modifications that (RYR) would like to see in the C919 single-aisle jet.

(RYR) has been in talks with (COMAC) for some time over the possibility of ordering the 180-seat twinjet, although it would have to be stretched slightly to hit (RYR)’s sweet spot of a 199-seat airliner.

(RYR) currently operates solely 737s. The C919 is due to enter service toward the end of the decade. "We continue to work with the Chinese, even though it's a long-term thing," (RYR) Deputy (CEO) & (CFO), Howard Millar said.

"We find them very interesting and they're willing to listen to what we want. For example, we asked whether they could make the airplane's doorways wider so two people could walk through them simultaneously, to help with our turnaround times. They’re looking into that."

Millar added that (RYR) had been approached by several consortia interested in taking over London Stansted Airport (STN). Airport owner (BAA) has been ordered by the UK's competition authorities to sell (STN), which largely handles Laow Cost Carrier (LCC) traffic. (BAA) last month lost the latest in a series of appeals against the decision, but has said it will now appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

The consortia "want us as an 'anchor tenant,’ " Millar said. (RYR) had told its suitors it would in principle be prepared to join one, to grow its capacity there, in return for a deal on costs. (RYR) has complained for some time over (BAA)'s charges at (STN).

(RYR) would be interested in taking a 25% stake in (STN), Millar said. "We haven't decided if we would partner with anyone, but we think it's a very exciting opportunity and think it would be very good for the UK if another runway was opened up at (STN)."

The airport, some 35 miles northeast of London, has a single runway; plans for a second runway were dropped by (BAA) after the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition came to power in spring 2010 and voiced its opposition to the scheme.

Later, UK airports operator (BAA) agreed to sell London Stansted (STN), dropping further appeals in the legal battle with the UK Competition Commission’s (CC) ruling the airport should be sold.

(BAA), which earlier this month vowed it would appeal to the UK Supreme Court, now said it would proceed with the sale of (STN) but declined to give a timetable. (BAA) said: While “we still believe that the Competition Commission (CC) ruling fails to recognize that Stansted and Heathrow serve different markets,” it had decided not to proceed with the further appeal. “It’s just the case that there are no further areas to argue,” a (BAA) spokeswoman said.

The (CC) in 2009 said (BAA) should sell (STN), London Gatwick (LGW) and Edinburgh (EDI) airports, leaving (BAA) with London Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports. (LGW) and (EDI) were subsequently acquired by Global Infrastructure Partners.

(BAA) had objected to selling (STN) and launched a series of legal appeals, the most recent of which was rejected by the UK Court of Appeal less than a month ago.

(STN), some 30 miles northeast of London, primarily handles low-cost carrier (LCC) and charter flights. Annual passenger throughput is around 17 million.

September 2012: Ryanair (RYR) is not expected to soon receive clearance from the European Commission (EC) for its offer to acquire the remaining shares in Aer Lingus (ARL) not yet held by (RYR). The (EC) still feels that the two carriers would have a too strong competitive position at Dublin airport and a monopoly on a wide range of markets between Ireland and other European Union (EU) member states. It has therefore announced a detailed review that is not expected to be completed before January 14, 2013, therefore at least delaying the Ryanair (RYR) offer for the time being.

(RYR) strengthened its position at Warsaw Modlin airport (WMI), adding four new destinations to its already existing network of eight routes to the recently opened low-cost airport serving the Polish capital. On 1 September, thrice-weekly services each were launched from the northern-Italian city of Bologna (BLQ) and Manchester (MAN) in the UK. On 2 and 3 September respectively, services from Weeze (NRN) in Germany and Barcelona (BCN) in Spain, were launched. While flights to Weeze are offered with four-weekly frequencies, Barcelona is served with half that frequency. The Catalan city is also the only destination out of the four where (RYR) faces competition. Thrice-weekly flights are offered by Wizz Air (WZZ) from Warsaw Modlin, while (LOT) Polish Airlines provides further indirect competition with a daily service from Warsaw Chopin Airport.

(RYR) is to extend its Polish network with a new route to the city of Lublin before the end of this year. (RYR) will operate from London Stansted to Lublin from 17 December. (RYR) says the new service will bring its network from Stansted to 95 routes and take the number of Polish airports served to 11.

Meridiana fly (ALS)/(EUY) has quickly reacted to a major dispute between Ryanair (RYR) and Verona Villafranca (VRN) airport by announcing new daily routes from Verona to both London Gatwick (LGW) and Palermo Falcone e Borsellino International (PMO) from October 12. (ALS)/(EUY) will operate a daily A319-100 to Gatwick and daily flights to Palermo with a mix of A320-200s and MD-82s. Another airline to react was Volotea (VLZ) which revealed plans to start service from Verona to Bari (in December) and Palermo (from next March).

(RYR) has announced that it will no longer serve Verona from October 12 giving only two weeks notice after it could not agree with the airport's new management team that no longer wanted to offer the same terms as previously contractually agreed according to (RYR). Currently, (RYR) operates to Verona from Alghero Fertilia (AHO), Bari Karol Wojtyla International (BRI), Brindisi Casale (BDS), Brussels Charleroi (CRL), Dublin International (DUB), Edinburgh (EDI), London Stansted (STN), Madrid Barajas (MAD), Palermo Falcone e Borsellino International (PMO), Paris Beauvais Tillé (BVA) and Trapani Vincenzo Florio (TPS).

(RYR)'s Michael Cawley said: “(RYR) sincerely regrets Verona Airport’s decision to renege on its contractual agreement with (RYR). (RYR) will now close all 11 of its Verona routes with the loss of -39 weekly flights. Sadly, over 500,000 passengers per annum and over >-500 ‘on-site’ jobs will be lost at Verona, while (RYR) will continue to grow at low cost airports which work with us to deliver the low fares required to keep passengers flying.”

(RYR) has reiterated that its discussions with Chinese airframer Comac (CCC) on the potential development of a stretched 199-seat variant of its C919 twinjet are serious and could still yield an order for delivery in the 2018 - 2020 timeframe.

Industry observers have been quick to brand (RYR)'s flirtation with the Chinese as little more than a means of beating down incumbent airplane supplier Boeing (TBC) on price. The final delivery under its current order for 189-seat 737-800s is due to take place later this year. However, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary insists (RYR)'s talks with Comac (CCC) represent "a genuine, serious commitment". He believes that all carriers should welcome the emergence of the state-owned airframer as a serious player in commercial aviation ("a real, credible third manufacturer" in the mainline narrow body market) as it will serve to drive down prices.

"It's a great deal for airlines all around the world," he says. "If, all of a sudden, we are all buying Chinese-built airplanes, then Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC)'s pricing strategy gets holed below the waterline."

Interest in the C919 was revealed by British Airways (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) at the Farnborough air show in July, where it signed a memorandum of understanding to work with Comac (CCC) on the development of the (CFM) International (Leap-1C)-powered C919. O'Leary says (IAG)'s move only serves to add "credibility" to the program.

Any order from (RYR), however, is contingent on Comac (CCC) agreeing to make a stretched variant of the C919. The baseline model is due to enter service in 2016 with up to 168Y seats in an all-economy configuration.

Nonetheless, (RYR) is continuing its discussions with Boeing (TBC) over a potential new near-term order. O'Leary says price is the main sticking point, although he has again expressed his concerns over the design of the re-engined 737 Max, citing the weight increase over the current generation 737-800 as a particular worry. He adds, however: "We are in ongoing discussions with Boeing (TBC) and as soon as we can reach an agreement on price we'll place an order. It could be the 737-800 or the 737 Max, whichever they discount the most - we'd buy a dog, if it was cheap enough. "We'd like to place an order, but only when the price is right."

October 2012: Ryanair (RYR) launched five routes in the first two days of the winter scheduling season. Four of the new routes involved Warsaw Modlin (WMI), the new low-cost airport serving Poland’s capital, where (RYR) and Wizz Air (WZZ) compete fiercely for passengers. Only one of (RYR)’s new routes therefore does not see competition between the two carriers: Frankfurt Hahn (HHN). In addition, (RYR) added a new domestic service in Spain, and now connects Reus (REU) on the Mediterranean coast with Santiago de Compostela (SCQ) in the north-western region of Galicia.

(RYR) will launch Dortmund service to Alghero, Barcelona Girona, Faro, Malaga, Porto, and Palma in March. This represents the first time that (RYR) has operated at the airport that serves the city that is home to the football (soccer) team that has won the German Bundesliga in each of the last two years.

This will help compensate for the fact that the airport is losing four of the five routes that easyJet (EZY) still operates from the airport. (EZY) had opened its second German base (after Berlin Schönefeld) at Dortmund in July 2004, but stopped basing airplanes there at the end of the summer 2008 season. This explains the spike in passenger numbers at the airport between 2005 and 2008. In total, easyJet (EZY) has served 16 destinations at one time or other, but this winter, only its London Luton service will remain. The dropping of its routes to Barcelona, Budapest, Palma and Thessaloniki represents around 10% of the airport’s summer capacity. Passenger numbers in the first eight months of this year are up over >9%, well above the German airport average of just 2.1%. New routes started this year include Wizz Air (WZZ) to Budapest (in January) and Lviv (in March), with a new twice-weekly service to Skopje in Macedonia due to start shortly at the beginning of the winter season.

(RYR) has withdrawn its bid to take a stake in London Stansted airport (STN) after airport owner, Ferrovial told (RYR) it will block its bid.

Ferrovial (which owns (STN) through its subsidiary, (BAA), and operates London Heathrow and three other UK regional airports) is in the process of selling (STN) after being ordered to do so by the UK competition authorities.

(RYR), which said it provides almost 70% of (STN)’s traffic, has been in talks with several investors and consortia with a view to participating in the airport’s ownership when the sale is completed.

(RYR) has been a vociferous and frequent critic of (BAA)’s stewardship of (STN), arguing that doubled operator charges have been responsible for a -25% decline in traffic, from 23.8 million passengers in 2007 to 18 million in 2011.

“While we fully accept that Ferrovial is entirely free not to sell to (RYR), we fail to understand how it can comply with competition law if Stansted’s biggest customer, accounting for 70% of the traffic, is excluded from this sale process,” (RYR) spokesman, Stephen McNamara said.

“(RYR) will continue to explore the rapid traffic growth opportunities it believes are available at Stansted, if and when the new owner of Stansted reverses the doubling [of charges].”

(RYR) said it is proposing “radical remedies” to allay competition concerns in its bid to take over Aer Lingus (ARL). The European Commission (EC) is undertaking an investigation into the effects on competition if (RYR)’s third bid to take over the Irish flag-carrier is allowed to proceed.

Many Dublin-originating routes are served by only the two Irish carriers. The (EC) said the takeover “could therefore lead to the elimination of actual and potential competition on a large number of these routes.” “We have confirmed that we are preparing what we believe to be very radical remedies in terms of the Aer Lingus (ARL) issue,” (RYR) spokesman Stephen McNamara said.

“We’ve been in contact with a number of airlines to discuss them taking over routes where there would be a deemed monopoly, should (RYR) take over (ARL),” he said. One such route would be the Ireland - UK, Dublin - Birmingham service, he said.

(RYR) is in ongoing communication over the issue with the (EC), which plans to give its verdict in January 2013 on whether the proposed deal can go ahead, he added.

As a truly pan-European airline, (RYR) not only operates flights from 27 European countries (plus Morocco), but has also established airplanes and crew bases in 12 of them. For all its rows with the (EU), it has been a massive beneficiary of the (EU)’s Single Market, which means it has very limited exposure to Irish economic problems. However, while (RYR) awaits the (EU)’s verdict on its latest attempt to take control of (ARL), the following takes a look at which European countries (RYR) is already the biggest airline in terms of weekly seat capacity.

Based on seat capacity analysis of the peak summer month of August, (RYR) offered more weekly seat capacity than any other airline in Hungary, Lithuania, Spain and Slovakia – of these markets, only Spain still has a functioning national carrier. In Slovakia, (RYR) accounts for two-thirds of all scheduled seat capacity, having taken advantage of the demise of SkyEurope in the summer of 2009. However, Bratislava is not one of (RYR)’s designated bases; it merely serves the airport from many of its other European bases.

The acquisition of (ARL), based on current capacity, would give (RYR) control of over >80% of the Irish market, although part of its submission to the (EU) has focused on how it would encourage and support other airlines to enter various routes to reduce its dominance.

Looking at the route implications of the (RYR) takeover of (ARL) also suggests that, as half of (ARL)’s routes overlap with (RYR), rationalisations stemming from the combination would reduce (RYR)’s dominance of Dublin to something around 65% of all seats (still more than the dominance of AirFrance (AFA) at Paris and Lufthansa (DLH) at Frankfurt) but strategically far less important than the command of these big European hubs in global terms.

The demise of another Central European airline, Malév (HGA), earlier this year created a further opportunity for (RYR) to become a key player in the Hungarian market. Despite being the birthplace of Wizz Air (WZZ), (RYR) has managed to become the #1 airline in terms of weekly seats in just a matter of months of the opening of its Budapest base. Lithuania, another country without a national carrier, is another market where (RYR) is now #1, thanks to the creation in May 2010 of a base in Kaunas. (WZZ)’s operations in the country are about half the size of (RYR)’s.

Although London Stansted remains (RYR)’s single biggest base, (RYR)’s share of the UK market is a relatively modest 13%, beaten by both British Airways (BAB) and easyJet (EZY). However, (RYR) is now the #1 airline in Spain, Europe’s second biggest air travel market after the UK, as (RYR)’s 20% market share beats (IBE)’s 16%.

Yet more big countries look like they will soon be (RYR)-dominated: In Poland, the opening of new airports at Modlin and Lublin looks set to propel (RYR) within touching distance of (LOT) as the country’s leading airline, despite the fact that (WZZ) also has a significant presence in Poland with bases at Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw Modlin and Wroclaw. But in volume terms, if success is measured in terms of dominance (and to be fair it probably isn’t at (RYR)), the next major conquest will be Italy, (RYR)’s second-biggest market, where a shrinking Alitalia (ALI) is less than two points ahead of (RYR) with a 22% seat share.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary has confirmed that (RYR) has held initial talks with several Russian airports about new services to the country in case Russia would pass a proposed new law allowing foreign low-cost carriers (LCC)s to operate domestic routes in the country. International routes would likely remain to be more restricted even if this surprising proposal would be approved and implemented, as Russia still has bilateral agreements with most European Union (EU) member states designating carriers and defining frequencies and routes that carriers from each country are allowed to serve.

November 2012: Ryanair (RYR) has reported a first-half profit of +€596 million/+$762 million, up +10% compared to the year-ago period, on revenues of €3.1 billion, up 1+5% year-over-year. Passengers carried in the first half rose +7% to 48 million. (RYR) will pay a one-off dividend of €489 million on November 30; the company’s gross cash has reached a record €3.9 billion.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said that growth potential for (RYR) was “almost unlimited.” Profits exceeded expectations due to strong summer bookings (especially after the London Olympics), a +6% rise in average fares and a lower-than-forecast fuel bill. Fuel costs rose by +€218 million, or +24%. Unit costs, excluding fuel, were up +2%, attributable to rises in Spanish airport and Italian Air Traffic Control (ATC) charges, O’Leary said.

Ancillary revenues rose +12% to roughly €12 per passenger. The main drivers for the increase were priority boarding charges and (RYR)’s newly introduced reserved seating. Initial concerns that reserved seating might cannibalize priority boarding revenue did not materialize, O’Leary said. “We seem to have split our passengers between people prepared to pay a premium and those prepared to pay a ‘premium premium,’ ” he said.

O’Leary said (RYR) believes it can increase passenger growth to 120 million a year over the next decade. It expects to carry more than >79 million passengers this year.

(RYR) recently extended its Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 fuel hedges to nearly 50% at $97 per barrel. It believes traffic in the second half would be “broadly flat” and would again ground up to 80 of its 289 737-800s over the winter to save costs.

O’Leary said he remains cautious about winter trading, as there was little visibility on fourth-quarter bookings or yields. Nevertheless, (RYR) said it is raising its profit guidance for the year from +€400 to +€440 million to +€490 to +€520 million based on its half-year performance.

(RYR) further increased its presence at the new Warsaw Modlin (WMI) airport with three UK destinations on 30 October, after it launched flights on four routes only a week before. Flights from Bristol (BRS), East Midlands (EMA) and Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) will each depart with thrice-weekly frequencies using (RYR)’s 189Y-seat 737-800s. The Scottish service is yet another route to Warsaw Modlin on which the Irish carrier goes head-on against Wizz Air (WZZ), which serves Prestwick with twice-weekly schedule from Modlin.

(RYR) has announced a slew of new routes from three UK airports. Five new routes will operate from Manchester (MAN), to Krakow (Poland), Lanzarote (Spain), Corfu, Paphos (both Greece), and Trapani (Italy).

Services will begin from Liverpool (LPL) to Lublin (Poland) and Zadar (Croatia), while new sectors from East Midlands (EMA) will be Marseille (France) and Menorca (Spain).

(RYR) will base an additional 737-800 at both (MAN) and (EMA) to handle the new routes. (RYR) says it anticipates the new routes will generate an extra one million passengers, spread between the three UK airports.

All the routes will start in time for the summer 2013 season beginning March.

(RYR) relaunched the route from Bremen (BRE) in northern Germany to the Latvian capital Riga (RIX) on 15 November, which it previously operated between April 2007 and December 2011. Thrice-weekly flights are offered on the 1,100 km route, which is (RYR)’s second to Riga from a German airport, as it also offers twice-weekly service from Frankfurt Hahn.

(RYR) will cut its flight schedule at Budapest Airport (BUD) by -40% following its latest spat with the airport’s operator over the cost of services. (RYR) will cut -10 routes and reduce the number of flights to and from the Hungarian capital from 280 to 170 a week because of what it says are increased charges and inefficiencies at the airport.

(RYR) has a history of cutting services or pulling out of airports completely if it deems costs levied by the airport operator are too high. The cuts will take place from January 10. (RYR) says the move will reduce the number of passengers using (RYR) at (BUD) from 2 million to 1.2 million annually. It says that this will cost some -800 jobs, based on the Airport Council International’s calculation that every 1000 passengers create one job at an airport. It will also pull out two of its five 737-800s based at (BUD). (RYR) will cancel routes to Birmingham International (BHX), Bologna Guglielmo Marconi (BLQ), Dusseldorf Weeze (NRN), Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (FKB), Kraków John Paul II International (KRK), Lübeck Blankensee (LBC), Malaga Pablo Ruiz Picasso (AGP), Memmingen Allgäu (FMM), Oslo Rygge (RYG) and Thessaloniki Macedonia (SKG) airports from January 10, 2013.

(RYR) spokesman, Robin Kiely said that (BUD) had increased charges by +20% in two tranches in 2012. The ‘inefficiencies’ include not allowing (RYR) to park its airplanes together, which he said created problems in achieving fast turnarounds.

(RYR) has stated it has no interest in the forthcoming 737 MAX, preferring to pick up possible “end-of-line” bargains of the existing 737NG or A320 models. Speaking at (RYR)’s half-year financial results conference in London, (CEO,) Michael O’Leary said it would be at least two to three years before (RYR) would make its next airplane purchase. Anticipated annual growth of +4% to +5% could be handled simply by not grounding as many of (RYR)’s 289 737-800s over the quieter winter season; it anticipates grounding 80 this winter, rather than flying them uneconomically.

“I remain to be convinced by the 737 MAX,” O’Leary said. Boeing (TBC) had demonstrated it would be more fuel-efficient, but it would also incur significant cost penalties in airport charges due to its higher weights. “There would be more price opportunities to obtain end-of-line 737s. We would be less concerned about a decline in their residual values than a bank or lessor, as we would be the end-users.” The same applies to the A320. He expects approaching Airbus (EDS) again before the end of the year, but (RYR) has been rebuffed by (EDS) before. However, if Airbus (EDS) fails to obtain a new large order from UK (LCC) easyJet (EZY), it might be more interested in talking to (RYR).

O’Leary foresees further (RYR) growth coming from the continued failure of European carriers and legacy airlines cutting back on short-haul operations. However, he was cautious about the prospects for operating in Russia, where the authorities have recently held out the prospect of foreign (LCC)s being allowed to operate domestic flights.

Northern Ireland has scrapped Air Passenger Duty (APD) on all direct long-haul flights departing from Northern Ireland airports from January 2013. This Final Stage of the (APD) Bill was passed in the Stormont Assembly.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said the legislation was “good news for our economy in these challenging financial times. Abolishing (APD) on long-haul flights will help to protect and improve our international air access and ensure the competitiveness of our airports. It will enable Northern Ireland to remain an attractive place to do business and I also hope that it will help secure flights to new long haul destinations.”

In November 2011, the UK Treasury cut (APD) for passengers on direct long-haul flights out of Northern Ireland to the lower short-haul rate, currently £13/$20.76, as opposed to the long-haul rate of £65 per passenger in economy (Y). The aim is to level the competitive playing field between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic where the departure tax for flights from Dublin, across the border, is just €3/$3.82 per passenger. As a result, Belfast International Airport (BFS) was under threat of losing its direct long-haul flights to its southern competitor.

In February, power to set (APD) rates for direct long-haul flights departing from Northern Ireland was devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has now opted to scrap the long-haul tariff altogether.

(BFS) Managing Director, John Doran said: “Given the increasing differential with regard to direct long haul (APD) levels between the UK and Republic of Ireland, and the very specific problems, which this caused for Northern Ireland connectivity, we are grateful to the Northern Ireland Executive and (HM) Treasury that decisive action has been taken.” He said the move would enable (BFS) to build on its existing air links with the USA and develop additional long haul markets in Canada “and the eastern hemisphere, in partnership with the investment and tourism authorities.”

Other destinations served by direct long-haul flights out of (BFS) include Egypt and Barbados.

The European Commission (EC) has formally lodged objections with Ryanair (RYR) over its attempt to take over Irish flag-carrier Aer Lingus (ARL), citing competition concerns. The hurdle had been anticipated when reports surfaced in the London "Financial Times" that the (EC) planned to make public its reservations over the attempted acquisition — the third time (RYR) has attempted a takeover of (ARL).

(RYR), which refused at the time to comment on what it described as speculation, was attempting to head off anticipated criticism that the takeover would result in monopolies on more than >40 routes on which (RYR) and (ARL) are the only operators. It has previously stated it secured the agreement of several third-party carriers to begin operations on these routes, to continue to provide competition for consumers.

However, (RYR) announced it had received a statement of objections from the (EC) and that “its discussions continue with the (EC) about its radical package of remedies designed to address the (EC)’s competition concerns.” It described the objections as “a standard procedural step” in European acquisitions.

“(RYR) expects that the (EC) will shortly market test this transformational remedies package, and remains confident that its offer for (ARL) will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment by the (EC). A detailed process of engagement with the (EC) is now underway,” (RYR) said.

(RYR) has cited several recent airline consolidations (including British Airways (BAB)s’ acquisition of British Midland (BMA) and Aegean (CRM)’s planned merger with Olympic (OLY)) as strengthening its case to acquire (ARL) as part of a general reshaping and contraction of the European airline sector.

December 2012: Ryanair (RYR) increased its offering from Maastricht (MST) and now flies to eight destinations from the Dutch airport, which is also (RYR)’s first base in the country. (RYR) also launched services to the newly opened Lublin (LUZ) in eastern Poland, becoming the first airline to use the new facility (as in the case of another Polish airport launched this year, Warsaw Modlin, (RYR) outpaced its competition – Wizz Air (WZZ) inaugurated its Lublin operation a day later).

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), has signed a non-binding agreement covering Aer Lingus (ARL)’s London Heathrow (LHR) slots.
The deal is one of the remedies being proposed by Ryanair (RYR) as it seeks to acquire (ARL) for the third time. The European Commission (EC) is reviewing the acquisition and is expected to give its verdict by February 27. “We have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with (RYR) (which is subject to (EC) approval) as part of its review of (RYR)’s proposed takeover of (ARL), and the (IAG) board approval,” an (IAG) spokeswoman said.

According to the "Financial Times," the deal covers more than >85% of (ARL)’s (LHR) slots and (BAB) is offering to take over (ARL)’s (LHR) services for three to five years. After this time, the (IAG) would have the right to buy and redeploy the slots.

If the +14% (RPK) growth recorded so far this year in terms of passenger traffic wasn't enough, this month's announcement that Ryanair (RYR) will make Krakow Airport its 53rd base, and second in Poland, will certainly help to keep up this double-digit momentum into 2013, when it bases two airplanes at the airport from April. The arrival of this fresh capacity will simultaneously see the launch of four new services to Gothenburg City, Manchester, Dortmund, and Kos. Extra rotations will be also be added to existing unconfirmed points already served with the two based airplanes. The four new destinations will effectively raise (RYR)’s route offer from Kraków next summer up to 31.

The two extra airplanes will further extend (RYR)’s lead over home nation carrier (LOT) in terms of seats, and will shrink the gaps in terms of winter weekly frequencies. However, with 224 weekly frequencies in 2013, (RYR) will offer nearly twice as many weekly flights than (LOT). SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2012-12 - KRAKOW 53RD BASE."

All four of (RYR)'s new routes at Kraków will face no direct competition. Therefore its route competition will remain at just five from the 31 it will serve next summer, however, in true (RYR) style, only one of these routes is actually head-to-head – namely its services to Liverpool, where it is up against easyJet (EZY).

Turkish Airlines (THY) has earmarked Krakow on its to-do list and could well be the next addition to what is turning out to be a healthy looking 2013 for the Polish airport so far.

(RYR) is planning to expand its presence in Germany through the launch of operations at Dortmund and Nuremberg in March 2013 and April 2013.

This expansion will see (RYR) become the third largest carrier at Dortmund Airport, challenging Germanwings (RFG) for second place behind Wizz Air (WZZ), with its initial six routes. (RYR) will also become the third largest carrier at Nuremberg, behind airberlin (BER) and Lufthansa (DLH).

(RYR)’s entry into Nuremberg will again give the airport a significant low cost carrier (LCC) presence, while strengthening its western European connections with six new routes. Meanwhile, (DLH)’s transfer of some European services to (RFG) in 2013 will see (RYR) face more intense competition across its German network.

In October 2012, (RYR) announced plans to launch services to Dortmund Airport and said six new routes will deliver over 200,000 passengers annually at the airport. (RYR) plans to initially operate 14 weekly frequencies at Dortmund, which it estimates will support 200 on-site jobs at the airport.

(RYR) will base one airplane at Eindhoven (its second base in the Netherlands) and is investing more than >$70 million at the airport. It currently operates 27 routes from Eindhoven and will add four new destinations: Agadir, Bordeaux, Chania and Fez—in April, for a total of 31 destinations.

(RYR) will also launch 4X-weekly services from Angelholm, Jonkoping and Kalmar airports in Sweden in April. Angelholm will initially serve Alicante. Jonkoping and Kalmar will serve Barcelona Girona.

January 2013: Ryanair (RYR) has posted a net profit of +€18.1 million/+$24.3 million for its fiscal third quarter, up +21% from +€14.9 million year-over-year. Revenue was €969 million, up +14.8% year-over-year from €844 million. Passengers carried rose +3% to 17.3 million.

(RYR)’s (LCC) fiscal third quarter ended December 31, 2012. (RYR) raised its full-year profit guidance from a previous range of €490 - €520 million to €540 million due to the improved results.

(RYR) Deputy (CEO), Michael Cawley said the increased profit, which exceeded expectations, was due to strong pre-Christmas bookings at increased yields. Average fares increased +8% year-over-year and were the result of a combination of changes, including the roll-out of its reserved seating policy. Fuel costs rose +24% to €81 million, but the increase was less than expected. Excluding fuel, third-quarter costs increased +4% due to factors that Cawley described as an “outrageous” quadrupling of Italian Air Traffic Control (ATC) charges and higher Spanish airport costs.

Passenger numbers are predicted to drop -3% in the current quarter due to the grounding of 80 out of 305 737s over the winter to save costs. Cawley said continued closures and restructurings of European airlines mean that (RYR)’s expansion will continue, with passenger numbers expected to grow from this year’s 79 million to 120 million by 2022.

(RYR) carried nearly 80 million passengers (+4%) in 2012 (easyJet (EZY) carried 59 million).

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said (RYR) does not expect to announce another airplane order until the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Regarding (RYR)’s bid for Aer Lingus (ARL), Cawley said (RYR) has filed a revised set of remedies with the European Commission (EC) in response to its objections to the proposed takeover. The (EC)’s decision is expected by March 6.

(RYR) announced its submission of a “radical and unprecedented remedies package" to the European Union (EU) in support of its offer to acquire the government of Ireland’s 25% stake in (ARL). (RYR) currently has a 30% stake in (ARL), and has tried unsuccessfully to acquire the government’s remaining share over the past several years.

The (EU) launched an investigation into (RYR)’s latest offer for (ARL) last August, and scheduled a ruling for the end of January. That ruling has been delayed as the (EC) has raised objections to (RYR)’s bid concerning the impact it would have on maintaining competition for flights to and from Ireland. “We believe these remedies address every current (RYR) (ARL) crossover route and all other competition issues raised by the (EC) in its Statement of Objections. The remedies involve two upfront buyers each basing airplanes in Ireland to takeover and operate a substantial part of (ARL)’s existing route network and short-haul business,” said (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary. O’Leary said he is confident that (RYR)’s offer for (ARL) will be complete in early March, subject to receiving approval from (EU).

(RYR) became the first carrier to serve the market from Dublin (DUB) to Lublin (LUZ), Poland on December 18th, when it launched twice-weekly services connecting the Irish capital and the eastern Polish destination. Together with the London Stansted service, which was became the maiden route to this brand new Polish airport only a day earlier, (RYR) will operate a total of two destinations to Lublin this winter. In addition, (RYR) further expanded its Dublin network on December 22nd, when it resumed three winter destinations. (RYR) now operates with weekly frequencies each to Turin (TRN) and Grenoble (GNB), as well as twice-weekly to Salzburg (SZG). On the same day, it also launched Grenoble (GNB) from its busiest base at London Stansted (STN). While this twice-weekly service faces indirect competition from British Airways (BAB) (10 weekly frequencies); easyJet (EZY) (2); Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE) (1), all of which operate the route from London Gatwick, (RYR) will be a solo carrier on all resumed Dublin routes.

(RYR) will launch 2X-weekly, London Stansted - Kefalonia service on April 1. Kefalonia is (RYR)'s sixth Greek destination from Stansted.

(RYR) will open two new bases in Morocco, less than six months after a spectacular public row with the state airports company, (ONDA), in which it declared: “(RYR) cannot accept cost increases as it seeks to deliver more growth to Morocco; (ONDA) has now lost sight of the key to the success of our partnership.” Clearly relations have thawed considerably, to the extent that airplanes will now be based in the country, probably from April this year.

As base number 56 and 57, you would think that this would not be a big deal for the low-cost world, however (RYR)’s decision is significant, as it represents the first time any European low-cost carrier (LCC) has made the decision to base airplanes outside of its home continent. Note that Tiger Airways (TGR) (based in Singapore, but with operations in Sydney and Melbourne) and Air Arabia (ABZ) (based in Sharjah but with bases in Alexandria and Casablanca) as being the only low-cost carriers (LCC)s with airplanes based in a different continent. Also note that (RYR)’s three Canary Islands bases in Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Gran Canaria are considered technically in Europe).

Currently, (RYR) is the third largest carrier at Marrakech, trailing slightly behind easyJet (EZY) and national carrier, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) in terms of both weekly frequencies and seats. Even if (RYR) decides to base just one new airplane at the airport, it would seem likely that it will become the dominant airline, although this will depend on the number of new routes that it plans to launch versus just simply reinstating the schedule on existing routes. SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2013-01 - MARRAKECH COMPETITION."

Looking at the biggest routes in Marrakech market today, (RYR) either already operates, or has plans to operate, to the largest markets: Paris (it already serves Beauvais four times weekly); London (two flights per week to London Luton restart on 02 February, and two flights per week to London Stansted from 03 February); Madrid (daily flights); Marseille (thrice weekly); and Milan (it serves Bergamo twice weekly).

The obvious gaps in the existing network would be some services to Scandinavia, and more capacity into France to serve the obvious social links between the two countries. However, the biggest single market from Marrakech is domestic (with 28 weekly frequencies and over 3,200 weekly seats) to Casablanca. So, with airplanes based at the airport, it will be interesting to see if (RYR) uses this opportunity to launch domestic services within Morocco.

The situation at Fez Saïss Airport is very different. It is seven times smaller than Marrakech, and (RYR) is already the #1 airline in terms of weekly seats and flights. Fez only has five airlines serving the city (probably most famous for the tarboosh felt hat). Route opportunities that Ryanair may well look to exploit, could include re-starting London Stansted flights again (which were canned during the spat over charges last October with (ONDA)), Madrid (currently not served at the airport), more frequencies to France (Paris, Marseille and Montpellier are currently operated across all serving airlines) as well as Scandinavia. SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2013-01 - FEZ 5 AIRLINES."

There are rumors that Michael O'Leary may be announcing bases 58 and 59 at Lisbon and Santander. Typically, (RYR) would normally start a base only after it has trialled the destination with some inbound flights from other bases, but currently it has no operations at Lisbon and if this plan comes to fruition it will become its third Portuguese base after Porto and Faro. (RYR) already has a 17 route network from Santander operating domestically in Spain, as well as the three routes to the UK, two in Italy and one each in Germany and Belgium. Santander would become (RYR)’s eighth base in mainland Spain.

February 2013: UK regional carrier, Flybe (BEE) has reached “agreement in principle” with Ryanair (RYR) to take on a package of routes as part of (RYR)’s bid to take over Irish flag-carrier, Aer Lingus (ARL). The package would include a payment of €100 million/$136 million to (BEE).

(RYR) is making its third bid to take over (ARL). The European Commission (EC) has filed a statement of objections to the proposed acquisition. (RYR) has submitted to the (EC) what it has described as a “radical and unprecedented remedies package” to allay fears that a takeover would lead to a monopoly on many routes currently served by both Irish airlines.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has previously said the “remedies involve two upfront buyers each basing airplanes in Ireland to take over and operate a substantial part of (ARL)’s existing route network and short-haul business.”

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB), has signed a nonbinding agreement covering (ARL)’s London Heathrow slots as part of (RYR)’s proposed package of concessions.

Flybe (BEE), Europe’s largest regional airline, confirmed (following press speculation on its talks with (RYR)) it had reached agreement in principle “about the possible transfer of a number of airplanes and operating routes. The agreement provides for a new company to be incorporated, into which the relevant business assets [including cash of €100 million] and liabilities would be transferred and which (BEE) would then acquire.”

(BEE) said the agreement had not been approved by its board and would be subject to shareholder approval. It was dependent on several factors, notably the outcome of the (EC)’s deliberations on the competition aspects of (RYR)’s bid.

Flybe (BEE) has agreed to create a new carrier, Flybe Ireland, with (RYR). The deal is part of a remedies package (RYR) is constructing.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange detailing the deal (which is conditional on (RYR) acquiring (ARL)) (BEE) said (RYR) would transfer the following to Flybe Ireland: 43 intra-European routes; the requisite number of slots and licenses to operate the routes; a minimum of nine A320s; the requisite number of flight crew (FC), airplane engineers (MT), management and facilities to operate the business; a cash injection of €100 million/$135 million; and all forward sales cash and liabilities, estimated at a further €50 million in working capital funding.

Flybe Ireland would operate from bases in Dublin and Cork and would have the right to use the Aer Lingus (ARL) brand for up to three years following the transaction, allowing it to develop its own brand position in Ireland during a realistic transition period.

In addition, (RYR) and (BEE) would develop a one-year business plan to deliver a cost structure that (based on the assumption that the preceding year’s revenue remains the same) would provide €20 million in pre-tax profits in the 12 months following the transfer to Flybe Ireland. If the business plan does not project +€20 million in pre-tax profits, there is an agreed adjustment mechanism factored into the €100 million cash contribution.

Flybe (BEE) said it believes the transaction would represent good value to shareholders, is in line with company strategy to diversify away from reliance on the UK economy, and leverages its proven skills in mergers and acquisitions.

It added that it had already received irrevocable acceptances from 64% of shareholders in support of this transaction.

(RYR) later announced that it has been informed by European Commission (EC) officials that the (EC) would intend to prohibit the (RYR) proposal to acquire 100% of rival Aer Lingus (ARL) despite the concessions (RYR) was allowed to make. It had offered the (EC) to transfer A320-200s, staff and routes to a new Irish subsidiary of Flybe (BEE) and slots to British Airways (BAB) to take over routes between Ireland and London Heathrow (LHR). While the (EC) has not yet officially published any decision, it is expected that it will argue that (RYR) would still be left with a too dominant position in Ireland following the transaction despite the concessions offered. (RYR) has already said that it will appeal the decision to the European Court of Justice if necessary.

On February 27th The European Commission (EC) officially blocked Ryanair (RYR)’s third Aer Lingus (ARL) takeover attempt.

Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes said the takeover would “have led to dramatically reduced choice for consumers and, as a result, the likelihood of lower quality and higher fares. They were in particular not capable of ensuring that other airlines would enter the market on a sufficient scale to compete effectively with the merged airline.”

(ARL) welcomed the decision. “(ARL)’s position from the outset has been that (RYR)’s offer should never have been made. The series of inadequate remedy offers presented by (RYR) only underlines the view that (RYR) made its offer without any reasonable belief that it could obtain clearance,” (ARL) (CEO), Christoph Mueller said.

(RYR) immediately denounced the decision as “a political decision to pander to the vested interests of the Irish government (which is a minority 25% shareholder in (ARL)) and is not one that is based on a fair and reasonable application of (EU) competition rules or precedent airline merger approvals in Europe.” It vowed to appeal the decision.

(RYR) had put in place an extensive package of remedies to try to ward off the threat of an (EC) ban, striking deals with the International Airlines Group (IAG) and UK-based regional carrier Flybe (BEE) to take over more than >40 routes on which (RYR) and (ARL) are the only providers.

(RYR) will launch London Stansted - Ostrava service in June 2013.

March 2013: Ryanair (RYR) started preparations for the summer season, as it brought its ultra low-cost services to Dortmund (DTM) in Germany for the first time. The city, best known for its beer and its Bundesliga-winning football team, was the location of an easyJet (EZY) base between July 2004 and summer 2008. A total of seven routes will be served by (RYR) this summer, but the first five to Mediterranean airports in Portugal and Spain were launched this month. Out of those, competition exists only in the market from Palma de Mallorca (PMI), served by both airberlin (BER) and germanwings (RFG).

(RYR) will cut its London Stansted Airport traffic -9% over the coming year in response to a charges hike by outgoing owners Ferrovial/(BAA). The move would reduce (RYR)’s passenger traffic from 12.5 million passengers to 11.4 million.

(RYR) claims that (prior to the handover of the airport to new owner Manchester Airport Group (MAG)) Ferrovial/(BAA) announced that Stansted airport charges would increase +6% from April 2013.

(RYR) called on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) “to investigate whether this unjustified and unwarranted +6% price hike was a ‘sweetener’ to persuade (MAG) to pay £1.5 billion/$2.27 billion for Stansted.” (RYR) suggested the price was disproportionate in view of the fact “that Stansted’s traffic has declined from 24 million passengers a year to just 17.5 million over the last six years.”

(RYR) said it had planned to grow Stansted traffic by +5% from April 2013, but instead would now cut frequencies on 43 routes and reduce weekly operations by more than >-170 flights, at a loss of -1.1 million passengers. This, it said, would translate into -1,100 job losses at the airport.

(RYR) spokesman, Robin Kiely said, “It’s bad enough that Ferrovial/(BAA) has doubled prices over the past six years and presided over record traffic falls at Stansted.” He said it was “impossible to understand” why the previous owner had raised charges when it would no longer be running the airport. “The (CAA) must now investigate the reasons for this price increase and take action to protect Stansted users from this latest example of price gouging from Ferrovial/(BAA),” Kiely said.

(MAG) said it was too early to comment on the planned charges increase or any course of action it might take. An (MAG) spokesman said: “As part of our plans to grow passenger volume at Stansted over the short, medium and long term, we will continuously engage with all of the airlines that operate there, many of which are already valued customers of ours.”

(MAG) said it had “a detailed integration plan in place to ensure a seamless transition of ownership and operations at Stansted.”

(RYR) celebrated its 10 millionth passenger to and from the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) at its Lithuanian base at Kaunas Airport. The lucky passengers were on their way to Leeds/Bradford airport in northern England. (RYR) celebrated the arrival of its 5 millionth passenger in Denmark since starting operations there in 1999 in Aarhus. (RYR) celebrated its 1.5 millionth passenger carried to Bydgoszcz in Poland who was travelling to Dublin. (RYR) celebrated its 200,000th passenger in Vaxjo Smalan Airport in (RYR)'s Nordic operation after operations started there in October 2007. This summer (RYR) will operate three routes from Vaxjo to Alicante, Dusseldorf Weeze, and Palma.

(RYR) in addition to a handful of seasonal service resumptions, inaugurated flights on a total of five genuinely new routes in the hope to fully benefit from the Easter holiday traffic. All of the newly launched routes operate with twice-weekly frequencies and only two faces competition – Manchester (MAN) to Paphos (PFO).

Ryanair (RYR) has sealed new long-term collective deals with all of its cabin crew (CA) and several pilot (FC) groups, including +10% pay increases. (RYR) has agreed a four-year agreement with its cabin crew (CA), which will take effect from April 1. The deal includes average pay increases of +10% over four years across all seniority levels, plus higher allowances and a stable ‘home every night’ roster.

The pilots (FC)’s agreement covers the “majority” of bases with a collective agreement due to expire in April. (RYR) has struck five-year deals with its flight crew (FC) at Alicante, Bristol, Cork, East Midlands, Luton and Shannon, including pay increases of up to +10% over five years, a five-day on, four-day off roster, along with allowance and pension increases.

Pilots (FC) at Manchester and Valencia also agreed on a five-on, four-day off roster although their five-year deal has not yet expired. (RYR) said the remainder of its pilot (FC) agreements will be renegotiated “as and when” their current five-year agreements expire over the next three years.

“It is a considerable success for (RYR)’s cabin crew (CA) and pilots (FC) to secure pay increases and favorable rosters at a time when unions in Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK are currently negotiating job cuts, pay cuts and pension cuts,” a (RYR) spokesman said.

(RYR), which just announced a deal for 175 Boeing 737-800s, is aiming to carry over >100 million passengers per year by 2019.

(RYR) has placed an $18 billion/€14 billion order with Boeing (TBC) to buy up to 200 airplanes, the "Irish Independent" has learned. The mammoth order (due to be confirmed by USA President, Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the White House) is the single biggest airplane purchase ever agreed by (RYR). It’s also one of the biggest orders ever placed with Boeing.

It means (RYR) has all but thrown in the towel in its seven-year battle to buy Aer Lingus (ARL), and will now focus once more on its own long-term expansions efforts. The (EU) blocked (RYR)’s third (ARL) takeover attempt.

The order will be used to replace some existing airplanes in (RYR)'s fleet, but it means (RYR) will be in a position to extend its footprint to even more corners of Europe and outside the region.

(RYR) is on target to carry 80 million passengers in the year to the end of this month, and is in talks with as many as 60 airports about either adding services or flying to them for the first time.

It has even been talking to airports in Israel. (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said in January that (RYR) was in the “fairly early stages of talks” with Boeing (TBC) in an effort to reach an agreement on pricing for new jets. He’s looking for orders to be delivered between 2015 and 2017. That will help (RYR) boost its annual passenger figures to 120 million. He said (RYR) would only place an order “when the price is right.” (RYR)’s fleet currently comprises 305 737-800 airplanes (Ryanair is the world’s largest operator of that type).

The 737-800 model currently has an $89.1 million/€68.5 million list price, according to the airplane manufacturer. Last December, (RYR) received the final two airplanes of a historical order it had with Boeing. It’s not clear at this stage whether (RYR) has plumped for the 737-800 or Boeing’s new 737 ‘Max’ variation.

The new agreement also buries the hatchet in what was effectively a three-year stalemate between Ryanair (RYR) and Boeing (TBC).


Ryanair (RYR) announced that Montenegro would become the 29th country served on its pan-European network, when it launches flights from Brussels Charleroi to Podgorica in June of this year. Montenegro has seen air passenger growth of 10% in 2011 and 8% in 2012. Last year, the country’s two commercial airports, at Podgorica (TGD) and Tivat (TIV), handled 1.36 million passengers, up almost +40% in just three years.


(RYR) also plans to adds routes to another Montenegrin destination, Tivat, in the summer of 2014. Tivat is closer to the country’s tourism regions (such as Budva), and hence the airport’s seasonality profile is more extreme. In addition to a range of scheduled services, Tivat also attracts many charter flights, especially from Russian carriers.

Although (RYR) is initially only serving Podgorica, it apparently plans to serve Tivat in 2014 from Barcelona, London, Milan and Stockholm, although all of these routes are likely to be served on a seasonal basis.

In June, Alitalia (ALI) will launch flights from Rome Fiumicino to Podgorica, operating three weekly flights with an EMB-190. Other new scheduled services for this summer include airberlin (BER) launching weekly flights between Munich and Tivat from 14 May, and Ural Airlines offering weekly flights from Chelyabinsk to Tivat from 31 May. Turkish Airlines (THY) does offer daily flights to its major Istanbul hub from Podgorica. Apart from Alitalia (ALI)’s imminent service, the only other foreign carrier offering flights to a major hub is Austrian Airlines (AUL), which has daily flights to Vienna, also from Podgorica.

Montenegro's national carrier, Montenegro Airlines (MNO) operates to
Belgrade, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, London (LGW), Moscow (DME), Paris (CDG), Rome (FCO), Vienna, and Zurich from Podgorica, and to Belgrade, London (LGW), Moscow (DME), and Paris (CDG) from Tivat.

(RYR) inaugurated three new bases this month, its first in Greece and Morocco, and now bases its airplanes at a total of 57 airports. Out of the three, Marrakech (RAK) saw the most new routes being added (7), with six and four new services being launched in Chania (CHQ) and Fez (FEZ), respectively. None of the routes presents (RYR) with any competition, nor are any served with more than twice-weekly frequencies.

(RYR) launched its summer schedule through October to the Canaries. Tenerife from the following: Linz, Cologne, Memmingen, Oslo Rygge and Torp, Stockhlm Skavsta and Vasteras, and Karlstad; to Gran Canaria from Aarhus, Oslo Rygge, Stockholm Skavsta and Vasteras.

May 2013: Ryanair (RYR) reached new levels of profitability for the year ending March 31, turning in net profits of +€569 million/+$732 million, up +13% on the previous year's figure of +€503 and its operating margin of 14.7% is comfortably the highest among European airlines. Even after returning EUR1.5 billion in cash to shareholders over the past five years, (RYR) had EUR3.6 billion in cash at the end of March 2013, equivalent to almost nine months of sales.

Results like these, achieved in the teeth of the weakest economic backdrop in Europe for decades, underline the strength of (RYR)’s low-cost model. Already Europe’s lowest cost producer, and with relatively little scope to cut unit costs, earnings growth in recent years has been driven by the pricing power, resulting from tighter capacity expansion than in the past, aided by restructuring and capacity cuts by many competitors.

These conditions should help (RYR) make progress towards its target of a 20% market share over the next five years, after which, a possible order for the 737MAX may be the key to longer term earnings growth.

(RYR), the #1 airline for new route launches this summer, continues to add new routes to its network, closing the beginning of this month with a total of 13 new services. Brussels Charleroi (CRL), East Midlands (EMA), Essaouira (ESU) in Morocco, and Marseille (MRS) were the only airports to see more than one service commence. None of the low-frequency routes presents (RYR) with any competition. The following routes were launched:
On April 30th, Birmingham (BHX) to Perpignan (PGF), 2x weekly, Bristol (BRS) to Szczecin (SZZ), 2x weekly, and Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Targu Mures (TGM), 2x weekly; on May 1st (CRL) to Essaouira (ESU), on May 2nd (CRL) to Rabat (RBA), 3x weekly; on May 1st, Chania (CHQ) to Vilnius (VNO), 1x weekly; on April 30th, East Midlands (EMA) to Poznan (POZ), 2x weekly, on May 1st, (EMA) to Girona (GRO), 2x weekly; on April 30th, Marseille (MRS) to Rabat (RBA), 3x weekly, on May 1st, (MRS) to Essaouira (ESU), 2x weekly; on April 30th, Oslo Rygge (RYG) to Rzeszow (RZE), 2x weekly, Paris Beauvais (BVA) to Rabat (RBA), 3x weekly; and May 2nd, Pisa (PSA) to Targu Mures (TGM), 2X weekly.

(RYR) could be forced to sell or reduce its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) after the UK Competition Commission (CC) provisionally ruled it could reduce competition between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

June 2013: Ryanair (RYR) launched domestic services in Greece, with its first flight between Chania, Crete, and Thessaloniki. (RYR) said it could be the first of many inter-Greek routes if the government accepts (RYR)’s tourism rescue plan.

(RYR) said it carried more than >2 million passengers to and from Greece in less than <3 years, and will operate 85 routes from 10 Greek airports (including the new Kalamata and Zakynthos airports) this summer, supporting up to 1,400 Greek jobs.

However, it pointed out that other Greek airports, including Athens, were continuing to miss out on potential traffic growth and associated jobs because their operators “refused to engage with (RYR).” Passenger traffic through the Athens gateway had dropped -22% from 16.4 million in 2008 to 12.8 million in 2012, “its lowest figure in a decade.” (RYR) recently presented Greek Transport Minister, Kostas Chatzidakis with a tourism rescue plan that could see (RYR) grow its Greek traffic to 10 million passengers a year by 2016.

Boeing (TBC) closed in on some of the early Airbus momentum at the Paris Air Show, announcing orders for more than >200 of its 737 family airplanes from Ryanair (RYR) and leasing firm, the (CIT) Group (TCI) worth a combined $18 billion. SEE PHOTO - - "RYR-2-MICHAEL O'LEARY - 2013-06."

(RYR) finalized an order for 175 Next-Generation 737-800s, originally announced as a commitment in March. The order, worth $15.6 billion at current list prices, is the largest ever airplane order Boeing has received from a European airline.

"These 175 new airplanes will enable us to lower costs and airfares even further," (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said, adding that his airline hopes to use the new airplanes to compete with European flag and regional airlines, many of whom are reducing their short-haul operations.

July 2013: Ryanair (RYR) reported a first-quarter net income of +$78 million/+$103.6 million, down -21% from a +€99 million profit in the year-ago period.

(RYR) is to launch six Spanish services from the UK's Bournemouth airport as part of its winter schedule. From October, (RYR) will operate weekly flights from Bournemouth to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife. (RYR) will fly twice per week to Malaga, Barcelona Girona, and Alicante from the UK airport, located on England's south coast.

Ryanair (RYR) Deputy (CEO) & (COO), Michael Cawley has announced plans to step down from his full-time executive role with (RYR) at the end of March 2014 to pursue other interests. Cawley is responsible for (RYR)’s commercial strategy, including overseeing the (RYR)’s new route development and airport relations. He will leave the carrier in 10 months “to pursue other business interests, including a number of non-executive board positions.”

August 2013: Britain’s competition watchdog ordered Ryanair (RYR) to sell most of its stake in Irish rival, Aer Lingus (ARL), a potentially fatal blow to (CEO), Michael O’Leary’s dream of buying the former flag carrier. O’Leary immediately vowed to appeal against the “bizarre and manifestly wrong” order to cut (RYR)’s stake to 5% from 30%, opening the prospect of a legal process that analysts say could last years.

Echoing a ruling by the European Commission (EC) in February to block (RYR)’s third bid to take over Aer Lingus (ARL), Britain’s Competition Commission said (RYR)’s stake could lead to “a substantial lessening of competition” on some routes. In addition to cutting the stake, the UK body ordered (RYR) not to seek additional shares or board representation.

The British watchdog claims jurisdiction over the Irish airlines due to 11 routes between Ireland and Britain where (RYR) flights compete with those of (ARL) or partner Aer Arann.

(RYR) said the Competition Commission could not lawfully impose any remedies on (RYR) until the completion of (RYR)’s appeal against the European Commission (EC) ruling.

O’Leary built up a 30% stake in (ARL) between 2007 and 2009 as a platform to take over the 75-year-old airline, a purchase that would have capped the rise of his upstart airline that began with one 15-seater plane in 1985. (RYR), whose low-cost model has since come to dominate European aviation, carried almost 80 million passengers last year compared with under <10 million at (ARL), and O’Leary says a takeover would allow him to slash his rival’s cost base.

(RYR) has added about two minutes to its 1 hour 10 minutes average sector length by decreasing speeds in a bid to cut fuel costs. Fuel represents 47% of (RYR)’s cost base, proportionally higher than most carriers, due to its low-cost structure. By flying more slowly, within safety parameters, (RYR) is hoping to make savings. “This represents a €80 million/$106 million to €100 million annual saving. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a huge amount when your profit is €570 - €600 million,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

(RYR) has redesigned its schedules around the changes, which took effect at the start of the summer season. (RYR) has fuel league tables, which have caused an outcry among pilots (FC)’s bodies. “The fuel league tables are to make sure the pilots (FC) are flying at our speeds, in line with our standard operating procedures. We don’t want any jet jockeys,” O’Leary said.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary believes there is “little doubt” the UK Competition Commission (UKCC) will ultimately order (RYR) to sell its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus (ARL).

(RYR) will add an extra daily frequency on each of five UK - Ireland routes from this winter, as it bids to raise the pressure on its rival Aer Lingus (ARL). From October, (RYR) is to add "at least" one extra daily service on routes from Dublin to Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester, mirroring Aer Lingus (ARL)'s recent increases in frequencies.

(CEO), Michael O'Leary says the additional flights provide fresh evidence of "intensified competition" for the UK Competition Commission, which next month will rule on whether (RYR) must divest its near-30% stake in (ARL).

The rising frequencies by both carriers comes despite (ARL) (CEO), Christoph Mueller saying that "weakness in UK routes, identified in our first quarter (Q1) results, has continued in (Q2)," and citing this as a contributing factor in a half-year operating loss of -€16.4 million/-$21.7 million.

Flightglobal's FlightMaps Analytics data shows that in all markets, (ARL) continues to offer more frequencies than (RYR).

In the Dublin - London market, (ARL) will in November operate 601 services, a 37% share of the market, compared with 449 flights by (RYR), which has a 27% share.

On the Birmingham - Dublin route, (ARL) will have a 67% share of frequencies compared with (RYR)'s 33%, while (ARL) also dominates on Manchester - Dublin, with 53% of frequencies; Edinburgh - Dublin, with 66%; and Bristol - Dublin, with 55%.

(RYR) began operating to Comiso (CIY) on August 7th, the latest airport to be added to (RYR)’s pan-European network. Flights from (RYR)’s Rome Ciampino (CIA) base will be operated six times weekly from August 7. The 560 km flight to the Sicilian province of Ragusa will be flown, unsurprisingly, by (RYR)’s single type fleet of 737-800s. In an announcement on June 7th, (RYR) also outlined two more routes from Comiso Airport, (RYR)’s 22nd Italian airport, to Brussels Charleroi and London Stansted. Both of these routes are due to start in mid-September.

September 2013: Weak European market conditions mean that Ryanair (RYR) is now expecting to hit the lower end of its €570 - €600 million/$751 - $791 million full-year net profit.

(RYR) is to switch operations to Warsaw's secondary Modlin airport from September 30, giving the facility a much needed lift after setbacks over its runway condition and navigation systems. The airport re-opened in July after suffering weather disruption last winter, aggravated by the absence of suitable instrument landing (ILS) guidance; new equipment will provide Category I guidance from September 19th.

(RYR) will step up its presence in Poland with the announcement of its first two domestic Polish routes (daily services from Warsaw Modlin to Gdansk and Wroclaw) beginning March 2014. (RYR) described the Polish market as under served, but with considerable potential.

Spokesman Robin Kiely said Ireland’s population of 4 million made some 26 million flights last year, roughly the same number as Poland’s 40 million inhabitants. Increasingly, he added, Polish passengers are traveling abroad, particularly for holidays.

(RYR) said it has already carried more Polish passengers than flag-carrier (LOT) Polish Airlines and said it will undercut the state-owned operator’s fares. (RYR) has seen a surge in bookings on its existing 30 routes to and from Warsaw since it announced it was switching flights back from Warsaw Chopin Airport to Modlin from September 30.

Modlin, which is about 38 km from central Warsaw, is a former military base. (RYR) began operating there when it opened in 2012, but moved to Chopin following problems with Modlin’s (ILS) equipment.

(RYR) anticipates carrying some 1.2 million passengers to and from Chopin, which it expects to increase to 1.5 million in 2014. Its summer schedule for next year includes new 4X-weekly leisure routes to Alicante (Spain) and Thessaloniki (Greece), plus increased frequencies on eight other routes.

It plans to have no fewer than 46 weekly services (a 4X-weekly increase) between Chopin and London Stansted airports.

Ryanair (RYR) has committed to engage in talks with long-haul carriers as part of a deal that will see it grow its London Stansted base from 13.2 million to over >20 million passengers annually over the next 10 years.

(RYR) has persuaded London’s Stansted airport to cut the fees levied on (RYR) in return for a promise of sharply increased flights to and from the airport in coming years. (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary had earlier this year threatened to cut flights through Stansted by -9% because of a planned +6% increase in fees at the airport, bought by the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) from Heathrow Ltd in February.

But (RYR) said it would boost flights at Stansted by +50% over the next decade, having secured a commitment to undisclosed fee cuts linked to passenger targets. Stansted will only cut its fees after the increases in passenger numbers had been delivered, O’Leary said.
“If we don’t hit the targets we don’t get the discounts,” O’Leary told journalists, adding (RYR) would have to offer discounted tickets, hitting profit margins, and divert capacity from other airports to meet the targets.

The deal with the Manchester Airport Group will involve an additional 1.3 million (RYR) passengers flying through Stansted next year, with the aim of increasing total numbers to 20 million from 13 million within a decade. Last year, (RYR) flew 12.5 million people to and from Stansted, two-thirds of the total traffic from the airport and down from a peak of 15 million in 2007. Under Stansted’s previous owners, passenger numbers fell from a peak of 23.8 million in 2007 to 17.5 million last year.

The deal announced on September 16 could increase its share of the airport’s traffic to 80% over the next five years, Citi Bank said in a note. The deal also accounts for a quarter of (RYR)’s growth plans over the next five years, (RYR) said.

The (MAG) is owned by 10 boroughs of the city of Manchester in northwest England and Australia’s Industry Funds Management. Earlier this year, the (MAG) signed an deal with (RYR)’s budget airline rival easyJet (EZY) aimed at doubling its traffic at the airport to 6 million over the next five years.

Single-runway Stansted, 30 miles northeast of central London, is mainly a low-cost leisure and holiday airport. It negotiates price increases with Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority every five years, like London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Following the agreement between Ryanair (RYR) and Manchester Airport Group (MAG) to grow passenger traffic through Stansted Airport, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said it will defer making final proposals on future regulation for Stansted from October 3, 2013 to April 1, 2014.

Ryanair (RYR) has challenged Boeing (TBC) to find space for an extra 11 seats on its forthcoming 737 MAX, as it seeks to wring maximum productivity from the next-generation single-aisle airplane.

The 737 MAX is designed to have 189 seats, but (RYR) has for some time sought a capacity “sweet spot” of 200 seats, which would allow it to continue to staff an airplane with four cabin crew (CA).
(RYR) Deputy (CEO), Howard Millar said Boeing would be exploring various options to find the extra space.

Removing toilets (a long-mooted (RYR) solution to finding more space for seats) is one such option, although he was conscious of passenger comfort and did not want to have lengthy queues for a single toilet at the front of the airplane. He also ruled out reducing seat pitch below the current 30-inch level, saying this would have a seriously detrimental effect on habitability.

(RYR) has 175 737-800s on order. Delivery timescales mean that none of these would be converted to MAX models, Millar said. He made his comments as (RYR) launched a new initiative to attract more business (C) travelers, who already make up some 20% of passengers.

(RYR) will now accept American Express (Amex) cards as a means of booking flights. The previous lack of such a facility had meant that (RYR) had effectively excluded many business passengers, particularly in larger companies whose corporate travel departments were restricted to using Amex, Millar said.

However, there will be no charge concessions for using Amex, whose users will (like other card carriers) have to pay a €7/$9.44 fee, plus +2% commission on the price of their flight.

In addition, (RYR) is not making exclusive deals with companies, which tend to require a discount in fare prices, Millar said. However, (RYR) is considering a future package of business-traveler (C) incentives such as a (payable) airport security fast-track pass.

The pro-business (C) traveler move can be seen as part of a recently announced drive to present a friendlier face of (RYR) to the world.

October 2013: Ryanair (RYR) has just celebrated 16 years of being listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Its market capitalisation of around EUR9 billion makes it Ireland’s second largest public company and it has been Europe’s most profitable airline for many years. It is also the largest airline in Europe, ranked by seats, and recently signed a new 10 year growth deal with its largest airport, London Stansted. But it does not seem content to sit back and congratulate itself.

Following a profit warning in early September 2013, (CEO) Michael O’Leary admitted that (RYR) recently dubbed as “the international code word for consumer trauma” (David McWilliams, Financial Times, September 28, 2013) needs to soften its image. It has announced plans to develop its distribution policy and to position itself as more customer friendly.

Is this a sudden and significant change in (RYR)’s approach, prompted by fears over falling profits as suggested by much of the recent media coverage? Or is it a further evolution of a business that has always adapted?

(RYR) after a quiet period by its own standards over the high summer season, has begun to start new services once again, launching connections from London Stansted (STN) and Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Comiso Airport (CIY) on the Italian island of Sicily. The former was launched on September 18, with the latter beginning on the previous day. Flights from the UK capital (London) are flown twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), with the same frequency offered on links to Europe’s capital (Brussels) (Tuesdays and Saturdays) to Comiso, which became (RYR)’s 22nd destination in Italy. Also on September 18, and completing the trio of new routes being launched, is a thrice-weekly Dublin (DUB) to Bremen (BRE) service (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). The 1,003 km route is technically a re-launch, as it was previously served by (RYR) in 2007 - 2008. All services are operated by 737-800s and there is no direct competition on any of the three routes.

(RYR) will step up its presence in Poland with the announcement of its first two domestic Polish routes (daily services from Warsaw Modlin to Gdansk and Wroclaw) beginning March 2014.

(RYR) said it will appeal a French court’s decision to impose fines and damages totaling €8 million/$10.8 million for alleged nonpayment of French social security and state pension contributions. The case stems from the period 2007 - 2010 when (RYR) operated a base in Marseille. French authorities claim that a 2006 decree essentially meant that anyone working in France had to pay taxes in France.

(RYR) argued that as its crews were employed on Irish contracts, operating on Irish-registered airplanes that were de facto Irish territory (and had already paid their taxes, social taxes and state pension contributions in Ireland in compliance with Irish and (EU) regulations) they should not have to pay those charges twice.

However, (RYR) said it had been aware that two other UK (and Ireland) registered airlines (easyJet (EZY) and CityJet) had been fined on similar grounds some years ago and had expected to lose what it said would be just the first round in a potentially lengthy bout of litigation.

(RYR) believes the court in Aix-en-Provence breached (EU) employment regulations (which generally supersede national regulations) and intends to appeal the ruling. It said it believed the clash between (EU) and French law could ultimately only be resolved by the (EU) courts upholding (EU) regulations on the employment of mobile transport workers.

(RYR) will study [the] ruling in detail, and will be lodging an early appeal,” spokesman Robin Kiely said. “Since all of our people operating to/from Marseille between 2007 and 2010 have already paid their social taxes and pension contributions in Ireland, in full compliance with Irish and (EU) employment regulations, we do not believe that either (RYR) or our people can be forced to double-pay these contributions a second time in France. “Should (RYR) be ultimately forced to pay these social taxes and pension contributions in France, then the vast majority of these contributions will be reclaimable from the Irish government,” Kiely said.


Following the scrapping of Ireland’s air travel tax, Ryanair (RYR) has announced a batch of new services starting in April 2014. It will begin flying from Shannon, in southwestern Ireland, to Munich Memmingen, Paris Beauvais, and Faro, (all 3x-weekly), Krakow, Berlin, Nice and Warsaw (all 2x-weekly) and Fuerteventura (1x-weekly). (RYR) already operates 10 routes from Shannon.

(RYR) will also add one extra flight a week to London Stansted, taking the number of weekly services to 15. (RYR) estimates these services will deliver 300,000 additional passengers a year, part of the one million it said it would generate as a result of the scrapping of the €3/$4.10 tax from next April.

(RYR) announced it was talking to Ireland’s five airports about new services to take advantage of the expected rise in traffic following the end of the tax. (RYR) said it hopes to announce further routes and frequency increases in the next few weeks.

(RYR) has announced a series of measures to improve passenger service following (CEO) Michael O’Leary’s recent pledge to tone down company regulations that were unduly irritating travelers. Passengers who turn up at their departure airport without having printed out a boarding pass in advance, for example, are charged £70/roughly $105 to be issued one, while staff at some departure gates have been accused of being too quick to levy fines for carry-on baggage that fractionally exceeds (RYR)’s weight or measurement regulations.

Several changes will become effective November 1. For example, passengers booking online will have a 24-hour grace period to make minor changes to ticket details. The following month, (RYR)’s boarding pass re-issue fee will be reduced from £70 to £15, while the fee for luggage checked in at the airport will be halved to £30 at the bag drop desk and to £50 at the departure gate. This, (RYR) said, will bring it into line with competitors’ fees.

Director Customer Service, Caroline Green said the moves are “the first in a series of customer service improvements. As some of these policy changes will require website changes and handling staff retraining, we will be rolling them out over the next few months,” she said.

November 2013: Ryanair (RYR) reported a first-half profit after tax of +€602 million/+$812 million, up +1% from the +€596 million profit reported for the same period last year.

(RYR) saw its 1st half year 2014 net profit increase, reversing the decline posted in 1st Quarter. Indeed, its 2nd Quarter profit was its highest ever quarterly result. The quarter saw an increase in average fares, strong growth in ancillary revenues and a fall in sector length-adjusted costs per passenger. However, (RYR) also gave its second profit warning in two months, a reflection of what it sees as a weak fares outlook across Europe.

For an airline that saw compound average growth in passenger numbers of +18% per annum in the 10 years to Fiscal Year 2013, does planned growth of +2% in Fiscal Year 2014 and +3% in (FY) 2015 mean that opportunities are drying up?

Announcing a return to allocated seating and a host of customer service initiatives and product enhancements, is (RYR) moving away from the purist (LCC) model?

(RYR) has put its bets on Spanish bases for the coming winter season. In fact, all new services launched by (RYR) involved its two Canary Islands bases: – Gran Canaria (LPA) and Tenerife Sur (TFS). None of the new routes is offered with more than twice-weekly frequencies. - - SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2013-11 TO AARHUS - - TO TENERIFE - - TO THE CARARY ISLANDS."

Responding to the Irish government’s decision to scrap the €3 per passenger air travel tax at all Irish airports from next April, (RYR) has given more details about how it plans to generate an extra one million annual passengers through Irish airports. Some +700,000 extra (RYR) passengers are expected annually through Dublin Airport following the revelation that (RYR) will add nine new routes starting in April, as well as increasing frequencies on a further eight routes, six of which are to airports in the UK. (RYR)’s annual passenger numbers at Dublin are therefore expected to rise by just over >+9% from 7.55 million in 2013 - 2014 to 8.25 million in 2014 - 2015.

Another 300,000 passengers are expected to come from (RYR)’s recent announcement that it will be adding eight new routes next April from Shannon Airport, increasing the number of (RYR) destinations at that airport from 10 to 18, and increasing passenger numbers by an expected +70%.

The nine new routes from Dublin see (RYR) return to Basel and Prague after several years hiatus, while Chania and Marrakech become (RYR)’s first destinations in Greece and Morocco from Dublin. In addition, the Romanian capital Bucharest is a totally new destination for (RYR), although it already operates flights to Constanta and Targu Mures from some of its other bases across Europe. Apart from Basel and Prague, the Almeria route has also been served before by (RYR) from Dublin.

Between 2004 and 2007, (RYR) more than trebled the number of destinations served from its Dublin base, during the peak summer month of August, from 24 to 74. The following year, the network peaked at 84 destinations, since when it has hovered around the 70 mark. Between August 2008 and August 2012, the number of weekly departures operated by (RYR) from Dublin fell by -28%, from 735 to just 526. Next summer will see (RYR)’s Dublin network expand to over >80 destinations once again, but the number of weekly flights will still be nowhere near (RYR)’s 2008 peak.

(RYR)’s Michael O’Leary said: “(RYR) is pleased to deliver nine new European routes which will create over >1,000 new jobs in direct response to the government’s initiative to scrap the €3 air travel tax. A critical component will be +100 extra weekly flights into Dublin from Britain, which will reverse the recent tourism declines in UK visitors. We are also proud to confirm that we will create over >300 new direct jobs in (RYR) in Ireland in 2014 to crew our new based airplanes.”

(RYR) has announced new routes and increased frequencies from London Stansted Airport as it advances plans to target the business market.
Several new routes will be to major airports (RYR) had previously shunned because of higher costs. However, (RYR) spokesman Robin Kiely said several such European destinations are now approaching (RYR) to offer better financial terms as they seek to bolster failing passenger numbers.

Major cities that (RYR) will serve from Stansted from April 2014 (together with their weekly frequencies) are Basel (14x), Bucharest (14x), Dortmund 14x), Lisbon (28x) and Prague (14x). Additionally, (RYR) will start services to Bordeaux (6x), Brive (4x), Comiso (4x), Osijek (4x), Podgorica (4x), Rabat (6x) and Skelleftea (4x). It will also increase frequencies on 17 existing Stansted routes, with the number of weekly flights rising from 430 to 600.

Flights to major cities form part of (RYR)’s strategy of increasingly pursuing business travelers, something its UK (LCC) rival easyJet (EZY) has done successfully in recent years. The minimum frequency to make destinations viable for many executives is either daily or double-daily.

(RYR) will also create a “My Ryanair” registration to entice business (C) travelers. (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said this would allow (RYR) to scrap or reduce many of the punitive charges levied for changing bookings; these were put in place to prevent screen scrapers and travel agents from block-booking (RYR)’s cheapest seats, then reselling them to customers at a higher price. Once an individual registers under My Ryanair, and the traveler’s identity is verified, those charges would not be necessary.

The jump in Stansted flights is part of (RYR)’s 10-year deal with the airport’s new owners, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which bought Stansted from previous owners (BAA) after UK competition authorities forced its sale.

(RYR) has long complained about (BAA)’s charges at Stansted. Under a 10-year deal, the (MAG) has agreed to lower charges in return for increased (RYR)-generated traffic.

The airport, some 30 miles northeast of London, is embarking on an £80 million/$129 million investment program to speed passenger flows through the terminal, making it more attractive to time-strapped business executives.

(RYR) said the new routes will help raise its passenger throughput there from 13.2 million this year to 14.5 million in a year’s time.

(RYR) announced a major increase in the domestic flights it offers in Italy including launching a hub at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

The expansion comes a day before the deadline for a crucial capital injection into struggling Italian flag carrier Alitalia which has been on the brink of having its planes grounded, but Ryanair said its move should help the airline in its efforts to restructure.

(RYR) announced it will base six airplanes at Fiumicino, Rome’s mostly domestic airport, and slowly transfer the flights it had operated from Ciampino airport and increase to nine the number of domestic Italian routes it flies. The number of airplanes based there could double within a year as it receives new airplanes from Boeing.

(RYR) said it would continue to develop domestic and international flights from Ciampino, the mostly international airport. (RYR) said its one-way flights on new domestic routes will start at 49 euros/$66 including taxes, compared to 75 euros on Alitalia (ALI) flights.
Nevertheless (RYR) said this would benefit (ALI) as it would ensure the feeding of passengers into the international flights it operates from Fiumicino. “(RYR) will guarantee that connectivity to Rome and to southern Italy will be maintained regardless of (ALI)’s plans to reduce capacity on domestic routes,” said (RYR)’s Deputy (CEO), Michael Crawley.

(RYR) said it was willing to cooperate with (ALI), an offer the Italian company swiftly rejected. “(ALI) thanks (RYR) for its proposal to collaborate at Rome Fiumicino airport, but we have our own strategy…” said (ALI).

AirFrance (AFA) - (KLM), which owns a 25% stake in (ALI), has said it won’t participate as it believes the restructuring plan put forward by the company won’t lower costs sufficiently to make the airline successful. The Italian government is looking for another major international airline to partner with Alitalia (ALI).

The state-owned Italian postal service has been tapped to contribute up to 75 million euros in the capital increase, triggering rivals’ allegations of illegal protectionism. Alitalia (ALI) says Italian banks are also lined up to lend it 200 million euros.

(ALI) was already bailed out by taxpayers five years ago in a controversial operation that handed a consortium of private Italian companies a majority stake, part of which was later sold to (AFA) - (KLM).

But it still struggled and racked up losses, with its debt now standing at 1.2 billion euros.

It was nearly grounded last month when Italian energy group (ENI) threatened to stop fuel supplies because of unpaid debts.

December 2013: Ryanair (RYR) expands Liverpool - Malta service to year-round.

Ryanair (RYR) has said that its relocation to Rome's Fiumicino airport could assist Alitalia (ALI) with its current problems. (RYR) will base six airplanes at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and will launch services to three new domestic destinations in Southern Italy (Catania, Palermo (Sicily), and Lamezia (Calabria)) from the capital’s gateway airport December 18. It said the new routes were being launched in response to “numerous requests” from Southern Italian airports.

In addition, (RYR) said it would operate daily flights from Fiumicino to Brussels Zaventem and Barcelona El Prat airports. It also operates domestic services from its current base at Rome Ciampino Airport to Alghero, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Comiso, and Trapani.

However, (RYR) also said that, over the next 12 months, it would move many existing domestic services from Ciampino to Fiumicino, which will be (RYR)’s main base for domestic operations in Italy, freeing up slots at Ciampino to introduce more international routes.

(RYR) will increase the number of airplanes based at Fiumicino to 10 or 12 from October 2014 when it starts taking delivery of new Boeing airplanes on order.

Separately, Rome-based Alitalia (ALI) has rejected a Ryanair (RYR) proposal to feed (ALI)’s international network at Fiumicino. (RYR) has requested a meeting with Alitalia (ALI) to examine other opportunities for cooperating with and assisting the Italian carrier, which has suffered heavy losses for some time.

(RYR)’s Michael Cawley said: “We hope Alitalia (ALI) will take up our offer to cooperate with them, as we believe (RYR)’s new low-fare domestic flights to Fiumicino can significantly assist Alitalia (ALI) through the restructuring, which is necessary to restore its profitability and secure the future of as many of (ALI)’s employees as possible. (RYR) believes that by offering to feed Alitalia (ALI)’s international hub at Fiumicino and by searching for opportunities to work with and assist (ALI) in its turnaround, that we can help the new investors and the management of (ALI) to return that airline to profitability and viability.”

However, (ALI) said it has its own strategy, business plan, fleet and crews to feed its own international and intercontinental connections from Fiumicino. It argued that (RYR)’s prices on new domestic routes from Fiumicino are largely in line with its own fares, but (ALI)’s fares include such extras as checked and carry-on luggage, snacks and drinks onboard, airport check-in and frequent flyer miles.

(ALI) said that in most advanced countries, hub carriers and (LCC)s do not collaborate at main gateway airports because the (LCC) business model is more suited to smaller, out-of-town airports.

Cawley said (RYR) is responding to airports anxious to “secure domestic routes as Alitalia (ALI) continues to restructure.” He said, “Ryanair (RYR) will guarantee that connectivity to Rome and to Southern Italy will be maintained regardless of (ALI)’s plans to reduce capacity on domestic routes.”

Ryanair (RYR) celebrated four new links to Lisbon (LIS) and one to Dortmund (DTM) on November 26th, all of which face no direct competition. With London Stansted (STN) offering two of the inaugural services, Customer Service Director, Richard Haining said: “Launching new flight connections is always exciting and I’m delighted to welcome Lisbon and Dortmund onto the Stansted route network. These are just two of many new routes set to be launched by (RYR) at Stansted and I wish them every success.” (RYR)’s entry into Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, is the first time (RYR) has served this important market.

(RYR) begins Knock - Eindhoven, - Glasgow and – Kaunas from April 2014.

January 2014: Ryanair (RYR) has announced plans to base a single airplane in Lisbon and add four new routes, taking it to a total of nine destinations from the airport. The base, which will be (RYR)'s 65th, will open in April with new routes to Dole and Marseille in France, Manchester in northern UK and the Italian city of Pisa.

Lisbon is (RYR)’s third Portuguese base. The expansion takes it to 124 weekly flights from the airport, which is now expected to handle 900,000 passengers annually. (RYR)’s existing destinations from the airport comprise Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, and Paris.

Ryanair (RYR) will open bases at Athens and Thessaloniki in April 2014, adding three more airplanes and nine new routes to its Greek operations. (RYR) plans to base two airplanes in Athens, which will be used to add services to Chania, London, Milan, Paphos, Rhodes, and Thessaloniki. It will also base a single airplane at Thessaloniki and open three new routes from the airport: Athens, Pisa, and Warsaw.

Rapidly expanding (RYR), which already has a single Greek base at Chania, estimates the openings will add 1.2 million passengers from Athens per year and a further 1.6 million from Thessaloniki.

With these latest additions, (RYR)’s network will total 64 bases.

Aegean Airlines (CRM) believes it is ready to face the fresh competition from (RYR) following its acquisition of Olympic Air (OLY) in November. (CRM) had said in November that over the next six to 14 months, the resulting synergies of the deal will lead to an “enhanced fleet and an immediate expansion of the network, to the enhancement of the connectivity in Greece and abroad." (CRM) said: “Today’s announcement issued by (RYR), regarding two new operation bases in Athens and Thessaloniki, confirms the function of a fully competitive market, within the framework of the European carriers market, as it has always been indicated by our company. This is exactly the reason for which the joining of powers between the two Greek carriers, Aegean (CRM) and Olympic Air (OLY) was indispensable so [far as creating the] effective operation and growth of a Greek carrier that will worthily represent our country to this common European market. Today, following the completion of this union, we hold the size needed for being competitive and [to grow].”

Ryanair (RYR) has agreed to have its fares posted on Google Flight Search as part of a drive to improve its customer image. Google launched Flight Search in 2011 after acquiring USA-based flight information firm (ITA) Software for $700 million in July 2010. The service is available in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, the UK, and USA.

“Research suggests that users tend to visit around 20 different sites before they book a flight. Google wants to help improve the travel experience by drastically reducing the time wasted on researching and booking flights. We want to give users as many flight options as possible, so introducing (RYR), which is Europe's largest airline, to the Google Flight Search family is very exciting,” Google’s David Robles said.

Customers will be able to search the flight database and then book their flights through either Google Flight Search or (RYR)’s own website. “This is the latest digital innovation we have rolled out and will be followed in early 2014 by mobile boarding passes, an improved app and a brand new Ryanair.com website,” Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

February 2014: Ryanair (RYR) slipped into the red in the fiscal third quarter, registering a -€35.2 million/-$47.3 million loss compared to a +€18.1 million profit a year previously.

(RYR) has begun its sixth Italian domestic route from Alghero (AHO) in Sardinia with the start of daily services to Bologna (BLQ). Starting on February 3rd, the 737-800 operated the 500 km sector with no competition. This brings to 57 the number of domestic routes (RYR) operates in Italy.

Ryanair (RYR) has launched its 105th and 106th destinations from London Stansted (STN) with the start of thrice-weekly operations to Rabat (RBA) in Morocco on February 5th, as well as thrice-weekly flights to Bordeaux (BOD) on February 6th. Both new services will be flown by (RYR)’s 189Y-seat 737-800s. (RYR) will face no direct competition to Bordeaux from Stansted, but it will encounter indirect competition from British Airways (BAB) (nine weekly) and easyJet (EZY) from London Gatwick (five weekly), with the latter also offering thrice-weekly flights from London Luton. Not only is the Rabat service the only one available from London, but there are currently no services to the Moroccan destination from anywhere in the UK. It will join (RYR)’s existing Moroccan services to Marrakech (from Stansted and Luton), as well as Fez (from Stansted).

Morocco’s airports handled a record 16.5 million passengers in 2013, thanks to traffic growth of 9.2%. This followed a disappointing 2012 when demand fell by -3.6%, the first such drop in a decade, a by-product, most likely, of the social unrest seen in much of North Africa that year. The country saw airport passenger numbers double between 2003 and 2009, in part thanks to an ‘open-skies’ agreement with the European Union (EU), which encouraged many of Europe’s low cost carrier (LCC)s to enter the market. SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2014-02 - MOROCCAN TRAFFIC."

All of Morocco’s eight main airports reported traffic growth in 2013, ranging from Rabat (+38%) to Nador (up just +1.6%). The country’s two busiest airports, Casablanca and Marrakech, which handle over >70% of all Moroccan airport traffic in 2013, reported traffic growth of +5.2% and +13.5%, respectively. SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2014-02 - TOP 8 MORROCAN AIRPORTS."

Marrakech attracts most new low cost carrier (LCC) routes. Comparing schedule data for July 2014 with July 2013, reveals that several foreign airlines have either already started, or plan to start, new services, mostly from European airports. The notable exception is Saudia (SVA) which resumes flights between Riyadh and Casablanca at the beginning of April.

(RYR) confirmed it will offer flights to Russia's St Petersburg starting on April 1. (RYR) planned to offer three weekly return flights between St Petersburg and Dublin.

Under the terms of the bilateral aviation agreement, (RYR) will not be able to operate direct flights to Russia from other European airports. EasyJet (EZY), the second largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in Europe, behind (RYR), began operations in Russia's capital of Moscow last year. (RYR) had originally planned to begin its St Petersburg and Moscow operations in March this year, but the plan was postponed till April.

European budget carriers Ryanair (RYR) and Wizz Air (WZZ) have become the latest airlines to relax restrictions on the use of personal electronic devices (PED) on takeoff and landing.

Wizz Air (WZZ) rolled out its new (PED) policy on January 28, followed by (RYR) on February 6th. Both carriers are allowing device use throughout all phases of flight, as long as they are set to “flight mode.”

The (FAA) announced plans to relax restrictions on (PED) use at the end of October and Delta Air Lines (DAL) was the first USA carrier to activate gate-to-gate (PED) use. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) adopted a similar approach in early December.

On December 19, British Airways (BAB) became the first European carrier to adopt the changes.

March 2014: Ryanair (RYR) began operations between Manchester (MAN) and Barcelona (BCN) on March 11th, only to stop them the next day. Ever the opportunist, (RYR) used the Champions League soccer fixture between Manchester City and Barcelona FC to briefly start services, which will be launched fully on March 30th with a daily operation. Vueling (VUZ) and Thomas Cook Airlines ((GUE)/(JMA)) also operated extra flights on the city pair for the fixture, which Barcelona won 2-1, sending Manchester City crashing out of the tournament 4-1 on aggregate. Competition for the 737-800-operated, 1,379 km sector will come from Jet2.com (JT2) (four times weekly) and Monarch Airlines (MON) (twice-weekly).

(RYR) is to substantially increase its services from London Stansted Airport for the winter 2014 season. (RYR) has announced eight new routes plus increased frequencies on 36 other sectors. Together, (RYR) believes these increases will create an extra 2 million passengers. That would take (RYR)’s annual passenger numbers at the airport to more than >15 million, or more than >70% of Stansted’s total passenger throughput.

The new services will serve Athens (2x-daily), Basel (daily), Bordeaux (3x-weekly), Bucharest (daily), Perpignan (3x-weekly), Prague (daily), Rabat (3x-weekly) and Skelleftea (2x-weekly).

Stansted Airport’s Managing Director, Andrew Harrison, described the increase in services, which will see (RYR)’s winter flights from the airport rise from 490 to 700 weekly as “fantastic news.”

Stansted’s owner, the Manchester Airports Group, bought the airport last year after previous owner, the (BAA) was compelled to sell it by the UK’s competition authorities. (RYR) had a running battle with (BAA) over what it felt were excessive charges that were hindering the airport’s growth. An £80 million/$120 million upgrade of the terminal is underway, with a new, larger, security search area operational improvements now being made to the departure lounge.

Boeing (TBC) and Ryanair (RYR) showcased their strong partnership with a new, co-branded livery on (RYR)'s most recently delivered Next-Generation 737-800. The airplane features the distinctive blue Boeing colors on the fuselage of the airplane, while (RYR)'s name is featured toward the rear of the airplane. On the tail is the recognizable golden harp logo found on every (RYR) 737-800. The airplane is one of nearly 300 737-800s currently in (RYR)'s all-Boeing fleet. "The 737-800 has been the foundation of our recent successful growth thanks to its great engineering and phenomenal reliability," said (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary.

In June 2013, (RYR) ordered an additional +175 of the single-aisle airplane. O'Leary said the newly ordered airplanes will expand (RYR)'s fleet to more than >400 737-800s and create more than >3,000 new jobs for pilots (FC), cabin crew (CA) and engineers (MT).

Over the next five years, (RYR) expects to serve more than >110 million passengers across Europe. "That will enable us to lower our costs and cut air fares even further," said O'Leary. Ryanair (RYR) describes itself as Europe's favorite low fares airline, operating more than >1,600 daily flights connecting 186 destinations in 30 countries.


April 2014: Ryanair (RYR) is to wet-lease four 737-400s to support its Dublin International summer schedule. (RYR) has often mentioned the likelihood of using leased airplanes to support its operations while new metal is delivered from Boeing (TBC).

Following the government's decision last year to abolish an unpopular €3 travel tax, (RYR) has moved ahead with plans to expand its Irish network with the upcoming launch of flights to Lisbon, Bucharest Otopeni, Almería, Bari, Chania, Comiso, and Marrakech.

Ryanair (RYR) has detailed plans to add Cologne as its fifth German base and open two more Polish bases at Warsaw-Modlin and Gdansk. From October, (RYR) will base a single airplane in Cologne and will open five new routes to Dublin, London Stansted, Madrid, Riga, and Rome Ciampino. These destinations join existing services to Malaga, Palma, and Tenerife and are expected to generate more than >700,000 passengers a year.

(RYR) is also doubling its Polish bases this winter, adding Warsaw-Modlin and Gdansk to its hubs at Wroclaw and Krakow. This will see the launch of four new Warsaw routes to Gdansk, Madrid, Shannon, and Wroclaw.

A single airplane will be based at Warsaw Modlin, which is expected to handle 1.9 million (RYR) passengers annually. (RYR) will add 20 weekly flights between the new bases, as well as to Madrid, Shannon, and Wroclaw.

The announcement follows news earlier in April that (RYR) is opening further bases in Lisbon, Athens, and Thessaloniki, and will also start flying to Basel, Bordeaux, Bucharest, Perpignan, Prague, Rabat, and Skelleftea.

(RYR) will source two of its four wet-leased 737-400s from Slovakia's Air Explore ((IATA) Code: ED, based at Bratislava) (EXP). (RYR) intends to use the twinjets to supplement its Dublin International operations this summer.

Ryanair (RYR) has agreed to purchase +5 Boeing 737-800s, adding to its current order book of 175 of the type, which it finalized at the Paris Air Show. Four of the airplanes will be delivered in early summer 2015, with the fifth in February 2016. The latest deal brings the total order value to more than >$16 billion at current list prices.

(RYR) will now take 21 airplane deliveries (up from 17) between September 2014 and July 2015. The new airplanes will enable (RYR) to open more routes and additional frequencies on existing routes for summer next year.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said the new Boeing airplanes will “enable (RYR) to keep the fleet average age below five years.”

May 2014: Ryanair (RYR) reported full-year net income of +€523 million/+$716 million, down -8% from a net income of +€569 million in the prior year. (RYR) said the results were slightly ahead of its previous guidance.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said, “While [it was] disappointing that profits fell -8% to €523 million (due mainly to a -4% decline in fares, weaker sterling and higher fuel costs) we reacted quickly to this weaker environment last September by lowering fares and improving our customer experience, which caused second-half traffic to grow +4% as load factors rose +1%. Ancillary revenues grew +17%, much faster than traffic growth, and now accounts for 25% of total revenues.”

Revenue rose +3% to €5 billion, while expenses increased +5% to €4.4 billion due to a +7% hike in fuel costs and growth, although this was partially offset by favorable exchange rates. Operating profit was +€658.6 million, down -8% from +$718.2 million in the prior year.

Passenger numbers rose +3% to 81.7 million, pushing its load factor up +1% to 83% LF. “Revenue per passenger was flat, as strong ancillary revenue growth offset a -4% fall in average fares. Excluding fuel, sector length adjusted unit costs fell by -3%,” O’Leary said.

Over the year to March 31, (RYR) added 121 new routes and opened eight new bases (Athens, Thessaloniki, Brussels, Lisbon, Rome Fiumicino, Catania, Lamezia, and Palermo). “We recently opened four new bases at Athens, Brussels, Lisbon, and Rome. These are performing ahead of expectation as customers switch from high-fare carriers to (RYR)’s lower fares and industry leading customer service. We announced three new bases for winter 2014 in Cologne, Gdansk, and Warsaw,” O’Leary said.

In the current financial year, (RYR) is expecting +4% traffic growth, which will take it to over >84.6 million passengers, and push up load factors +2% to 85% LF. Yields are expected to rise +2% as unit costs remain flat.

First-half fares are forecast to improve +6%, coupled with stable growth in the second quarter, along with stronger forward bookings and load factors. However, (RYR) is cautious about the second half, given the weak demand it experienced last winter.

The uncertain outlook for the second half, plus (RYR)’s plans to cut its winter grounding from 70 to 50 airplanes means fares could fall -6% to -8%. “We expect this combination of a strong first half, but a weaker second half will generate a significant rise in after tax profits to a range of between €580 million to €620 million, although this guidance is heavily qualified by second half yield out-turn, over which we currently have zero visibility,” O’Leary said.

(RYR) introduced a new seasonal service to the Greek market on April 28th with twice-weekly flights (Mondays and Thursdays) from Oslo Rygge (RYG) to Rhodes (RHO). The 2,847 km sector to the largest of the Dodecanese islands will be served until August 28th, using (RYR)’s 189Y-seat 737-800s. No other airline serves this airport pair.

Ryanair (RYR) will lease extra capacity over the summer season to accommodate increasing passenger numbers before its new Boeing airplanes arrive in September. (RYR) will bring in three 737-800s from flydubai (FDB), basing them at London Stansted Airport, two 737-400s from Air Explore (EXP) of Slovakia, and two 737-400s from Ireland’s Air Contractors (HCA). All four 737-400s will be based at Dublin.

The 737s are needed for the peak summer season from June to September. (RYR) said it has seen a surge of bookings since it broke with its tradition of operating from secondary and tertiary airports and started services from major European locations, such as Brussels Zaventem, Rome Fiumicino, and Lisbon. These new locations have spawned a series of new routes.

The leased airplanes will fly in Ryanair (RYR) colors and have (RYR) pilots (FC) and cabin (CA) crews, but the cabins will be unaltered. (RYR)’s new order for 180 Boeing 737-800s will begin to arrive in September.

June 2014: Ryanair (RYR) has issued €850 million/$1.2 billion in new bonds to fund its new airplane acquisitions, attracting a strong take-up. “This is (RYR)'s first ever euro bond debt issuance and is part of its plans to access the debt capital markets to source low cost financing for its new 180 Boeing 737-800 NG order, deliveries of which start in September 2014, and will enable (RYR) to grow by +40% over the next five years to over >110 million customers per year.”

It added that the seven-year bonds, which will be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and have a fixed 1.875% return, will provide low-cost financing, cutting its airplane ownership costs. “The bond was more than >8 times over-subscribed, which reflects very strong demand from investors right across Europe,” said (RYR) (CFO) and Deputy (CEO), Howard Millar.

(RYR) is considering participating in an initial public offering (IPO) by Spanish national airport and air navigation services provider (AENA). The Spanish government hopes to divest 49% of (AENA), which is reportedly valued at €16 billion/$20 billion. The loss-making (AENA) operates all 46 airports around the country.

(RYR) confirmed that its Head of Marketing, Peter Bellew had said it was interested in the part-privatization process. It declined to comment further. (RYR) has frequently criticized (AENA) (and other state-owned European airport and air navigation providers) over the years, accusing them of being inflexible and expensive.

2 737-4YOs (24917, EI-JRD; 26065, EI-JRE), ex-(ZS-JRD & ZS-JRE) from Air Contractors (HCA), 737-4YO (25178, OM-AEX) and 737-436 (25839, OM-CEX), AirExplore wet-leased.

July 2014: Ryanair (RYR) reported first-quarter net income of +€197 million/+$264.5 million, more than doubled from a +€78 million profit in the year-ago period, due partly to the timing of the Easter holidays.

“(Q1) profits were boosted by a strong Easter, but are somewhat distorted by the absence of Easter on the prior year Q1,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

First-quarter revenue rose +11% to €1.5 billion, while expenses increased +2% to €1.3 billion, producing an operating profit of +€231.8 million, up +124.4% from a +€103.3 million operating profit in the prior-year quarter.

Passenger numbers rose +4% to 24.3 million, from 23.2 million in the 2013 first quarter, pushing load factor up four points to 86% LF.
“The earlier launch of our summer schedule and actively raising our forward bookings have delivered a 4% point increase in our load factor to 86% LF and enabled us to better manage close-in yields. Ancillary revenues rose 4% in line with traffic growth, as airport and baggage fee reductions were offset by the rising uptake of allocated seating,” O’Leary said.

Average fares including baggage fees rose +9% to €46, boosted by the holiday period, while revenue per passenger rose +7% to €62. Unit costs were helped by declining fuel prices, falling -2% or -1% excluding the fuel effect.

(RYR) has stepped up its full-year net profit guidance nearly +5% to up to €650 million/$873 million, although it cautioned that fares are expected to decline in the second half.

(RYR) increased its full-year traffic guidance at the release of its first-quarter results. The extra +1.5 million passengers will push down unit costs and increase net profits, but it has maintained its original yield guidance. “We now expect full-year traffic to grow by +5% to 86 million. This increased traffic and higher load factors, combined with a slightly improved performance on unit costs, allows us to cautiously raise our full-year profit after tax guidance from the previous range €580 - €620 million to a range of €620 - €650 million. However this guidance, which is about a +21% rise over last year’s net profit, is heavily reliant upon the final outturn for second-half yields, over which we currently have zero visibility,” (RYR) said.

Over the first quarter, (RYR)’s net profit rose +152% to +€197 million. “We had a very strong first quarter and we’re heading for a strong first half,” O’Leary said.

However, (RYR) is expecting the second half to be depressed by strong price competition and its aggressive +8% winter-capacity growth. “We are growing at unprecedented rates,” (RYR) (CFO) & Deputy (CEO), Howard Millar said, adding, “+10% is our highest fourth-quarter growth rate for quite a few years. We are increasing capacity and frequencies at primary airports and capital cities.”

First-quarter fares were up +9% and a further +3% growth is expected in the second quarter. But the winter capacity expansion is expected to pull down (RYR)’s average fares, depressing second-half yields by 6% - 8%. This will result in a full-year average fare of €47, up +2% on 2013.

Commenting on the anticipated second-half decline, O’Leary said: “We would strongly caution both analysts and investors against any irrational exuberance in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, with some company-specific challenges in the second half.”

For the full financial year, (RYR) is expecting unit costs to remain flat, boosted by gains from its fuel hedging policy. Excluding those gains, units costs are expected to increase +4% (one point better than its original guidance due to its increased second-half traffic expectations).

Over the next five years, (RYR) is expecting to step up its passenger numbers by +40%. This will take it from 81.7 million passengers in its 2013 financial year to 86 million in 2014 (+5% growth), 90 million in 2015 (+5%), 96 million in 2016 (+7%), 104 million in 2017 (+8%) and 112 million in 2018 (+8%). Over the same period, its peak summer fleet is expected to grow from 303 to 426 airplanes.

“We are poised for another four or five years of unblemished traffic growth,” O’Leary said, adding that around half this growth will be focused on primary airports, as (RYR) seeks to attract more business travelers.

(RYR) recently added eight new European routes to its offering, all of which are served by its 189Y-seat 737-800s. With the longest sector being the 2,359 km sector from Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Kos (KGS) and the shortest being inaugurated from Wroclaw (WRO) to Gdansk (GDN) at 383 km, the (ULCC) will face competition on three of the new airport pairs from Vueling (VUZ), Jetairfly (TUB), Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium (PRH), and eurolot.
These routes are:
Brussels (BRU) to Ibiza (IBZ), 7x, vs (VUZ) 4x, (TUB) 3x, (PRH) 3x;
Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Kos (KGS) 2x;
Porto (OPO) to Limoges (LIG) 2x;
Bari (BRI) to (KGS) 1x;
Krakow (KRK) to Gdansk (GDN) 3x, vs eurolot, 8X;
(OPO) to Rennes (RNS) 2x;
Weeze (NRN) to Perugia (PEG) 2x;
Wroclaw (WRO) to (GDN) 3x, vs eurolot 8x.

Glasgow, Scotland recorded 7.4 million passengers in 2013; Ryanair (RYR) is to open base #69 in October. Having a population of around 600,000, the city of Glasgow is served by both Glasgow International and Glasgow Prestwick, with the former being the main gateway for the largest city in Scotland. In fact, the airport is classified as the eighth busiest gateway in the UK, below London Luton and Birmingham, according to 2013 traffic figures.

Glasgow’s summer program includes over >76 non-stop services operated to 22 countries within Europe, North America and the Middle East. operated and owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly (BAA)), Glasgow serves as a base for Flybe (BEE), easyJet (EZY), Jet2.com (JT2), Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/(GUE) and Thomson (ATZ)/(TFY). Nonetheless, starting this October, Ryanair (RYR) is opening its 69th base at the Scottish airport, where it will base one 737-800, bringing an additional +850,000 passengers per year. Furthermore, (RYR) will commence thrice-daily flights to London Stansted and Dublin, with the latter having been switched from Prestwick. Overall, (RYR) will be operating a total of 55 weekly flights from Glasgow, including services on seven winter routes, namely Bydgoszcz, Derry, Riga, Warsaw Modlin, and Wroclaw.

The 2007 terrorist attack, along with the global financial crisis, had a major impact on passenger flows to and from Glasgow in the 2008 - 2010 timeframe, after traffic peaked in 2006 at 8.8 million. As a result, the airport’s traffic posted a significant decrease of -25% in 2010 when compared to 2007. Since then, Glasgow has been consolidating its annual passenger performance, reaching 7.4 million last year (representing an increase of +2.9% over 2012 figures). In the first five months of 2014, for which traffic data is already available, the airport noted an increase of +4.9% when compared to the corresponding period of 2013, with 2.7 million passengers achieved until the end of May. If the airport continues on this growth trajectory, it will achieve over >7.7 million passengers in 2014.

Monthly traffic figures indicate that demand follows a typical seasonal profile, with July being twice as busy as January, the month where the airport records the lowest traffic figure.

The top 12 airlines serving Glasgow account for over 95% of all weekly seats this August, while a total of 22 carriers operate from the Scottish gateway. Even though it reduced its weekly capacity by -5.5%, easyJet (EZY) is still the biggest operator, as it controls 21% and 17% of weekly seats and flights, respectively. (EZY) operates a total 16 routes from Glasgow this summer, with Belfast and London Luton being the most frequently flown destinations with 20 weekly flights.

The European Commission (EC) has ordered Ryanair (RYR) to repay varying sums in “operating aid” it received from three French regional airports, saying it breached European competition rules. (RYR) said it intends to appeal the decision.

The (EC) said that Angoulême, Pau, and Nîmes airports, in southern France, had all made service arrangements or marketing agreements with (RYR) or its subsidiary, Airport Marketing Services, that gave (RYR) an unfair advantage over competitors.

It ordered (RYR) to pay back €6.4 million/$8.6 million in the case of Nîmes, €868,000 from Angoulême and €2.4 million from Pau. At Pau, it also ordered AirFrance (AFA)-(KLM)’s (LCC) subsidiary, Transavia (TAV), to repay around €400,000.

(RYR) said that it had ceased operations at Pau in March 2011 and at Angoulême in October 2009, while currently operating four routes out of Nîmes.

In the same report, the (EC) found that financial arrangements designed to bolster three German airports (Dortmund, Leipzig/Halle and Niederrhein-Weeze, near Düsseldorf) complied with (EC) rules.
“All of (RYR)’s airport arrangements comply with the (EU) state aid rules and (RYR) has therefore instructed its lawyers to appeal these rulings to the extent they erroneously allege otherwise” (RYR) said.

(RYR) Director Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Juliusz Komorek added:
“Today’s decisions confirm that (RYR)’s airport agreements at Niederrhein Airport comply with the (EU) state aid rules (Market Economy Investor Principle). Following the closure of this case and the earlier six positive decisions at Aarhus, Bratislava, Charleroi, Marseille, Berlin Schönefeld, and Tampere airports, we will immediately appeal the decisions in the Pau, Angoulême, and Nîmes cases, where the (EU) Commission mistakenly suggested that the airports’ agreements with (RYR) did not fully comply with the (EU) state aid rules.

“We remain committed to growing traffic from the current 85mppa to over 110mppa by Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, in partnership with both private and public airports across Europe, where all of our arrangements are arms-length commercial deals consistent with the (EU) Market Economy Investor Principle.”

Howard Millasr is to step down as RyanAir's Deputy (CEO) and (CFO) in December 2014, before joining (RYR)'s board as a non-executive director in mid-2015. The Finance Chief role will be taken over by the current Finance Director, Neil Sorohan from October 1st.

See video "RYR-2014-07 - MICHAEL O LEARY SPEECH" - -

August 2014: Ryanair (RYR) confirmed it had submitted a non-binding offer for ailing Cypriot national carrier, Cyprus Airways (CYP).

(RYR) is understood to be one of 15 interested parties, including a number of other airlines that have submitted non-binding proposals in time to meet the deadline. Other carriers that are interested in possibly acquiring the 93.67% stake in the airline currently owned by the government of Cyprus, include Greece’s Aegean Airlines (CRM), Romania’s Blue Air, and Israel’s Arkia Israeli Airlines (ARK), according to local media reports.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary traveled to Cyprus for talks with the Cypriot government regarding a possible interest in the airline, and a similar framework meeting was held with (CRM) earlier.

However, O’Leary subsequently said he was primarily interested in securing a Cypriot air operator’s certificate (AOC) to tap the Eastern Mediterranean market, which (RYR) believes is underserved.
He said (RYR) “submitted an expression of interest, principally because the Cypriot government asked us to,” but said that (RYR) was “not particularly interested in Cyprus Airways (CYP).”

According to local media reports, Communications & Works Minister, Marios Demetriades said the ministerial committee handling the Cyprus Airways (CYP) sell-off would “review all proposed business plans and proceed with a short list so as to jump into the binding stage. We hope that by end of September, beginning of October, we will end up with the best solution.”

Key conditions relating to any proposed takeover are understood to include the requirement for Cyprus to remain (CYP)’s base and for as many staff as possible to retain their jobs.

Ryanair (RUR) appointed John Hurley as its Chief Technology Officer.

September 2014: Ryanair (RYR) is expecting to hit the upper end of its €620 - €650 million/$795 - $834 million full-year net profit guidance and has stepped up its full-year traffic forecast from 86 million to 87 million passengers.

The latest forecast was announced at (RYR)’s annual general meeting in Dublin. However, despite the improved outlook, (RYR) again cautioned it has “very little visibility” on second-half yields. "While still too early to be confident about second-half fares and yields, the continuing strength of our forward bookings and the improving customer experience leads us to cautiously raise our full-year traffic forecast to 87 million customers, and our full-year profit guidance towards the upper end of our current €620 - €650 million range,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

O’Leary said customers (and shareholders) have responded well to the “Always Getting Better” customer service improvements that (RYR) has rolled out over recent months. “We now expect slightly stronger traffic growth in the winter schedule, as we open new bases in primary airports at Cologne, Gdansk, Glasgow, and Warsaw Modlin, as well as significantly increasing flight frequencies and schedules from Dublin to UK cities, and from Dublin to European capitals,” he said.

(RYR) originally guided for a €580 - €620 million full-year net profit, but increased this to €620 - €650 million in July. A further update is expected at the release of (RYR)’s half-year results in early November.

Back in July, (RYR) cautioned investors against any “irrational exuberance,” as it expects the second half to be depressed by strong price competition and its aggressive +8% winter-capacity growth.

(RYR) begins three new routes from Dublin in summer 2015: daily, Brussels (BRU), 3x-daily, Cologne and daily, Glasgow.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has committed to stay on for at least another couple of years and said he is unfazed by the departure of two of his most senior executives.

O’Leary, who has headed (RYR) since January 1994, brought his entire management team to (RYR)’s 1st quarter results conference in London. This move was to introduce his new board members to London-based analysts following the departure of Deputy (CEO) & (COO), Michael Cawley, and the resignation of (CFO) & Deputy (CEO), Howard Miller.

Cawley, who had been with (RYR) since 1997, stepped down in March and has been replaced as (COO) by David O’Brien, who has been with (RYR) since 1992. Miller, who has been with (RYR) for 23 years, leaves in October. He will be succeeded by his Deputy, Neil Sorahan, who has racked up 12 years with (RYR). Both Cawley and Miller have been given non-executive Director’s roles.

“We’ve had a very stable team since we floated [in 1997]. I am very sorry to see Michael and Howard leave, but I understand their reasons,” O’Leary said. The (RYR) Chief, who has a 12-month rolling notice period, added that he has committed to (RYR) for another couple of years.

“I have always said that, from my point of view, I would be very happy to stay here for as long as what we’re doing is interesting. Over the last few years, that included resolving Aer Lingus (ARL), along with the Stansted and Dublin [airport] issues and the airplane order. But I think the whole digital transformation and new growth at primary airports makes it a very interesting place to work for the next number of years, so I hope the board will keep me on,” he said.

O’Leary previously indicated that once (RYR) became more corporate and friendly, it would be time for him to step down.

“There was a view of (RYR) that we were cheap and nasty; I think that was a byproduct of my personality. I think we have to demonstrate that we have got the message in the last year (which we have) and that we are now genuinely committed to really improve the customer experience. This is not some (PR) stunt. Everything you’re seeing from the allocated seating, to the second bag, new mobile phone app and the dramatically improved website demonstrates that this is real. This transformation runs right the way through the airline.”

As part of its drive to attract more business customers, (RYR) has inked a distribution agreement with Amadeus and will start listing its fares on the platform from November 1. The move forms part of (RYR)’s customer service revamp under its “Always Getting Better” program. According to comments made by Michael O’Leary at (RYR)’s first-quarter results conference in London, there were three Global Distribution System (GDS) providers vying to secure (RYR)’s business.

Following the selection, Amadeus-affiliated travel agents will be able to access (RYR) flights through the system. “(RYR) is pleased to partner with Amadeus, whose technology represents a significant opportunity for us to reach a wider range of business and corporate customers,” Michael O’Leary said.

Amadeus said there will be no surcharge for (RYR) bookings and it will also offer (RYR)’s full range of ancillary services. The fares listed on Amadeus will be the same as on (RYR)’s own website. “Since its introduction in 2007, Amadeus’ (XML) link has enabled low-fare airlines to benefit from the reach and yield provided by travel agency distribution, without the complexity associated with traditional ticketing processes for airlines,” Amadeus said.

(RYR) is already on Travelport, giving it access to Galileo and Worldspan. Last month, it launched a (RYR) "Business Plus" product, along with a dedicated corporate and groups service.

The additional distribution platform aims to make (RYR) more business traveler-friendly, along with improved schedules, changeable tickets, allocated seating, increased hand luggage allowances and a new app, which was primarily aimed at corporate clients. “With more than >27% of our customers already traveling on business, we are continuing to improve,” O’Leary said.

Boeing (TBC) launched the newest member of the 737 MAX family on September 8th with a commitment from Ryanair (RYR) for 100 airplanes. Europe's leading low-cost carrier (LCC) will be the first airline to operate the 737 MAX 200, a variant based on the successful 737 MAX 8 that can accommodate up to 200 seats, increasing revenue potential and providing customers up to +20% better fuel efficiency per seat than today's most efficient single-aisle airplanes. SEE ATTACHED - - "SWA-2014-09 - 737-MAX 200 ORDER - A/B/C."

In addition to the commitment, valued at US$11 billion at current list prices, (RYR) has options to purchase another 100 737 MAX 200s.
"(RYR) is proud and honored to become the lead operator of Boeing's 'gamechanger' 737 MAX 200, which will expand our fleet to 520 airplanes by 2024 and create another +3,000 new jobs for pilots (FC), cabin crew (CA) and engineers (MT) in Europe, while allowing us to grow traffic from 82 million last year to over >150 million annually by 2024," said (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary.

"These new "gamechanger" airplanes will allow (RYR) to lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room and the Boeing "Sky Interior," as we roll out new offers, particularly for our Business Plus and Family Extra customers. As many of Europe's flag carriers cut capacity on short haul routes, (RYR) looks forward to using these new Boeing 737 MAX 200s to grow at many more of Europe's primary airports," said O'Leary

(TBC) developed the 737 MAX 200 in response to the needs of the fast growing low-cost carrier (LCC) sector, which is forecasted to account for 35% of single-aisle airline capacity by 2033. While the heart of the single-aisle market will remain at 160 seats, the 737 MAX 200 will provide carriers like (RYR) with up to 11 more seats of potential revenue and up to +5% lower operating costs than the 737 MAX 8, driving economic growth and increasing access to air travel.

With the addition of the 737 MAX 200, the 737 MAX family offers the right capacity to meet the needs across the single-aisle market.

"The 737 MAX 200 is the perfect fit for (RYR), providing improved efficiencies, -20% lower emissions, increased revenues and a high level of passenger comfort," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & (CEO), Ray Conner. "The new variant will play a significant role in enabling (RYR) to continue to expand its operations, while providing passengers across Europe with outstanding value. For everyone at Boeing (TBC), it is an honor to launch the 737 MAX 200 with (RYR), one of the world's most successful all-Boeing (TBC) operators."

Based on the 737 MAX 8 airframe, the 737 MAX 200 can accommodate up to 200 seats by incorporating a mid-exit door increasing the exit limit. The airframe is 2.2 meters longer than the A320neo, giving customers more flexibility and space in the cabin, and offering a better solution at both the heart of the single-aisle market (160 seats) and at maximum passenger configurations.

Standard across the 737 MAX family, (RYR)'s 737 MAX 200s will be configured with the passenger inspired Boeing Sky Interior, featuring modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, (LED) lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness, and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins. (RYR)'s 737 MAX 200s will be configured with 197Y seats. The seats will have just over >30 inches of pitch. With 2,239 orders from 46 customers worldwide, the 737 MAX family offers customers superior fuel efficiency, economics and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

Ryanair (RYR) has taken delivery of the first of 180 new Boeing 737-800NGs on order, worth $16 billion at current list prices. (RYR) will take 20 further airplane deliveries for the type between September 2014 and July 2015, which will enable it to open more routes and additional frequencies on existing routes for Summer 2015.

Headquartered in Ireland's capital city, (RYR) operates more than >1,600 flights daily from 69 bases connecting 186 destinations in 30 countries. Currently operating more than >300 Next-Generation 737-800s, (RYR) took delivery of its first 737 in 1994, and now operates the largest fleet of Boeing airplanes in Europe. With a team of more than >9,500 highly skilled professionals, (RYR) is expected to fly more than >86 million passengers this year.

October 2014: News Item A-1: INCDT: Two Ryanair (RYR) 737s clipped each other on a taxiway at Dublin Airport early Tuesday October 6th morning. (RYR) said no one was injured, but the incident has been reported to the accident investigation authorities.

The wingtip of one 737 apparently hit the tail of the other and passengers on both 737s were disembarked. "Two of our airplanes were taxiing slowly to the runway at Dublin Airport this morning. The winglet of one 737s appears to have scraped the tail of the other,” (RYR) said - - SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "RYR-2014-10 - INCDT."

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR)’s march towards respectability with business (C) travelers continued this month, as in the process of launching 25 new routes from 14 of its bases, it perhaps most tellingly, added Hamburg (HAM) to its network map, with a daily service from Lisbon (LIS) – services to the German airport from Porto (OPO) also beginning on October 28th. Additionally, it also started flights from three new bases, with Glasgow (GLA) opened alongside its existing Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) operation, as well as Warsaw Modlin (WMI) and Cologne Bonn (CGN). Interestingly, (RYR) has offered some new route growth to those airports recently side-lined in favor of other more ‘main’ airports in their respective cities, namely Glasgow Prestwick to Girona (GRO), Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Bucharest (OTP), Prague (PRG) and Riga (RIX) and Rome Ciampino (CIA) to Athens (ATH), Crotone (CRV), Fez (FEZ) and Lisbon. While traditionally (RYR) is not shy in taking on the legacy flag carrier’s on individual city pairs, its Brussels Charleroi to Bucharest route sees it go head-to-head with fellow Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) Wizz Air (WZZ)’s existing daily operation on the airport pair. In addition, the start of UK domestic routes between Edinburgh (EDI) and Glasgow to London Stansted (STN), will see (RYR) take on its nemesis easyJet (EZY), which flies the former 22 times weekly, while the latter is operated 13 times weekly. These routes are two of just eight facing direct airport pair competition from incumbent carriers.
Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Bucharest (OTP) 7x vs Wixx Air (WZZ) 7x; to Prague (PRG) 7x; to Riga (RIX) 4x.
Cologne Bonn (CGN) to London Stansted (STN) 14x vs germanwings (RFG) 14x.
Dublin (DUB) to Brussels (BRU) 16x vs Aer Lingus 16x; to (CGN) 7x vs (RFG) 3x; to Glasgow (GLA) 21x vs (arl) 25x.
Edinburgh (EDI) TO (STN) 21x vs easyJet (EZY) 22x.
(GLA) to Bydgoszcz (BZG) 2x; to City of Derry (LDY) 6x; to (STN) 21x vs (EZY) 13x.
Lisbon (LIS) to Hamburg (HAM) 7x vs (TAP) Portugal 12x.
Madrid (MAD) to Warsaw Modlin (WMI) 4x.
Manchester (MAN) to Eindhoven (EIN) 4x; to Shannon (SNN) 6x.
Milan/Bergamo (BGY) to Crotone (CRV) 7x; to (LIS) 7x.
Porto (OPO) to Berlin Schonefeld (SXF) 4x.
Rome Ciampino (CIA) to Athens (ATH) 14x; to (CRV) 7x; to Fez (FEZ) 2x; to (LIS) 7x.
Weeze (NRN) to (BZG) 2x.
(GLA) to Wroclaw (WRO 2x; 2x.
Glsgow Prestwick (PIK) to Girona (GRO 2x.

News Item A-3: anna.aero asked Ryanair (RYR)’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), David O’Brien: “What new bases the "New" Ryanair will open next year?” His written answer was: “(RYR) will open at least three new bases next year. We won’t fly to London Heathrow (LHR), Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Frankfurt Main, but every other airport is now on the table.” O’Brien continued: “Not only have we broadened our appeal to the consumer, but more and more airports of all types now appreciate what we have to offer. Indeed, our biggest challenge next year will be having enough airplanes to satisfy demand, not just from consumers, but from airports across Europe.” O’Brien also said the "New "Ryanair’s 2014 base additions are a good example of this change in its appeal - - SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2014-10 - 69 BASES." We have already opened new bases at Athens, Brussels Zaventem, Lisbon, and Rome Fiumicino, with Cologne [Bonn], Gdansk and Glasgow to follow this month, and our 180 new airplanes will allow us to grow by +30 million customers over the next five years. We estimate that 50% of that growth will be at primary airports.”

So, where will the three new bases be? Rather than guess, anna.aero did some scientific number-crunching, in order to establish the most likely new base opportunities for (RYR). anna.aero concentrated on identifying the high-volume, high-yielding markets now increasingly important to the "New" Ryanair, rather than the leisure and (VFR) - orientated and regional destinations the ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) used to be famous for.

anna.aero methodology was:

* Look at the existing 69 bases and see if there are ‘primary’ airports unserved in the same city/catchment – for example Milan Malpensa versus Milan Bergamo;

* Evaluate non-base airports with existing high numbers of (RYR) flights (for example Ibiza is (RYR)’s 32nd largest operation, with 110 weekly flights);

* Remove any potential bases with high levels of inbound leisure traffic (for example, Venice Marco Polo);

* Rank the remaining opportunities by 2013 annual passenger traffic;

The outcome of this analysis delivered the following results and anna.aero’s top 10 suggestions to O’Brien for its ‘primary’ airport bases for next year:

1) Amsterdam; 2) London Gatwick; 3) Paris Orly; 4) Copenhagen; 5) Oslo Gardermoen; 6) Vienna; 7) Düsseldorf; 8) Stockholm Arlanda; 9) Milan Malpensa; and 10) Hamburg.

The top three opportunities are interesting, more because they identify airports which were ‘not’ listed by O’Brien as potential ‘primary’ bases. Amsterdam is the only ‘FLAP’ hub airport (Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Paris (CDG) ("FLAP") – Europe’s busiest four airports) not mentioned in his David's roll call. London Gatwick is one of (RYR)’s largest ‘non-base’ airports with 52 weekly flights, but serves the London mega-market, where it already has a presence at London Stansted (its biggest base). Likewise, Paris Orly, is a market that (RYR) has served for years at ‘nearby’ Beauvais, an old-school (RYR) airport, which is a mere 81 km north of the Eiffel Tower. Paris Beauvais is also its largest non-base operation with 219 weekly flights, but no based airplanes.

One of the anna.aero "data elves" had suggested that there should be a ‘hunger for 2015 growth’ factor applied to our top 10. This metric looks at how all the airports on the list have performed in 2014 (January to August vs 2013), and assumes those airports with the least growth would be most open to (RYR)’s advances (and demands). Those that have grown the least, are Vienna (+3.0%), Paris Orly +(3.2%) and Düsseldorf (+3.6%) (none of those growth figures are in any way bad, so no airport in the sample should be desperately hungry) especially not the best performers: Stockholm Arlanda (+10%), Hamburg (+8.2%) and London Gatwick (+7.5%).

For those airports scared of ‘doing deals’ with (RYR), for fear of the (EU) coming knocking on their doors late at night, O’Brien was able to give some comfort: “The (EU) have confirmed the legitimacy and value of what (RYR) has to offer European families, business, tourism and the wider economy, while the (EC)’s findings also show that it is airlines such as Lufthansa (DLH) and its subsidiaries, who are finding it difficult to come to terms with the new realities.”


So, other than the ‘primary’ airports, there are still many other non-base existing operations and completely unserved cities across Europe, which could now be on (RYR)'s radar. Equally, while in the past, easyJet (EZY) and (RYR) have tended to avoid head-to-head competition when it comes to opening bases, the "New" Ryanair’s strategy of chasing business travelers, will see operations overlapping a lot more. Among the favorites were: Fuerteventura (43 weekly flights), Berlin Schönefeld (41), Bucharest (18), Tallinn (15), Prague (12), Nice (9).


As David O’Brien now says, “every other airport is now on the table,” anna.aero also thought it should provide a list of airports where the "New" Ryanair is currently non-existent, but which could become a destination for some of its shiny new 737-800s next year: Munich, Stuttgart, Zurich, Larnaca, Geneva, Helsinki, Sofia, Lyon, and Naples were the anna.aero analysts’ favorites.

IN MANAGEMENT BELOW, SEE anna.aero's "30-second interview" OF DAVID O'BRIEN, (CCO) IN 2014-03.

New Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) is expecting the UK Competition Commission (UKCC) to hear its appeal on the takeover of Aer Lingus (ARL) over the next few months, setting the stage for its latest (EU) challenge that should come up in 2015.

The European Commission (EC) has already blocked (RYR)’s three previous (ARL) takeover attempts and, a year ago, the (UKCC) ruled that (RYR) should sell its 29.8% (ARL) stake down to 5% on competition grounds.

(RYR) offered to sell its stake to any carrier that acquires more than >50.1% of (ARL) to appease the (UKCC). Speaking at the release of (RYR)’s first-quarter results, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said: “We’ve depressingly received no interest in the (ARL) stake, which has been up for sale for about 18 months.”

The (UKCC) appeal should be heard between October and January. “Whoever loses will probably take it to the Supreme Court,” said (RYR)’s Director Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Juliusz Komorek.

After that, attention will turn to the Court of Justice of the (EU). (RYR) is appealing the (EC)’s February 2013 decision, blocking its June 2012 (ARL) takeover attempt.

“We appealed that case last year and that is moving quite slowly because of the large number of interveners [sic] in the case, so that will come up for a hearing at some stage in 2015. Our strong view is that the (EU) case takes precedence over the UK case,” Komorek said.

At the time of the (UKCC) decision, (RYR) said it cannot be forced to sell down its stake until it has completed its (EU) appeal.

Ryanair (RYR) is expecting to hear news on its Cyprus Airways (CYP) bid by early 2015 and is likely to use the (RYR)-linked branding for its long-haul, low-cost carrier (LCC) project.

(RYR) is planning to nearly double its passenger numbers by 2024, excluding its long-haul ambitions and its current bid to acquire Cyprus Airways (CYP).

(RYR) will appeal a European Commission (EC) ruling that it should repay more than >€300,000/>$385 million) of what the (EC) has decided was unfair financial aid.

An (EC) investigation into both the airline and the small German regional airport of Altenburg-Nobitz, situated south of Leipzig, found that the airport had not benefited unfairly from public funding from the central German government.

It concluded the funding did amount to state aid, but that it fell within (EU) aviation aid guidelines and did not unduly distort competition. The payments to Altenburg, a former military airfield some 85 km from Leipzig’s main airport, Halle, were the minimum possible to maintain Altenburg’s economic viability, the (EC) said.

However, it also found that service and marketing agreements concluded between the airport’s operator, (RYR) and the carrier’s (AMS) marketing subsidiary gave the carrier an undue advantage that could not be justified under (EU) state aid rules. (RYR) and (AMS), it ruled, must repay some €318,000 to the German authorities.

(RYR) said all its airport arrangements complied with the (EU) state aid rules.

“(RYR) has therefore instructed its lawyers to appeal this ruling to the extent it alleges otherwise. The (EU) Commission has confirmed that (RYR)’s agreements comply with the (EU) state aid rules at 10 airports, including Charleroi, Hahn and Alghero.”

News Item A-5: Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has committed to remain with the Irish budget carrier until September 2019.

O’Leary has already accrued 17 years as (CEO) of (RYR), a position which he took up when (RYR) floated shares publicly in 1997. (RYR) confirmed that O’Leary has switched from a 12-month rolling contract to a five-year agreement “which commits him to the company until September 2019.”

(RYR) added, “Mr O’Leary has been granted options over >5 million ordinary shares, payable at current market prices. However, these options will only vest if (RYR) delivers exceptional performance targets over the next five years, which have been set by the remuneration committee.”

Under O’Leary’s leadership, (RYR) has grown from carrying 3 million annual passengers to over >80 million passengers per year. Over the next five years, it is aiming to grow by another +50% and to carry more than >120 million annual passengers by 2019.

At the release of (RYR)’s first-quarter results earlier this year, O’Leary said that he wanted to stay on for at least another couple of years. “I have always said that, from my point of view, I would be very happy to stay here for as long as what we’re doing is interesting,” he said at the time. “Over the last few years, that included resolving Aer Lingus (ARL), along with the Stansted and Dublin [airport] issues and the airplane order. But I think the whole digital transformation and new growth at primary airports makes it a very interesting place to work for the next number of years, so I hope the board will keep me on.”

(RYR) has just lost two of its most senior executives: Deputy (CEO) & (COO), Michael Cawley, who had 17 years with (RYR), and (CFO) & Deputy (CEO), Howard Miller, who racked up a 23-year term. Both will continue in non-executive Director’s roles.

News Item A-6: Ryanair (RYR) is the largest and the only ultra low-cost European carrier, handling the most international passengers in the world with its comprehensive network. It owns Europe's largest fleet of Boeing 737-800 airplanes (currently 303, with +175 more on order) and operates over >1,600 flights every day, across 1,600 routes, from 65 bases, connecting 186 destinations (SEE ATTACHED - - "RYR-2014-10 - DESTINATION MAP) in 29 different countries, with an exemplary 29-year safety record.

November 2014: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has significantly increased its full-year net profit guidance to +€750 to +€770 million/+$939 to +$964 million from its earlier +€650 million forecast, after posting a +32% hike in its first-half net profit.

“We caution that this raised guidance remains heavily reliant on the strength of close in bookings for the remainder of the third quarter, and in particular the fourth quarter where we presently have very little visibility,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

(RYR) posted a first-half net income of +€795 million, up +32% from a +€601.9 million profit in the year-ago period. The results were boosted by Easter falling in the first quarter and a weak comparable period, but on top of that, (RYR) said summer bookings, load factors and yields had been boosted by its “Always Getting Better” strategy.

Revenues were up +9% to €3.5 billion, as lower takings from baggage fees were substituted with allocated seating revenues, while expenses increased +2.6% to €2.6 billion. This produced an operating profit of +€933.4 million, up +30% from a +€717.2 million operating profit in the prior-year half.

Passenger numbers rose +4% to 51.3 million, pushing first half loads up four points to 89% LF. Average fares were up +5% at €54 and unit costs fell by -2%, or -3% excluding fuel. The cost increase was driven by increased landing and handling costs at primary airports, and a higher marketing spend to support the “Always Getting Better” program.

On the back of the strong first half, (RYR) has “significantly raised” its winter capacity and traffic targets, forecasting +16% second half traffic growth, or +5.3 million passengers (up +2.2 million on its previous guidance).

“We believe it is time to capitalize upon the many opportunities available to us at both primary and secondary airports, to grow our route network and increase frequencies, in order to attract business traffic, which tends to travel more during the winter period,” Ryanair said in its earnings release; however, it cautioned second-half fares are expected to fall.

Third-quarter average fares are expected to decline -3% TO -5% (an improvement on the previously guided -6% TO -8% drop), off the back of +12% traffic growth. In the fourth quarter, fares will fall -6% TO -10%, as traffic increases +20%. This is because (RYR) is dropping its fares to hit its traffic targets.

“We now expect full-year traffic will grow +9% to 89 million customers, and average fares for the full year to rise by just +1% to €47. Unit costs (excluding fuel) will be positively impacted by this significant second half traffic increase, and we now expect unit costs will be flat for the full year. Including fuel, unit costs will fall -4% in the full year,” (RYR) said.

However, (RYR) cautioned that its mid-term forecasts should be treated with “extreme caution.”

(RYR) is expecting to carry 150 million passengers annually by 2024, double its present volume.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) started +20 more routes starting October 28th through November 1st:
Bremen (BRE) to Gothenburg City (GSE) 3x weekly; to Lisbon (LIS) 3x; to Madrid (MAD), 4x.
Cologne Bonn (CGN) to (MAD) 4x; to Riga (RIX) 3x; to Rome Coiampino (CIA) 7x.
Eindhoven (EIN) to (LIS) 3x vs transavia.com (TAV) 2X; to Tenerife South (TFS) 1x; to Turin 3x.
Glasgow (GLA) to (RIX) 1x; to Warsaw Modlin (WMI) 3x.
Kaunas (KUN) to Shannon (SNN) 1x.
(MAD) to (EIN) 3x vs (TAV) 2x; to Fez (FEZ) 2x.
Porto (OPO) to Hamburg (HAM) 3x.
(TFS) to Cardiff (CWL) 1x vs Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY) 3x.
Thessaloniki (SKG) to Paris Beauvais (BVA) 3x.
(WMI) to Fuerteventura (FUE) 1x; to Gran Canaria (LPA) 1x; to (TFS) 2x.

(RYR) is furthering its expansion by basing two airplanes at Bratislava airport in Slovakia, serving a total of 16 routes, including a new 3x-weekly, Madrid link. Bratislava will become (RYR)’s 71st base and its first in Slovakia when it opens in March 2015.

(RYR) will operate a total of 60 weekly frequencies, across 16 routes from the Slovakian capital city. These are expected to generate around one million passengers per year.

The 16 routes comprise Alghero (2x-weekly), Barcelona Girona (2x-weekly), Birmingham (3x-weekly), Brussels (3x-weekly), Dublin (1x-daily), Edinburgh (2x-weekly), Liverpool (3x-weekly), London Luton (4x-weekly), London Stansted (2x-daily), Madrid (3x-weekly), Malaga (2x-weekly), Milan (4x-weekly), Palma (2x-weekly), Paris (3x-weekly), Rome (4x-weekly) and Trapani (2x-weekly).

(RYR) has expanded its network from the French regional airport of Dole (DLE), starting weekly (Tuesdays) operations to Fez (FEZ) in Morocco on November 11th. The new route is the (ULCC)’s second to Morocco, joining existing services to Marrakech, and takes its commitment at Dole up to four routes this winter, as Lisbon and Porto are also served. Flown by (RYR)’s ubiquitous 189-seat 737-800s, the 1,685 km sector will, like many (RYR) routes, avoid any direct competition.

News Iten A-3: Ryanair (RYR) is in talks to switch 165 of the 180 Boeing 737-800s it has on order to the Sky Interior and is considering whether to upgrade its existing fleet to a similar standard.

December 2014: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has added +€60 million/+$74 million to its full-year net earnings guidance, giving a new range of +€810 to +€830 million, due to stronger-than-expected winter bookings.

At the start of the financial year, (RYR)’s original guidance called for a +€580 to +€620 million full-year net profit, compared to the +€523 million net income it achieved in 2012 - 2013. This outlook was increased to +€620 to +€650 million in July, to the top end of this range in September, and then to +€750 to +€770 million at the release of its first-half results in November.

The latest guidance, predicts net profits in the range of +€810 to +€830 million for the full year ending March 2015. (RYR) also upgraded its passenger forecast to just over >90 million passengers from 89 million. This compares with a total of 81.7 million passengers for 2012 - 2013, which was originally expected to swell to 84.6 million in the current financial year.

“(RYR) attributes this stronger-than-expected initial winter performance to the continuing success of its "Always Getting Better" customer program, our stronger forward-booking strategy and (RYR)’s substantial fare and unit cost advantage over all other European airlines,” (RYR) said in a stock market disclosure.

For winter 2014 - 2015, (RYR) is offering a “substantially expanded” schedule, including a large number of new routes aimed at business (C) travelers. This led to a +13% hike in November capacity, which was met by a +22% increase in passenger numbers to 6.4 million.

This boosted its average load factor by seven points to 88% LF and (RYR) said it had “materially exceeded” its first month load factor targets on “a significant number” of the business links.

However, once again, (RYR) cautioned its full-year net profit performance is “heavily reliant” on its January to March (fourth-quarter) yields and bookings, over which it has “very little visibility.”

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) is to set up a base in the Azores, the autonomous Portuguese island group in the northern Atlantic. (RYR) will station a single 737-800 at Ponta Delgada airport and open three new routes, including Lisbon, Porto, and London Stansted.

(RYR) said it is developing the base, which will open in April next year, after the Portuguese authorities removed restrictions linked to public-service obligation routes. (RYR) adds that it is discussing, with the government, routes to the Azores island of Terceira as well as further international links.

News Item A-3: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) has revealed that Aer Lingus (ARL)’s board has rebuffed a potential takeover attempt. In a stock exchange disclosure, the (IAG) confirmed it had “submitted a proposal” to make an offer for (ARL), but it added that this was “rejected by the board of (ARL).”

“There can be no certainty that any further proposal or offer will be forthcoming. A further statement will be made if and when appropriate,” the (IAG) added. “The board has reviewed the Proposal and believes that it fundamentally undervalues (ARL) and its attractive prospects. Accordingly, the Proposal was rejected on December 16th 2014,” (ARL) said in a stock market disclosure. “Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.”

This is not the first time (ARL) has been courted. Ryanair (RYR) has made several attempts to acquire its fellow Irish carrier, but each of these efforts has been blocked on competition grounds. Last September, a UK Competition Commission (UKCC) investigation into these unsuccessful (RYR) bids revealed that (ARL) was looking to combine with another carrier in 2012 and has more recently explored a variety of merger and acquisition scenarios.

The annexes of this report were heavily edited, making it difficult to pin down exactly how many initiatives were under discussion, but they revealed several sets of talks relating to (ARL) acquiring, merging and forming strategic initiatives with other airlines.

(RYR) was ordered to sell its 29.8% stake in (ARL) down to 5% by the (UKCC), partly based on concerns the shareholding could jeopardize (ARL)’s consolidation with other carriers. (RYR) responded by putting its entire stake up for sale, with certain conditions. More recently, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has bemoaned a total lack of interest in the (ARL) stake. Speaking at the release of (RYR)’s first-quarter results this summer, O’Leary said: “We’ve had depressingly received no interest in (ARL)'s stake, which has been up for sale for about 18 months.”

O’Leary said his strategy for (ARL) would be to turn it around, make it low-cost and profitable, and operate a dual-brand strategy.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) has finalized its order for 100 737 MAX 200s and 100 options, confirming its status as launch customer for the high-capacity variant. The airplane deal was announced as a commitment in September, but (RYR) needed shareholder backing to turn it into a firm order.

After securing this rubber stamp, (RYR) has wasted no time in cementing the $11 billion order with Boeing (TBC), with potential to increase to $22 billion if the options are firmed. “(RYR) is proud and honored to become the lead operator of Boeing’s ‘game changer’ 737 MAX 200 airplanes,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

With this latest boost, (RYR)’s fleet will grow to 520 airplanes by 2024. The 737 MAX 200s, which are slated for delivery between 2019 and 2024, will have eight more seats than (RYR)’s 737-800s. (RYR) said the airplanes will reduce its fuel consumption by up to -18% and cut noise emissions by -40%.

February 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) announced a third-quarter net profit of +€49 million/+$55.5 million, reversed from a net loss of -€35 million a year ago. (RYR) attributed its improved customer relations for the turnaround.

Revenue for the third quarter ended December 31, 2014 rose +17%, from €964 million year-over-year to €1.13 billion, while passenger numbers climbed +14% to 20.8 million. Load factor rose +6% to 88% LF.

As a result of the improved figures, (RYR) said it was again raising its profit guidance for the full year, from +€810 to +€830 million up to +€840 to +€850 million after tax (the fifth such rise in the current financial year).

It added that it would pay a €520 million special dividend on February 27 and would embark on a €400 million share buyback, to be completed by August.

However, it cautioned on prospects for 2016. “We would counsel shareholders and analysts to temper expectations for (FY) 2016. We believe that any growth in profits will be modest, as fuel is hedged at $92 per barrel, whereas some competitors, whose weak balance sheets rendered them unable to hedge forward, will be significant beneficiaries of lower oil prices and this may lead to downward pressure on airfares in 2015/2016.”

(RYR) has hedged 90% of its (FY) 2016 fuel at $92, and 35% of its (FY) 2017 fuel at $68.

(CFO), Neil Sorahan said (RYR) was reaping the benefit of a softer approach to customer relations. In October 2013, (CEO), Michael O’Leary pledged to tone down company regulations that were unduly irritating travelers.

In addition, Sorahan said beneficial changes (such as allocated seating and a more generous attitude to carry-on luggage) were now having a positive effect on passenger numbers.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) expects its expansion over the next few years to come equally from major and secondary airports.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) plans to petition the UK’s Supreme Court following a lower court’s dismissal of its appeal against a directive to sell down its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) to 5% on competition grounds.

It said the case raised important human rights issues, adding the directive had been fatally undermined by International Airlines Group (IAG)’s bid for Aer Lingus (ARL).

(RYR) had taken the case to the UK Court of Appeal, arguing it should not have to divest itself of shares. It was the latest stage in the long-running legal tale over (RYR)’s major stake in the Irish flag-carrier (ARL).

(ARL) welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision, noting it was the third time the court had dismissed attempts by (RYR) to block the original decision by the UK Competition Commission (now renamed the Competition & Markets Authority, (CMA)).

(RYR) said it would now appeal the case to the UK’s highest court “as it raises human rights issues of significant public importance, including the scope of protection offered to businesses by the right to property. In parallel, (RYR) has requested a formal review by the (CMA) of its Final Report, and a withdrawal of the divestment remedy, in light of the recent offers by the International Airlines Group (IAG) for (ARL), which fully disprove the theories and unsubstantiated evidence on which the Final Report was based,” it said.

“The (CMA) speculated in its Final Report that (RYR)'s 29% shareholding would deter other airlines from merging with or bidding for (ARL). Clearly, the (IAG)’s recent offers demonstrate that the (CMA)’s findings were wrong and that its divestment remedies must be revoked in light of this compelling evidence.

“While we note the Court of Appeal's ruling, this judgment ignores the fact that the (CMA)’s Final Report was based on fanciful hypotheses, secretive ‘evidence’ and unsubstantiated assumptions,” (RYR) spokesman Robin Kiely said.

March 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) said its new, softer approach to passenger relations has paid off with a +5% increase in load factor and a +11% rise in passenger numbers.

In a presentation in London to mark the 30th anniversary of (RYR)’s first flight (a 19-seat Embraer (EMB) Bandeirante service between Waterford in southeast Ireland and London Gatwick) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said the first year of (RYR)’s “Always Getting Better” campaign’s had yielded solid results.

In 2013, O’Leary accepted that the company’s aggressive stance toward customer relations was causing unnecessary irritation and instigated a campaign to remove or tone down some of its more egregious regulations.

O’Leary and Head of Marketing, Kenny Jacobs said (RYR)’s new “Always Getting Better” campaign was bearing fruit, and that the image of the airline was changing. They pointed to the new, softer approach as a factor behind a +5% rise in load factor to 87% LF and a +11% rise in passenger numbers to more than >90 million last year.

“If I had known that being nicer to our customers was going to work so well, I’d have been nicer to them much earlier,” O’Leary said.

The “Always Getting Better” campaign is due to run for three years and (RYR) rolled out several new initiatives to keep the momentum going. Among these will be new cabin interiors that will minimize the unpopular acid yellow tones, new slimline seats that (RYR) said will give more legroom, and a new feature enabling passengers to hold a fare for 24 hours for €5/$5.60.

Jacobs also said (RYR)’s new USA dollar-priced website is highly popular with USA residents, who are able to book intra-European services before departing from the USA.

(RYR) established itself by following the example of iconoclastic Southwest Airlines (SWA), but O’Leary said that flying (SWA) was increasingly like flying United (UAL) or American (AAL): “Spirit (SPR) has usurped their position.” (RYR), he added, “is still going to be a bit Sex Pistols” (a reference to the 1970s’ UK punk rock band).

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) is #1 yet again (more than twice as many new routes as anyone else!).

(RYR)’s business model may have evolved during the last year, but that hasn’t stopped it being by far the busiest airline, when it comes to new route launches. However, in the first three weeks of the summer season last year, it launched over >60 new routes, whereas for the equivalent period this year (24 March to 13 April) the figure is down by over one-third to ‘just’ 38. However, that is still more than twice as many as any other airline with Aegean Airlines (CRM) and easyJet (EZY) the nearest competitors with less than <20 new routes each. (RYR)’s batch of new routes include several from its new operating bases in Bratislava (Slovakia), Copenhagen (Denmark) and Ponta Delgada (Portugal), as well as additional services from Rome Fiumicino, that used to be operated from Rome Ciampino.

Aegean Airlines (CRM)’s second place ranking has much to do with the airline’s decision to launch a number of routes from Larnaca Airport in Cyprus following the demise earlier this year of Cyprus Airways (CYP). easyJet (EZY)’s new routes are spread across its network of over >20 bases with no single airport dominating. SEE ATTACHED CHART - - "RYR-2015-03 - TOP 15 AIRLINES STARTING ROUTES."

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) will triple its operations from Berlin Schonefeld, where it plans to base five airplanes and open 16 new routes from October.

Following the network additions, (RYR) will serve 22 routes from Berlin Schonefeld, its 73rd base.

The new routes comprise Alicante (3x-weekly), Athens (daily), Barcelona (daily), Bari (3x-weekly), Bologna (daily), Bratislava (daily), Brussels (3x-daily), Glasgow (4x-weekly), Madrid (2x-daily), Malaga (2x-weekly), Palermo (2x-weekly), Palma de Mallorca (3x-weekly), Riga (daily), Rome Ciampino (2x-daily), Venice (3x-weekly) and Valencia (3x-weekly).

(RYR) is also adding extra frequencies to Dublin (from 7x- to 9x-weekly), London Stansted (from 2x- to 4x-daily) and Milan Bergamo (from 1x- to 2x-daily).

(RYR) Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs estimates the new base will handle 2.6 million customers annually and support 2,600 on-site jobs.

“Germany is a significant growth market for (RYR) and as we announce our 6th German base at Berlin, we will continue to connect key German cities with Europe’s major centers of business,” (RYR) said, as part of its drive to attract more business customers.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) is to be the first airline to operate scheduled services from Spain’s Castellon Airport, which has been empty since its opening four years ago.

(RYR) will start services to London Stansted (3x-weekly) and Bristol (2x weekly) in its winter 2015 service.

Castellon, which lies north of Valencia, was built at the height of Spain’s construction boom in the first decade of the century, but has seen only a few charter flights since its official opening in 2011. It has been dubbed the “white elephant” airport in Spain.

Meanwhile, (RYR) is planning a major expansion of its flights from Cologne. It said it will double its traffic through the northwest German city by launching seven new routes, part of its Cologne winter 2015/2016 schedule. This, (RYR) says, will generate 2 million extra passengers per year.

Its new services will go to Berlin, Berlin, Copenhagen, Gran Canaria, Milan, Porto, Valencia, and Warsaw. To service the new routes, (RYR) will increase the number of Boeing 737s based at Cologne from one to three.

News Item A-5: (RYR) commenced the 1,239 km city pair from Dublin (DUB) to Copenhagen (CPH) on March 18th. The daily, 189Y-seat 737-800-operated service will face considerable competition from (SAS) (8x weekly), Aer Lingus (ARL) (daily), and Norwegian (NWG) (2x-weekly). This route becomes (RYR)’s first to the Danish capital, with Copenhagen becoming (RYR)’s 70th base, with the launch of several more new routes. This will be (RYR)’s 2nd base in Denmark after Billund.

News Item A-6: Just days after announcing it planned to launch long-haul, low-cost transatlantic services, Ryanair (RYR) has retracted its statement.

In an interview with the "London Financial Times," (RYR) said its board had approved plans to go ahead with the long-anticipated development. The report stated (RYR) was talking to manufacturers for new airplanes to launch the services, which would cover a network of between 12 - 14 cities on either side of the Atlantic.

In the past, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has frequently talked about his desire for long-haul services, but this was the first time the board was said to have given the go-ahead.

(RYR) issued a statement on the London Stock Exchange, doing an about-face: “In the light of recent press coverage, the Board of Ryanair Holdings Plc wishes to clarify that it has not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so.”

A source close to (RYR) said the initial statement had been a “miscommunication” on the part of (RYR)’s Director of Marketing, Kenny Jacobs.

The initial error stating the board had given approval for the plans was compounded by the fact that St Patrick’s Day fell the day after the report appeared: “There was nobody in the office and the story really took off and developed a life of its own,” particularly in North America, the source said. The Irish national holiday meant that nobody had been available to issue a swift retraction. The company’s board members had also been out of Ireland. “It was a perfect storm of unfortunate timing,” it said.

Transatlantic flights remained very much part of (RYR)'s plans at some point in the future, the source said, “but they would be run by a separate company, with a separate brand. It wouldn’t be run by Ryanair (RYR).”

News Item A-7: Ryanair (RYR) has been revealed as the buyer of three Boeing 737-800s that had previously been on the manufacturer’s books as having been sold to an unidentified customer.

The 737-800s “will be delivered in early 2016, bringing our total recent orders to 183 737-800s, in addition to further orders for up to 200 ‘game changer’ Boeing 737 MAX 200 airplanes,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said.

“These Boeing airplane orders will allow us to expand our fleet to over >520 airplanes and to increase our traffic to 160 million customers per annum by 2024.”

The three-airplane order has a value of $280 million at list prices. Initial deliveries from (RYR)’s massive previous order have just started to arrive and, with the latest additions, (RYR) now has unfilled orders for 174 737-800s and 100 737 MAX 200s.

(RYR) operates the largest all-Boeing fleet in Europe with more than >300 737-800s in service and is the biggest customer for the type, ordering more than >530 throughout its history. (RYR) is also the launch customer for the 737 MAX 200, finalizing an order for 100 airplanes last year, with options for 100 more.

April 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) continued its expansion with 18 further new routes. With the longest sector being the 2,554 km route from Ponta Delgada (PDL) to London Stansted (STN), and the shortest being launched from Athens (ATH) to Santorini (JTR) at 219 km, the (ULCC) will face direct competition on six airport pairs.
New routes as follow (all 737-800s):
Alicante (ALC) to Cologne Bonn (CGN) 3x, vs Norwegian (NWG) 2x;
Athens (ATH) to Bratislava (BTS); to Budapest (BUD) 4x, vs Aegean Airlines (CRM; to Santorini (JTR), 7x, vs (CRM) 49x;
Brussels (BRU) to Verona (VRN), 4x;
Glasgow (GLA) to Carcassonne (CCF), 2x;
London Stansted (STN) to Deauville (DOL), 2x;
Manchester (MAN) to Stuttgart (STR), 6x;
Oslo Rygg (RYG) to Szczecin (SZZ), 2x;
Palermo (PMO) to Berlin Schonefeld (SXF), 2x, to Memmingen (FMM), 22x, to Turin (TRN) 7x, vs Vueling (VUZ) 9x; to Verona (VRN) 3x, vs
(VUZ) 9x;
Paris Beauvais (BVA) to (PMO), 3x;
Ponta Delgada (PDL) to Lisbon (LIS), 13x vs (SATA) International 12X; (TAP) Portugal 7X; easyJet (EZY) 3x; to (STN) 1x; to Porto (OPO) 6x, vs (SATA) 4x;
(OPO) to Lorient (LRT), 2x.

News Item A-2: The UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), formerly known as the UK Competition Commission (UKCC), is standing by its decision ordering Ryanair (RYR) to sell its 29.8% Aer Lingus (ARL) stake down to 5%.

In 2013, the (UKCC) ruled that (RYR)’s minority shareholding could reduce competition and deter potential (ARL) investors. (RYR) offered to sell its (ARL) stake to any carrier that acquires more than >50.1% of (ARL)’s shares, but the (UKCC) ordered the partial divestment instead.

(RYR) vowed to fight the ruling and, in February, it asked for the decision to be reviewed. “Clearly, the (IAG)’s recent offers prove that the (CMA)’s findings were wrong, that circumstances have changed, and that the divestment remedy must be revoked in light of this compelling evidence,” (RYR) Head of Communications, Robin Kiely said.

The (CMA) launched a consultation, which drew responses from (ARL), the (IAG), the Irish government, and (RYR). Releasing its interim findings, the (CMA) said there was “no material change in circumstances or special reason” for it to change its decision. “Our provisional view is that the circumstances around the (IAG)’s proposed bid are consistent with the findings in our report,” (CMA) (RYR)/(ARL) Inquiry Group Chairman, Simon Polito said, adding that (RYR) remains “a significant hurdle” to potential investors. The (IAG) bid is conditional on receiving an irrevocable commitment from (RYR).

The (CMA), which is consulting on the divestment order, is expected to release its final decision in May.

(RYR) is continuing to call for the divestment order to be revoked. “In parallel, (RYR)’s lawyers are currently seeking permission to appeal the final report to the UK Supreme Court,” Kiely said.

The UK Court of Appeal has already dismissed (RYR)’s legal challenge to the original (UKCC) decision.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) revealed that almost $5.0 million/4.53 million euros was fraudulently removed from one of its accounts in a scam involving a Chinese bank.

“(RYR) confirmed that it has investigated a fraudulent electronic transfer via a Chinese bank,” (RYR) said, confirming a media report.
“(RYR) has been working with its banks and the relevant authorities and understands that the funds have now been frozen.

“(RYR) expects these funds to be repaid shortly, and has taken steps to ensure that this type of transfer cannot recur.”

The Criminal Assets Bureau, a specialist police unit in Ireland, is understood to be working with Asian agencies to assist in the recovery of the money.

The "Irish Times" newspaper said the airline (which only flies within Europe) uses dollars to purchase fuel for its airplanes and that it was these funds that were targeted. “As this matter is subject to legal proceedings, no further comment will be made,” (RYR) added.

May 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has posted a 15% net profit margin for 2014 - 2015, after generating +€867 million/+$944.5 million in net income, up +66% from +€523 million in the prior year.

Speaking at a media briefing in London, (RYR) (CFO), Neil Sorahan said the “very strong” results, which exceeded previous guidance, were due to its three-year ‘Always Getting Better’ (AGB) strategy. This triggered a +1% increase in average fares, +11% more traffic and a five-point load factor boost to reach 88% LF.

Revenues rose +12% to €5.7 billion, which (RYR) described as “a pleasing result, given we had no new airplane deliveries in the summer of 2014.” Operating expenses increased +5% to €4.6 billion, driven by (RYR)’s growth and offset by a -1% reduction in fuel costs. This produced an operating profit of +€1 billion, up +58.4% from a +€658.6 million operating profit in the prior year.

Passenger numbers rose +11% to 90.6 million, producing a load factor of 88% LF, up +5 points. Unit costs ex-fuel remained flat, but including fuel they fell -5%. (RYR) said this was “an impressive performance,” given its increased operations from primary airports which pushed airport and handling costs up +15%.

(RYR) said it has “relentlessly improved” its model during the first year of its three-year (AGB) program, winning “substantial” market share from competitors, particularly at Dublin and London Stansted.

The (AGB) aims to shake off (RYR)’s former image and attract more business passengers. Under this program, (RYR) has already expanded into primary airports, adjusted its frequencies and schedules to be more business-friendly and listed its content on two Global Distribution Systems (GDS)s. Business travelers now make up 27% of its passenger total, but Sorahan declined to comment on the take-up of (RYR)’s "Business Plus" product.

This year, (RYR) has rolled out a new USA website and customer charter, slashed some of its fees and modernized its app. During the remainder of the year, (RYR) is planning to drop its irritating on-time bugle and launch a new website, with a price comparison feature. “This is something we are working on in the lab,” Sorahan said.

“We are going to continue to remove things that really hack people off,” (RYR) Director Operations, Mick Hickey said. “I think we are quite close to the end of that process. We haven’t decided what we will introduce in year three yet, but it will be more elements which will be attractive to the customer.”

News Item A-2: The Irish government is to sell its 25% stake in flag carrier, Aer Lingus (ARL) to British Airways (BAB) owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG), the Transport Minister said on May 26th. "Following detailed consideration of all the issues surrounding a potential disposal of the State's shareholding in (ARL), the Government has decided that it will support the (IAG)'s proposal," Minister Paschal Donohoe said.

Ryanair (RYR) is remaining tight-lipped on whether it is willing to sell its 29.8% Aer Lingus (ARL) stake to the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The International Airlines Group (IAG) will make a €1.4 billion/$1.5 billion formal takeover bid for Aer Lingus (ARL), after winning crucial backing from the government of Ireland and (ARL)’s board.

The (IAG) has been courting (ARL) since last December, culminating in a third takeover proposal of €2.55/$2.78 per share in January. Unlike the two earlier approaches, this received a favorable response from (ARL), but was conditional on the (IAG) securing support from (ARL)’s two key shareholders: the government of Ireland and (RYR).

Late May 26th, the (IAG) announced it had agreed “the terms of a recommended cash offer” with both the Irish government and (ARL) by signing a transaction agreement which “contains certain assurances” for the future of (ARL).

The (IAG) has given “cast-iron guarantees” on (ARL)’s London Heathrow (LHR) slots, protected by a single "B" share which will be held by the Irish government. Aer Lingus (ARL) will maintain its current seasonal frequencies to Dublin, Cork, and Shannon for at least seven years and its other Heathrow - Ireland links for at least five years. (ARL) will now convene an (AGM) to approve the connectivity resolutions.

“The independent (ARL) Directors intend unanimously to recommend that (ARL) shareholders accept the offer,” the (IAG) said. “The government of Ireland has stated that it supports the offer and the Minister for Finance of Ireland has confirmed that the general principles of the disposal of his shares in (ARL) will be laid before Dáil Éireann [the lower house of the Irish Parliament] for approval.”

Just a few hours earlier, (RYR) said it was waiting on a formal approach from the (IAG), adding that it would consider any deal on its merits. The offer document will be sent to shareholders within 28 days. To succeed, the offer must be backed by at least 90% of (ARL) shareholders, which means that Ryanair (RYR)’s buy-in will be pivotal. It will also require competition clearance from the European Commission (EC).

Both (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh and (ARL) Chairman, Colm Barrington described the deal as “compelling,” adding that it will provide stronger transatlantic and regional connectivity for both (ARL) and the (IAG). “The company [(ARL)] will reap the commercial and strategic benefits of being part of the much larger and globally diverse (IAG) Group,” Barrington said.

Willie Walsh confirmed the "Aer Lingus" brand and its Irish head office will be retained. The (IAG) plans to develop Dublin as a transatlantic hub and Aer Lingus (ARL) will re-join the oneworld (ONW) alliance under its new ownership.

“(ARL) would add a fourth competitive, cost effective airline to the (IAG), enabling us to develop our network using Dublin as a hub between the UK, continental Europe and North America, generating additional financial value for our shareholders,” Walsh said.

The offer for 100% of (ARL) will be made by (AERL) Holding, a wholly owned (IAG) subsidiary, which has been created for the takeover. The directors of (AERL) Holding are Walsh, (IAG) (CFO), Enrique Dupuy and (IAG) General Counsel, Chris Haynes. (AERL) Holding plans to delist (ARL) from the Irish and London stock exchanges and re-register it as a private company.

The (IAG) operates a combined fleet of 459 airplanes, handling over >77 million passengers and 897,000 tonnes of cargo across its three carriers, British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ). Iberia (IBE) will add a fleet of 48 Airbus airplanes and three Boeing 757s to the group. Together with its regional franchise operation, (ARL) carried over >11.1 million passengers in 2014, generating a €1.6 billion turnover.

2 737-8AS (44699, EI-FIJ; 44700, EI-FIK), deliveries.

June 2015: News Item A-1: French air traffic controllers are set to strike for 48 hours from Thursday July 2nd in their latest protest against what they say are deteriorating working conditions in the face of steady growth in the aviation sector.

The controllers, members of the (SNCTA) union, said the budget of the French aviation regulator should be safeguarded; instead, it argues, decisions over recent years by both the French government and the European Commission (EC) have led to restrictions in both technical resources and the workforce.

The strike is the second called this year by French controllers and is likely to have a severe effect as the summer holiday season gets underway. The French authorities have asked airlines to cut their frequencies -40% during the dispute.

Ryanair (RYR), which has repeatedly railed against the disruption caused by controllers’ strikes in various European countries, called on the French government and the (EC) to keep traffic flowing by allowing air traffic controllers from other European Union (EU) nations to handle flights over-flying France. “The timing of these strikes is designed to cause maximum disruption to consumers because there’s little or no capacity in the system to allow customers to rebook or reschedule canceled holidays,” (RYR) Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said. “The timing of these strikes during the first week of the school holidays is reprehensible.”

The request by the French authorities for a -40% cut in flights “will result in millions of consumers having their flights or holidays canceled, with no opportunity to rebook or re-route them.”

He called on the (EU) and France to instigate a system similar to that in the USA, where air traffic controllers (ATC)s are legally barred from striking and where industrial relations problems must be submitted to binding arbitration.

(RYR) has refused to comment on reports in the French media that it has applied for slots at Paris Orly, Nice and Lyon for the forthcoming winter season. If confirmed, the development would be a further indication of (RYR)’s gradual move away from serving smaller regional airports in favor of larger hubs. Currently, it only serves Paris via the small airports at Beauvais and Vatry, while its only presence at Nice is with flights to Dublin and Shannon. It does not currently serve Lyon.

“While we are always interested in new routes, we do not comment upon or engage in rumor or speculation,” (RYR) said in a written statement.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) is no longer looking to secure a Cypriot air operator’s certificate (AOC) following its failed bid for now-defunct Cyprus Airways (CYP).

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) plans to introduce in-flight Wi-Fi within two years and is likely to add some form of interlining within five years, according to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Kenny Jacobs.

Speaking at the "Connect 2015" conference in Killarney, Ireland, Jacobs said (RYR) is actively considering a number of initiatives under its "Always Getting Better" (AGB) customer service turnaround. One of these is the low-cost carrier (LCC) kryptonite of connecting traffic. “I’d be quite surprised, looking at the next five years, if (RYR) and probably easyJet (EZY) aren’t feeding traffic into connections,” Jacobs said. “It has many implications, and we are looking through them, just trying to understand what the different versions of that are. We have not done [connections] in the past, but it’s quite an interesting way to step change our growth in a different type of way.”

Under (AGB), (RYR) is working to boost its load factor and repeat customers. However, (RYR) does not need connecting traffic to hit its 100-million passenger target for 2015 - 2016 and 160 million by 2024. “It is an interesting area. More and more airports are asking us about it, and I think it’s an obvious evolution in the market place,” Jacobs said.

He identified a potential opportunity at London Stansted, which has 170 - 180 onward European destinations including around 150 operated by (RYR), but he said similar potential could exist at other European airports. He contrasted this with London Heathrow (LHR), which has only 50 or 60 European destinations. “That’s a great opportunity waiting to happen and, as the biggest airline at Stansted, that’s quite an interesting one. If a large transatlantic carrier did decent-scale landing at Stansted, is that a connections opportunity that we’d be interested in talking to Stansted and the transatlantic carrier about? Absolutely.”

He also gave the strongest indication yet that (RYR) will install Wi-Fi connectivity on its Boeing 737 fleet. Although (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has previously said he was actively looking at Wi-Fi, O’Leary raised questions over the readiness of mobile phone companies to offer affordable, reliable airborne Wi-Fi.

“Wi-Fi will probably be introduced in two years’ time,” Jacobs said. He added that (RYR) may commercialize Wi-Fi by partnering with consumer brands and using advanced passenger segmentation to target that advertising to business travelers, families or holiday makers.

Jacobs said (RYR) has identified around 25 different segments of travelers, based on their travel, digital and ancillary revenue habits. “It’s a really interesting way to engage with customers in a more interesting and targeted way, beyond in-flight magazines,” he said, shifting onboard shopping from perfume and chocolates to, for example, grocery shopping.

July 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) announced a net profit of +€245 million/+$271.4 million for the first quarter of its financial year, up +25% compared to+ €197 million for the year-ago period.

First-quarter revenue rose +10% to €1.65 billion, while passenger numbers climbed +16% to 28 million.

Speaking in London, (RYR) (CFO), Neil Sorahan said load factor for the quarter increased +6 points to 92% LF compared to a year earlier and (RYR) is now targeting a 90% LF for the whole year.

(CEO), Michael O’Leary said (RYR) “continues to be inundated with growth offers from primary and secondary airports, whose incumbent carriers are cutting capacity and traffic.

“These new airports, together with our 72 existing bases, offer significant growth opportunities, as we embark on our new Boeing 737-800 program. This winter, we will take delivery of 31 airplanes which (net of lease returns), means our fleet will increase to 340 737-800s by year end.”

(RYR)’s continuing growth means it will park just 40 airplanes over the quieter winter period compared to 50 last year, Sorahan said.

In September, (RYR) will open its sixth German base, at Berlin, to take advantage of strong opportunity in the Germany market. It currently has a 5% market share, which is expected to grow +15% to +20% by the end of the decade.

Sorahan said (RYR)’s fuel costs are now 90% hedged at approximately $91 per barrel for fiscal year (FY) 2016 and it has taken advantage of recent lower oil prices to hedge 70% of its (FY) 2017 fuel costs at just under <$66 per barrel. This is expected to deliver fuel bill savings of up to -€250 million in (FY) 2017.

In its outlook for the year, (RYR) has raised its (FY) 2016 traffic target from 100 million to 103 million. Unit costs, excluding fuel, are expected to be flat, but fuel costs are anticipated to fall -7%. Taken together, this should give a -3% drop in unit costs.

(RYR) said it is cautious over visibility of its fares in the second half, but now anticipates a net profit for the year will be toward the upper end of its previous guidance of €940 - €970 million, or around +12% higher than last year.

Asked about the possibility of consolidation in the European airline market (notably over the possibility of some form of link-up with rapidly expanding European budget carrier Wizz Air (WZZ)) Sorahan noted Wizz Air (WZZ) had a successful initial public offering (IPO) launch in London earlier this year and had “made a good business model in trying not to compete against us. They move farther east [in Europe] every time I look at them.” There were “no immediate plans” for any links, he said.

Sorahan added that two long-running passenger gripes would be removed in coming years. The loud recorded bugle call played over the on board public address system to announce an on-time arrival will be phased out from this fall, and the garish cabin décor will be toned down with the arrival of new airplanes [Boeing 737-800s] with Boeing "Sky Interior." “It won’t be as yellow as you’re used to,” Sorahan said.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) could face strike action in Denmark after a court ruled that Copenhagen airport staff had the right to refuse to service its flights in a dispute over workers' rights.

(RYR)'s policy of employing people in countries such as Denmark under the less generous terms of Ireland, rather than local rules, has incurred the anger of Danish labor unions. The unions have demanded that (RYR) sign a Danish collective agreement with its locally-based pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA). They went to court to find out if workers at Copenhagen airport (such as baggage handlers and fuel suppliers) could legally refuse to service Ryanair (RYR) flights if (RYR) did not meet that demand.

The court ruled on July 1st that the unions had the right to demand a collective agreement for (RYR) staff and also to stage a strike against the airline.

The unions have now given (RYR) two to three weeks to agree to the collective contracts. Otherwise, workers at the airport could refuse to supply its flights with vital services during the summer holiday season. "We have instructed our lawyers to immediately appeal this ruling, which appears to allow competitor airline unions to blockade (RYR)'s one based airplane at Copenhagen," (RYR) Head of Communications, Robin Kiely said. "We will continue to operate 12 routes to/from Copenhagen but on airplanes based outside of Denmark," Kiely added.

Such a move could head off any strike action, as Copenhagen airport workers may not refuse to service flights whose staff are not based in Denmark.

Later on July 6th, in protest against a Danish Labor Court ruling, Ryanair (RYR) is moving its single Copenhagen-based airplane to Kaunas in Lithuania, although it simultaneously announced plans to add three new routes from Copenhagen.

Last October, (RYR) announced plans to base up to four Boeing 737-800s in Copenhagen, starting with an initial airplane in March 2015 and followed by another three during the year. It planned to use this capacity to add up to +13 new routes.

Denmark’s Flight Personnel Union (FPU) has been seeking representation at (RYR), but it claims that (RYR) has “flatly refused to enter in such negotiations.” On July 1, a Danish court ordered (RYR) to engage with the (FPU) within five days, or face potential industrial action. Seven members of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) have given notice of supporting action, which could include refusal to refuel airplanes or load bags.

“(RYR) will now switch its one based airplane from Copenhagen to Kaunas as a result of this week’s bizarre Labor Court ruling, which allows competitor airline unions to blockade (RYR) based airplanes at Copenhagen, even though these unions do not represent any (RYR) pilots (FC) or cabin crew (CA),” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said. “We have instructed our lawyers to challenge this bizarre ruling with the European Commission (EC) and the European Courts.”

The based airplane will be removed from July 14. However, at the same time, (RYR) announced three new routes from Copenhagen (Bologna, Edinburgh, and Kaunas) which will be served using non-based airplanes. “Since (RYR)’s non-based airplanes cannot be blockaded or interfered with by (SAS) unions, (RYR) will continue to grow its 14 low fare routes at Copenhagen,” (RYR) said.

The daily, Copenhagen - Kaunas link will replace Copenhagen - Warsaw from July 15. Bologna and Edinburgh will launch as 3x-weekly services with effect from November. These new destinations join its 12 existing routes from the airport, increasing its first year traffic forecast from 2 million to 2.5 million passengers.

Later, however, (RYR) on Friday July 10, confirmed it will move its single-based Boeing 737-800 from Copenhagen to Kaunas in Lithuania on July 14 as attempts to defuse the row with its Danish unions failed.

(RYR) announced earlier it would close down the newly opened base in Copenhagen after a Danish labor court insisted it begin negotiations with the country’s Flight Personnel Union over the representation of staff at (RYR).

Other unions had threatened sympathy action against (RYR) from July 18 if (RYR) continued to refuse to negotiate on the representation issue.

Closing down the base, while continuing to serve Copenhagen from points outside the country, means the sympathy action cannot go ahead legally. “This is the latest failure of the Danish unions, who continue to operate an anti-competitive ‘closed shop’ where Danish citizens ((RYR) pilots (FC)) and other European nationals ((RYR) cabin attendants (CA)) see their jobs exported outside Denmark by the actions of Danish unions (who don’t represent them),” said (RYR)’s Director of Personnel, Eddie Wilson.

Wilson said the unions had previously destroyed Danish airlines Sterling (STR) and Maersk (MRS) through their inflexibility and inability to adapt to the conditions of modern air travel “where customers want low fares and efficiency, not high costs, unionized inflexibility and inefficiencies.

“This is a black day for the Danish economy,” he said. “Here you have Danish unions who admit they don’t have any members in (RYR), destroying highly paid jobs for Danish pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) here in Copenhagen with the sole effect that those jobs now get exported overseas, yet the flights to/from Copenhagen, the low fares and the competition with (SAS) will continue.”

(RYR) has said pay and conditions for its pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) is better than the Danish Collective Agreement.

(RYR) would continue to grow at Copenhagen airport, Wilson said, but all of those flights would now take place on airplanes based outside Denmark. “We will continue to work with our partners in Copenhagen airport and Danish tourism, as we invest in and grow traffic in Denmark, and we hope in time the Danish unions will find a way to support high-paid job creation here in Copenhagen instead of wasting time and money exporting Danish jobs overseas.”

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) will base a single airplane in Gothenburg from September, which it will use to launch additional frequencies to London Stansted.

Gothenburg will become (RYR)’s 74th base, offering a network of 13 routes that are expected to generate around 600,000 passengers annually.

(RYR) did not announce any new routes with the base opening, but it will increase its existing Gothenburg - London Stansted service from 2x- to 3x-daily with effect from September 15. “Sweden is a significant growth market for (RYR) and as we announce our second Swedish base at Gothenburg, we will continue to connect Sweden with Europe’s major centers of business, such as London, Milan, and Paris,” (RYR) Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said.

Last fall, Jacobs predicted competition would intensify between (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG), as part of an impending “bloodbath” in Europe over the next five years, which will be driven by overcapacity.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) is launching its first Israel links, serving Eilat Ovda Airport from three European cities, Budapest in Hungary, Kaunas in Lithuania, and Krakow in Poland.

(RYR) has been open about its ambitions to serve Israel, which it previously said holds “phenomenal potential” in terms of religious, business and leisure traffic.

It had been considering a Cypriot air operator’s certificate to serve Middle Eastern destinations (like Israel, Tel Aviv, and Beirut) but this plan is now on ice. Israel flights would not be possible from (RYR)’s Irish bases because of airplane range issues.

Ryanair (RYR) estimated the three routes, which will all launch with 2x-weekly frequencies from early November, will handle around 40,000 per year. “We are continuing to negotiate with the Israeli authorities and we look forward to growing our Israeli route network in the future,” (RYR) (CCO), David O’Brien said.

On July 8th, Ryanair (RYR) will celebrate 30 years since its first flight between Waterford and Gatwick, which took place on July 8, 1985. It has since grown to carry 100 million passengers across a network of 1,600 routes and 74 bases, served by a fleet of more than >315 Boeing 737s, with another +380 on order.

With this latest announcement, Israel will become the 31st country served by (RYR).

News Item A-5: Ryanair (RYR) has been offered a batch of slots at Amsterdam Schiphol as (RYR) continues its move away from using only secondary airports.

Caroline Ditvoorst, Managing Director of Stichting Airport Coordination Netherlands (SACN), which handles slot allocation at the country’s airports, confirmed (RYR) had applied for slots at the Dutch capital’s airport and had been offered nine daily pairs.

The slots are valid from the start of the winter season. (RYR) now has until August 31 to confirm whether it will take them up or return them to (SACN).

(RYR) previously applied for slots at Schiphol for the summer 2014 season, but did not take up its allotted batch, apparently due to a shortage of available airplanes.

(RYR) has said in the past that it would be interested in operating from the Dutch hub.

Traditionally, (RYR) has operated into small airports well away from major cities, to save on airport costs. For example, it has served Paris from the small airports at Beauvais and Vatry, well outside the city. However, in recent months it has followed the example of other low cost carriers (LCC)s such as easyJet (EZY) and increasingly aimed at primary airports.

News Item A-6: "Ryanair (RYR)'s O'Leary May Offer Greece Free Flights Amid "Tragedy," By Kari Lundgren, "Bloomberg News" July 9, 2015.

Ryanair Holdings, Europe's biggest discount air carrier, called on Greek authorities to back its plan for free flights on some domestic routes for two weeks as the country struggles to stave off economic collapse.

(RYR) plans to waive charges for Greeks on routes connecting Athens to Chania, Rhodes, and Thessaloniki, starting from July 13. The offer is dependent on aviation authorities and Athens airport also agreeing to scrap fees, (RYR) said on July 9.

"(RYR) is now requesting our partners to join our commitment by easing the pressure on the Greek people in making this beneficial gesture," (RYR) said.

(CEO), Michael O'Leary, once notoriously dismissive of customers' desires for anything other than cheap and punctual flights, has softened the airline's image over the past year. O'Leary described the Greek crisis "as a tragedy."

(RYR) said that Greeks will be able to buy tickets for its flights using cash, as bank-cards are increasingly declined amid the government's capital controls. (RYR) relies predominantly on cashless transactions because the vast majority of its customers buy their tickets online.

(RYR) bases four airplanes in Athens, serving 12 destinations including London, Milan, and Brussels, with the operation forecast to attract 2.2 million customers this year, according to its website. (RYR) also has smaller bases in Thessaloniki and Crete, and serves eight other locations.

News Item A-7: "Ryanair (RYR) to Sell Aer Lingus (ARL) Stake to Rival the (IAG) Group" By Shawn Pogatchnik, "AP" July 10, 2015.

(RYR) has agreed to sell its shares in Irish rival Aer Lingus (ARL) to the (IAG), putting the British Airways (BAB) parent solidly on course to acquire (ARL), the former Irish national airline.

(RYR) (CEO) Michael O'Leary said July 10 that (RYR)'s board has voted unanimously to sell its nearly 30% stake in (ARL), formally ending (RYR)'s own nine-year effort to seize (ARL). British and European competition authorities had repeatedly blocked (RYR)'s effort and ordered (RYR) to divest itself, but O'Leary still was fighting those rulings in various courts.

O'Leary called the (IAG) offer "a reasonable one in the current market" that would allow (RYR), Europe's fastest-growing airline, to record "a small profit."

The International Airlines Group (IAG) unveiled its EUR1.3 billion/US$1.45 billion takeover bid for (ARL) in January. The bid now has won acceptance from all three key investors: top shareholder (RYR); (ARL)'s own board; and the Irish government, which retained a 25% stake, when it privatized (ARL) in 2006.

The (IAG), which also owns Spain's Iberia (IBE) airline, had made its takeover bid conditional on acceptance by (RYR). It offered no immediate reaction to (RYR)'s decision.

Grass-roots shareholders are expected to back the offer at a Dublin extraordinary general meeting July 9. The deal still requires approval by European Union (EU) competition regulators.

The (IAG) already has agreed to a package of concessions to Irish interests to win support from the government. These include giving the government an indefinite right to veto the sale of (ARL)'s strategic landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) and a guarantee that those slots will be used to operate Irish routes for at least the next seven years.

(ARL) owns the fourth-most slots at (LHR), Europe's busiest hub. Industry analysts have estimated their value alone at EUR450 million/US$500 million.

The (IAG) also has pledged to increase trans-Atlantic traffic operating from Ireland, boosting tourism and business opportunities for the island nation, which is heavily dependent on air links.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh, a Dubliner, previously held the same position at (ARL).

Shares in (RYR) and the (IAG) rose more than >2% July 10, while (ARL) rose more moderately to (IAG)'s bid price of EUR2.50/US$2.80 per share.

Later, The European Commission (EC) approved the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) acquisition of Aer Lingus (ARL), subject to the carriers surrendering five slot pairs at London Gatwick Airport.

Detailing its conclusions, the (EC) said it required “significant concessions” on routes from London to Dublin and Belfast for the tie-up to go ahead. “The (EC) had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes,” the (EC) said, identifying Dublin - London, Belfast - London and Dublin - Chicago as the main competition pinch points for the deal.

To appease the regulator, the (IAG) offered to give up five daily Gatwick slot pairs to its rivals. Two of these five daily slots must be used to serve Dublin, while a third is reserved for Belfast flights. The remaining two pairs can be used for either Dublin or Belfast.

The (EC) also insisted that (ARL) must continue to accept rival airlines’ connecting passengers at Amsterdam, Dublin, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, and Shannon.

“These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the (EC). The (EC) therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it,” the (EC) concluded.

The (IAG) issued a brief statement, confirming the remedies and welcoming the ruling. This marks another major milestone for the takeover, following (RYR)’s recent confirmation that it is willing to sell its (ARL) shares to the (IAG).

(RYR) will bid for five slot pairs being surrendered by the International Airlines Group (IAG) at London Gatwick Airport as part of the conditions for its takeover of Aer Lingus (ARL).

August 2015: News Item A-1: "The (IAG) Seals Deal for Aer Lingus (ARL)" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 18, 2015.

British Airways (BAB) owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG) has confirmed its deal to acquire Aer Lingus (ARL) after Ryanair (RYR) formally agreed to sell its 30% share in Aer Lingus (ARL).

(RYR) agreed in July to sell its 29.8% (ARL) stake to the (IAG), but said it would not issue a formal acceptance of the offer until mid-August, forcing the (IAG) twice to extend the share offer deadline. (RYR)’s acceptance was a condition of the (IAG)’s bid for (ARL), and the offer is now wholly unconditional as all the conditions have been satisfied.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said: “We’d like to welcome Aer Lingus (ARL) into the (IAG). It will remain an iconic Irish brand with its base and management team in Ireland, but will now grow as part of a strong, profitable airline group. This means new routes and more jobs benefitting customers, employees and the Irish economy and tourism."

By 13.00 on August 18, the (IAG) had received valid acceptances of the offer for 95.77% of the existing issued share capital of (ARL). The offer will remain open until September 1 for any (ARL) shareholders who have not yet accepted.

(ARL) will apply for cancellation of its share listings and trading of (ARL) shares on the Irish Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, expected to become effective on September 17. Any outstanding shares will then be acquired compulsorily and (ARL) re-registered as a private company.

News Item A-2: "(EC) refers France to Court of Justice for Violation of State Aid Rules" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 3, 2015.

The European Commission (EC) has referred France to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover incompatible aid, received by Ryanair (RYR) and its subsidiary Airport Marketing Services (AMS) for using Pau, Nîmes and Angoulême airports, and Transavia (TAV) for using Pau airport.

In July last year, the (EC) gave France four months to recover close to €10 million/$11 million worth of incompatible state aid from (RYR) and (TAV) because, through various contractual and marketing arrangements with the airports, the airlines paid less than the additional costs linked to their presence at the airport. The (EC) found the airlines had therefore benefitted from an undue economic advantage, which had to be recovered to remedy the resulting distortion of competition.

Although the French authorities sent out the required recovery orders, they had been unable to execute them under national law, because they are under appeal by the beneficiaries. Under a provision of French law, recovery orders are automatically suspended in case of appeal. However, this goes against established European case law which prevents national courts from applying such provisions when deciding on appeals against recovery orders.

(RYR) has appealed the (EC)'s decisions relating to Pau and Angoulême before the (EU) General Court. These appeals also do not have a suspensory effect under (EU) law, meaning that France continues to be under an obligation to recover the incompatible aid.

The (EC) said that, to ensure its state aid decisions were fully implemented, it had therefore decided to refer France to the European Court of Justice for violation of (EU) state aid rules.

News Item A-3: "Ryanair (RYR) in Interline Talks with Euro Longhaul Carriers" August 13, 2015.

Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said (RYR) has set the ball in motion insofar as plans to develop interline operations for Europe's intercontinental carriers are concerned.

Speaking to "Reuters," O'Leary confirmed (RYR) has held talks with a number of carriers to feed (RYR) shorthaul traffic into their longhaul networks. Among the carriers approached include Aer Lingus (ARL) concerning feed into its Dublin International hub, (TAP) Portugal and its Lisbon hub, plus Norwegian (NWG) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) concerning their London Gatwick base operations.

"The advantage for them is they would get much cheaper short-haul feed than they would from anybody else, but what they have to get themselves mentally over is that they would have to take responsibility for missed connections," he said.

Talks have also been held with the International Airlines Group (IAG) over the Group's possible start of longhaul operations out of London Stansted, a major (RYR) base.

"Reuters" said that under the proposed system, customers would buy their tickets from the long-haul carrier, who would then be responsible for check-in, luggage throughput, and would handle any missed connection. It is the cost of compensating passengers for missed connections that has forced (RYR) to avoid longhaul tie-ups in the past.

O'Leary has prophesied that low cost carriers (LCC)s such as (RYR), easyJet (EZY), and Wizz Air (WZZ) will eventually force Europe's legacy carriers such as Air France (AFA) - (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa (DLH) and Company to withdraw from the intra-European market and focus on intercontinental operations instead.

"We could be doing contract flying for high-fare carriers and feeding high-fare carrier hubs, but I would see that operating on the basis that the high-fare, long-haul carrier would simply want access to our low-cost seats," he said. "(EZY) in London Gatwick could be feeding British Airways (BAB), (RYR) could be feeding (DLH) or Air France (AFA). It's not something that I'd see them looking at in the short-term, but I think it's an inevitability over the medium term."

News Item A-4: (RYR) currently operates 325 airplanes to 30 countries, to 186 destinations, on 1,337 routes and 1,897 daily flights.

September 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has upgraded its full-year guidance by as much as +25% (into the €1.175 - 1.225 billion range) due to low fuel prices, the strength of sterling against the euro, and poor summer weather in northern Europe.

(RYR) had previously expected annual profits in the +€940 to +€970 million ($1.04 - $1.08 billion) bracket. “The strength of July and August numbers is continuing into September and the scale of the upgrade (+40% up on prior year) requires this update to be brought forward,” (RYR) said.

According to (RYR), the main drivers for this improved guidance are:

* (H1) traffic growth of +13% (previously guided +10%);
* (H1) fares up over +>2% (previously guided flat);
* (Q3) traffic growth of +15% expected (previously guided +13%);
* (Q3) fares now expected to be flat (previously guided -4% to -8%);
* (FY) 2016 traffic increased to 104 million (previously 103 million); and
* Lower than expected prices for unhedged fuel in (FY) 2016 (10% of volume).

(CEO), Michael O’Leary said (RYR) has “been surprised by the strength of close-in bookings and fares this summer, during which we delivered record 95% LF in both July and August, while fares grew by over >+2%, when we had expected them to be flat.”

He cautioned that “not all of this improvement is due to either our model or our management. As a ‘load factor active/yield passive’ airline we have clearly benefited from favorable industry trends this summer, including bad weather in Northern Europe, stronger sterling encouraging more UK families to holiday in the Med, reasonably flat capacity across the (EU) industry and lower prices for our unhedged oil.”

(RYR) said it does not expect these favorable conditions will persist, and urged shareholders and analysts “to avoid irrational exuberance, while we continue to execute our very ambitious growth plans during what we expect to be very attritional and sustained fare wars across Europe this winter.”

(RYR) also warned that its full-year result “remains heavily dependent on close-in bookings in (Q3) (currently 30% sold) and (Q4) (currently zero visibility).

“(RYR) continues to expect downward pressure on fares and yields this winter as it grows strongly in major (EU) markets such as Germany, at a time when competitors will begin to benefit from lower oil prices as historic hedges unwind,” (RYR) said.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) will pass the proceeds of the sale of its stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) to shareholders.

Ryanair (RYR) sold its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) to the International Airlines Group (IAG) earlier this year as the UK-Spanish conglomerate acquired the Irish national airline. (RYR) received €398 million/$445 million for its holding.

(RYR)’s annual meeting in Dublin on September 24 heard the funds would be passed to shareholders via a new “B” share scheme before the end of the year. Speaking after the meeting, (CFO), Neil Sorahan said shareholders would receive approximately 29.4 euro cents per share. The company would then carry out a 39 for 40 consolidations of shares to keep the share price stable.

Sorahan said the company decided to use the “B” share scheme, rather than a more traditional share buyback or dividend, to underline the fact this is an exceptional event.

“We will have given back €1.3 billion to shareholders since January . . . profits are starting to rise and if an expectation gets out there that (RYR) is good for €1.3 billion a year in dividends, that is the wrong message to send,” he said.

The share scheme is subject to approval at an extraordinary general meeting.

Shareholders at the (AGM) also heard that its full-year traffic forecast had inched upward from 103 to 104 million. It was also confirmed its profit guidance is rising +25%, from €970 million to €1.2 billion.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) is expected to announce this month that it will open a new base at Milan Malpensa, one of Italy’s busiest hubs. The move will take it into the heartland of Alitalia (ALI)’s short-haul services and also pitch it into a head-to-head contest with UK-based easyJet (EZY), whose largest overseas base is at the northern Italian airport.

It will become base number 73 (with four routes) and first service to Amsterdam (from Dublin).

(RYR) currently operates into Milan Orio al Serio, which is located in the small city of Bergamo, some 60 km to the northeast and used almost exclusively by (LCC)s.

A (RYR) spokesman said September 1 that there “could be” an announcement regarding Milan Malpensa very shortly, but could offer no further information, following reports in the Italian press. However, he added: “It would make sense, because we’re looking to grow our primary airports.” (RYR) attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish itself at Malpensa in 2008.

Italian press reports have suggested that possible initial destinations from Malpensa will include London Stansted, Madrid Barajas, and Naples.

In the past two years, (RYR) has started to move away from its longstanding policy of operating into small (and sometimes remote) regional airports to save money, toward a more conventional stance of moving into hubs.

It has already become Italy’s largest operator by market share, and (LCC)s such as easyJet (EZY) and Vueling (VUZ) have been a significant factor in Alitalia (ALI)’s faltering performance in recent years. Since Etihad (EHD) took a major stake in (ALI), the Italian flag carrier last year, (EHD) has scaled back (ALI)’s short-haul services and placed new emphasis on long-haul routes.

Very soon after the above, Ryanair (RYR) did confirm it is establishing a new base at Milan Malpensa.

It will initially base a single Boeing 737-800 there, with services starting from December 1. Initial destinations from Malpensa will be Bucharest (4x-weekly), Comiso (daily), London Stansted (2x-daily), and Seville (3x-weekly), totaling 28 flights weekly. It estimates it will move 450,000 passengers annually through the Italian city’s major gateway.

Malpensa will be (RYR)’s 15th base in Italy, where it is already the country’s largest operator in terms of market share. A (RYR) spokeswoman said it would continue to increase flights out of Milan Orio al Serio in Bergamo after the opening of the Malpensa base, operating a dual-city policy at Milan in the same way as at Brussels (Zaventem and Charleroi), Glasgow (Glasgow International and Prestwick) and Rome (Fiumicino and Ciampino).

Meanwhile, (RYR) also announced its London summer 2016 schedule, incorporating three new routes from London Stansted (Milan Malpensa, Verona and Sofia), plus a new destination (Vilnius) from London Luton.

(RYR) Director Marketing & Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Kenny Jacobs said the airline will further expand its "Always Getting Better" passenger experience campaign. In October, (RYR) will introduce a new personalized website with new features, including one allowing passengers to hold a fare for a limited period before confirming it, together with new in-flight menus and (from January 2016) new cabin interiors.

In November, (RYR) will introduce defibrillators on all its airplanes to help deal with medical emergencies.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) launched four new routes on September 2 and 3, of which three connect with Copenhagen (CPH). (RYR) will connect the Danish capital with Cologne Bonn (CGN), Madrid (MAD) and Rome Ciampino (CIA). (RYR) will also connect the German airport of Cologne Bonn with Berlin Schönefeld (SXF). The domestic link will operate 30x-weekly. The only route that (RYR) will see direct competition on is the connection between the capital cities of Copenhagen and Madrid, a 2,057 km sector already served by Iberia (IBE) (daily) and Norwegian (NWG) (daily). All of the new routes will be served with at least a daily rotation.

Routes as follows:
Cologne-Bonn (CGN) to Copenhagen (CPH), 737-800, 7x;
(APH) to Madrid (MAD), 737-800, 7x, vs Iberia (IBE) 7x, Norwegian 7x, to Rome Ciampino (CIA), 737-800, 7x;
Berlin Schonefeld (SXF) to (CGN), 737-800, 30x.

News Item A-5: "Ryanair Denies (CAA) Claims of Passenger Rights Breach" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, September 18, 2015.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it would be taking legal steps to ensure Ryanair (RYR) changes its policy on paying flight delay compensation. (RYR) has responded to the (CAA), saying that threatened enforcement action for breach of consumer law is “unnecessary.”

The (CAA), which has been reviewing claims about breaches in passenger rights legislation, said the steps are necessary to ensure “UK passengers are protected with essential consumer rights.”

Following successful action against Jet2 (JT2), Aer Lingus (ARL) and Wizz Air (WZZ) earlier this year, the (CAA) has said that a comprehensive six-month review of airlines’ policies in relation to the support they offer to passengers following flight disruption found that (RYR) was not complying fully with European consumer law.

It said that (RYR) was now required to make policy changes or face further enforcement steps leading to court action, if it remained non-compliant.

The (CAA) review covered the largest 15 airlines operating in the UK, which handle 80% of all UK passenger traffic.

In its initial response, the (CAA) said (RYR) set out how it was dealing with flight delay compensation claims, where delays were caused by a routine technical fault and confirmed that it was adhering to a six-year time limit for compensation claims, in compliance with rulings handed down by the UK Court of Appeal. However, the (CAA) maintains that, following a further review, it was not satisfied that (RYR) was handling routine technical fault delay claims “in line with applicable consumer law,” and found that (RYR) was attempting to impose a contractual two-year time limit, from the date of the flight, for passengers to issue compensation claims at court.

(RYR), however, has written to the (CAA), stressing it is complying with both Court of Appeal rulings and said it was “unsure why the (CAA) has threatened enforcement action.”

(RYR) Director of Customer Service, Fiona Kearns said: “(RYR) has requested an early meeting with the (CAA) to clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen in dealing with some historic cases.”

In its letter to the regulator, (RYR) said: “We are surprised by the contents of your letter since (RYR) is not at issue with the (CAA) on these points. It is our current policy to settle technical delay claims, and also to accept claims made within six years of the date of the delay and this will continue to be our policy. We apologize sincerely if there has been any miscommunication of this policy with your office.”

(RYR) said it would welcome an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings.

The (CAA) is now completing its second compliance report which is reviewing a further 16 airlines’ policies and which is due to be published by the end of the year. The reviews are part of a new enforcement approach that places the onus of compliance on airlines, with the (CAA) targeting enforcement resources specifically at problem areas. Although the (CAA) does not have the power to force airlines to pay individual passengers’ claims, it can take action in the collective interest of consumers for breaches of consumer law.

News Item A-6: Ryanair Holdings appointed Howard Millar and Captain John Leahy to the board of directors, effective immediately.

October 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has announced plans to open a Corfu base, where it will station a single airplane from April 2016.

(RYR) will add 11 new routes from Corfu, nearly doubling its network from the Greek airport to 21 destinations in total. The base opening is expected to increase (RYR)’s Corfu traffic to around 300,000 passengers per year.

The new routes comprise Birmingham (2x-weekly), Bratislava (weekly), Budapest (weekly), Cologne (2x-weekly), Rome Fiumicino (2x-weekly), Katowice (weekly), Poznan (weekly), Pisa (2x-weekly), Rzeszow (weekly), Venice Treviso (2x-weekly) and Warsaw Modlin (weekly).

(RYR) will also increase both Brussels Charleroi and East Midlands from 1x- to 2x-weekly, as well as upgrading London Stansted and Milan Bergamo from 4x- to 5x-weekly.

“Greece is a significant growth market for (RYR), and we will continue to connect our Greek airports with Europe’s major cities such as Brussels London and Milan,” (RYR) (CCO), David O’Brien said.

Corfu will become (RYR)’s fourth base in Greece and its 75th base overall.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) has opened a base at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport where it will operate five 189-seat Boeing 737-800s on 17 new routes during the winter season.

(RYR) Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Kenny Jacobs said (RYR) expects up to 3.5 million passengers on the routes from Schoenefeld. He added that these five airplanes will secure 2,600 jobs in the region. The network will be expanded from summer 2016 onward to 27 destinations by adding Malta, Pisa, and Zadar to the Berlin-Schoenefeld network.

According to several media reports, (RYR) sees Germany as one of its most important growth markets in the next five years and plans to base up to 12 airplanes in the country.

(ryr) had announced earlier that Corfu would become its fourth base in Greece and its 75th base overall.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) made the following senior appointments to its management team: John Tuite as Head of Finance; Eamonn Hackett as Group Treasurer; Greg O’Gorman as Director of Ancillary Revenue; and Fiona Kearns as Director of Customer Service.

November 2015: News Item A-1: "Ryanair (1H) Net Profit Up +37%" by (ATW) Alan Dron, November 2, 2015.

Ryanair (RYR) reported a +37% jump in half-year net profit to +€1.09 billion/+$1.2 billion compared to the same period last year. First-half revenue was up +14% to €4.04 billion.

The net profit figure excluded an exceptional accounting gain of +€317.5 million on the sale of its shareholding in Aer Lingus (ARL) to the International Airlines Group (IAG).

Announcing the earnings in London, (CFO), Neil Sorahan said (RYR)’s predicted passenger traffic for the current year would nudge up from the previously indicated 104 million to 105 million, while predicted full-year profits would now be at “the upper end” of the previously indicated €1.175 to €1.225 billion range. “We’ve had a very strong first half, driven by strong load factors (up +4% to 93% [compared to the same period last year]) with passengers up +13% at 58 million.”

The second half of the financial year was also predicted to be strong, he added, although (RYR) was anticipating lower yields. (RYR) was picking up more traffic as competitors continued to cut capacity on European short-haul routes where (RYR) started to fly.

For the current financial year, unit costs were predicted to be down -5% over the previous 12 months, with costs ex-fuel down -1%.

He said (RYR)’s fuel hedging would save an estimated -€430 million in the next financial year (FY 2017). That saving, added (CEO), Michael O’Leary, would give (RYR) the ability to cut fares by -10% without damaging profit margins.

He said (RYR)’s “bumper summer” had been due to a combination of favorable circumstances aligning: the falling cost of fuel; “reasonably flat” capacity across Europe; bad weather across much of the northern half of the continent at the peak summer period that had encouraged people to travel; and terrorist incidents in Tunisia and Egypt that had encouraged passengers to revert to more traditional Southern European holiday destinations.

* ‘Always Getting Better’

He said that the second year of (RYR)’s “Always Getting Better” campaign continued to bring benefits.

One of those was that the company had been able to spend less on sales and marketing activities because the shock of (RYR) abandoning its previously spiky attitude to customer service and complaints, had generated huge quantities of free publicity.

Questioned on growth prospects, O’Leary said that any long-haul ambitions were off the table for at least the next four to five years, because of the unavailability of suitable airplanes (notably mid-size types such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350).

* Organic growth

Neither did (RYR) intend to take over any rivals, if only because (RYR) was now so large that any mergers and acquisitions would almost certainly fall foul of European monopoly regulations: “So, organic growth is the way ahead for us.”

That growth would be accommodated partly by retiring fewer airplanes from the fleet. More would have their tenures extended as leases came up for renewal.

Growth would also come from making the company’s mobile app much easier to use. The aim, he said, was to get the booking process down as low as 10 seconds, using a formula similar to Amazon’s “One Click” system.

He had no further news on the previously announced plans to partner with carriers such as Aer Lingus (ARL), (TAP) or Virgin Atlantic (vus) to deliver short-haul feeder passengers to the latters’ long-haul hubs. Negotiations were continuing, he said.

“We’re saying to long-haul carriers that they can have our short-haul feed because we can do that at lower cost than they can. The quid pro quo is that they look after the passengers: if something goes wrong with the connection or the bags, they look after it. It will be on our terms, or not at all.”

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) has struck a new five-year pay deal, spanning pilots (FC) across its network of 76 bases, and is now working to secure a cabin crew (CA) deal.

The pilots (FC)’s agreement includes annual pay and allowance increases over the next four years, along with improved rostering, promotion opportunities and better sickness benefits. “Having this year completed five year pay deals for all of our 76 pilot (FC) bases, we are now rolling this process out to our cabin crew (CA) bases, starting with the two largest at Dublin and Stansted, where we have now negotiated improved pay and better roster deal for our cabin crew (CA). We will now roll this process out to the 74 other cabin crew (CA) bases across Europe.”

The cabin crew (CA) agreements at Dublin and Stansted, which also include pay increases and rapid promotion opportunities, were backed by 90% of staff in a secret ballot. “Our customers have never been disrupted by a strike by (RYR) people. This is a record unmatched by any other European airline, and we trust that with these new improved 5 year pay deals, we can maintain that successful record until at least 2020,” (RYR) Chief People Officer, Eddie Wilson said.

The deals were announced following (RYR)’s annual European Works Council (EWC) meeting in Dublin.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) is to add three new cities in March from Budapest to Copenhagen, Malaga, and Malta.

News Item A-4: Boeing (TBC) delivered Ryanair (RYR)’s 375th direct delivery of a 737-800NG airplane. (RYR) is Boeing (TBC)’s largest 737-800NG customer, with more than >530 of the type on order.

3 737-8AS (44708, EI-FOA; 44709, EI-FIZ; 44710, EI-FOB), deliveries.

December 2015: News Item A-1: Ryanair plans to substantially increase its presence in Romania, with the creation of up to five bases in the Eastern European nation over the next few years, according to (CEO), Michael O’Leary.

The move is a clear challenge to Hungary-based Wizz Air (WZZ), which is the major (LCC) in Central and Eastern Europe. Currently, (RYR) flies only to a single Romanian destination, Bucharest, transporting some 200,000 passengers to and from the Romanian capital in 2014.

Speaking to Romanian journalists visiting (RYR)’s Dublin HQ, O’Leary contrasted (RYR)’s operations in their country with those in Poland, where it operates to 12 destinations and has four bases. He anticipated creating a similarly sized network in Romania over the next five years.

As well as Wizz Air (WZZ), (RYR) will face competition from Romanian (LCC) Blue Air (BLD) and national carrier, Tarom (TRM).

With the exception of Poland, (RYR)’s footprint in Eastern Europe is relatively small, with (RYR) flying into just one or two destinations in most countries in the region.

Initial traces of expansion can be seen, however. Having begun services to Bucharest in 2014, it serves the city from four European points, with another three due to come on-line in coming months.

More evidence of (RYR) looking further east for new traffic can be seen in its 2015 decision by both to open new services to Israel.

Ryanair (RYR) this month started operations at its newest base, Milan Malpensa (MXP). The average sector length of its first four routes is 1,222 km (with the longest route being the 1,514 km sector to Seville (SVQ), while the shortest was the 932 km link to London Stansted (STN). The average weekly frequency of the new routes was 7x-, still far higher than the ultra low cost carrier (ULCC)’s average, but with its continued focus on business routes, this metric is creeping up slowly.

Routes introduced as follows:
Milan Malpensa (MXP) to Bucharest (OTP), 737-800 4x-weekly, vs Wizz Air (WZZ) 4x; to Comiso (CIY), 737-800 7x; to London Stansted (STN) 737-800 14x; to Seville (SVQ), 737-800 3x.

(RYR) is to begin 2x-weekly, Budapest - Malaga and – Malta services in March 2016.

News Item A-2: "O’Leary is Still O’Leary" by (ATW) Victoria Moores in Need I Say Moores Blog, December 2, 2015.

Since RyanAir (RYR) launched its Always Getting Better initiative, Michael O’Leary has been biting his tongue but occasionally his colorful spirit still creeps through. O’Leary was in London on December 1 to announce legal action against online travel agent eDreams and Google. When asked whether (RYR) was guilty of similar misleading antics in the past, O’Leary responded with a flat no, but he was quick to acknowledge his own flaws.

“I’ve been doing ‘mea maxima culpa’ all year long,” he said, referring to the Latin phrase that acknowledges personal blame. In the past, O’Leary’s headline-grabbing comments and (RYR)’s strict adherence to its policies created a lot of negative feeling towards (RYR), prompting the launch of the "Always Getting Better" program nearly two years ago.

The man tasked with selling the new (RYR), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Kenny Jacobs, sat up at the front of the press conference with O’Leary. Credit to him, Jacobs barely even winced as O’Leary reverted to form, making colorful comments about French air traffic control (ATC) working practices, particularly on Saturdays.

O’Leary also admitted to being “mystified” by the popularity of (RYR)’s charity scratch cards and argued the point with one of the journalists over how the proceeds should be split.

(RYR) claims eDreams has triggered 2,000 complaints to (RYR) over the last two months. When asked whether O’Leary was concerned about reputational damage from eDreams, he replied: “My reputation is difficult to damage,” hinting that he’s already done most of the work on that one himself.

In a comment, eDreams said it disagreed strongly with the (RYR) allegations.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR)’s fleet is set to swell from 320 Boeing 737s this year to around 360 in 2016, as (RYR) begins its airplane-delivery ramp up.

“This is the first year of significant airplane deliveries, running at 40 - 50 per year,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary told journalists at a London press briefing on December 1. The airplanes will be used to open 84 new routes this winter.

(RYR) has also been approached by the Israeli authorities, encouraging the budget carrier to increase its links to the country. “We are in discussions with a number of Israeli airports. The authorities are keen to get us to expand, but this is not high up on our list of priorities,” said O’Leary, noting that (RYR) is instead focusing on its expansion in Germany, Poland, Central Europe, Italy, and Spain.

When asked whether the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and heightened state of alert in Brussels had dampened bookings, O’Leary said bookings had softened and no-shows had increased in the days immediately after these events, but bookings were still +3% to +4% up year-on-year. “We have seen a small softening, but nothing material,” he said.

On a more speculative note, O’Leary was quizzed on where he would set up another short-haul budget carrier, given the opportunity. “I wouldn’t,” he replied. He explained that the model required a liberalized market, which can only be found in Europe and North America, where there are already mature low-cost carrier (LCC) operations. He added that he has his hands full with (RYR)’s own expansion.

(RYR) will launch the third year of its "Always Getting Better" program in March 2016. O’Leary said this will continue to run each year, as long as it keeps delivering results.

January 2016: News Item A-1: "Ryanair (RYR) Carried More Than >100 million Passengers in 2015" by (ATW) Kurt Hofman, January 8, 2016.

Ryanair (RYR) said it transported 101.4 million passengers in 2015, becoming “the first airline to reach this international traffic landmark.” (RYR) also announced it will open its 77th base at Belfast International Airport in March, with one based airplane and a 28x-weekly service to London Gatwick. (RYR) said the base will grow to three airplanes and +5 more new routes from October 2016, which will deliver more than >1 million new passengers per year, and support 750 on-site jobs at Belfast International Airport.

According to (RYR), the Gatwick slots, which were given up by Aer Lingus (ARL) as part of the (IAG) takeover, are being safeguarded and used for the new route to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) has been awarded five slot pairs at London Gatwick Airport that were surrendered by the International Airlines Group (IAG) as part of its takeover of Aer Lingus (ARL).

(RYR) has also acquired one additional slot pair as part of the normal slot allocation process at Gatwick. The five slot pairs were previously used by (ARL) on its UK - Ireland routes; London - Dublin is Europe’s busiest sector.

Stipulations attached to the former (ARL) slots stated that two of the five frequencies had to be used for Dublin - Gatwick flights and one for Belfast - Gatwick. The other two could be allocated to either of the Irish cities.

(RYR) has chosen to use two for its Dublin services, taking the number of daily, Dublin - Gatwick frequencies to seven, while it is opening a new route between Gatwick and Belfast International Airport using the three other former (ARL) slots plus the additional one acquired elsewhere.

The new frequencies will operate from the start of the northern hemisphere summer season on March 27.

Elsewhere in Europe, (RYR) is understood to be about to launch services from Oslo’s main airport, Gardermoen. Reports in the Norwegian media stated (RYR) would launch four services, a 3x-daily frequency to London Stansted and one to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

“We never comment on rumor or speculation of this sort,” a (RYR) spokesman said. It is understood, however, that the flights will go ahead. They will be the first services to be operated by (RYR) from Gardermoen and mark another stage in (RYR)’s move into primary airports, having for many years focused on secondary or tertiary airports to cut costs. Currently, (RYR) operates from two smaller airports around Oslo, Rygge, and Torp.

News Item A-3: "Ryanair (RYR) Balks at Proposed Norwegian Tax" by (ATW) Alan Dron, January 4, 2016.

Ryanair (RYR) is seeking to have the Norwegian government roll back plans for an environmental tax for flights originating in Norway, saying such a move would harm jobs and growth in the Nordic nation.

The proposed tax of NOK80/$8.95 per passenger is due to become effective April 1.

(RYR) has consistently taken a hard line stance against passenger taxes across Europe, saying they not only harm air transport, but cause job losses in the aviation and tourism industries of countries that impose them. (RYR) points to several European nations (Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium) that have scrapped such taxes and which it says have seen traffic grow rapidly as a result.

(RYR) said: “This backward step by the Norwegian government will erase the hard-earned competitive cost advantage of smaller private airports, [which] compete with the state-owned monopoly Avinor, thereby putting Norwegian jobs and tourism growth at risk.”

One such airport is Rygge, near Oslo, which depends on (RYR) for a large percentage of its annual passengers. There have been media reports saying the airport may close if (RYR) pulls out of Rygge if the tax goes ahead.

“Compelling evidence from countries across Europe confirms that the abolition of travel taxes will lead to significant tourism and jobs growth,” (RYR) (CCO), David O’Brien said, adding for a call on the Norwegian government to reverse the plan.

Noting that consultations on the proposed tax are scheduled for later this month, (RYR) said it will decide on the future of its Norwegian operations following the outcome of those deliberations.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary has confirmed his interest in providing long-haul services for European legacy carriers.

News Item A-5: Amadeus now offers Ryanair (RYR)’s business (C) plus fare to travel agents. Travel agents can now book flights that automatically include all the services above, without any additional surcharge.

February 2016: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) doubled net profits to +€103 million/+$112 million for the (3Q) 2015 period from a net profit of +€49 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose +17 to €1.33 billion.

Strong passenger figures for the quarter led it to again raise its full-year predictions, with an anticipated 106 million compared to the previous guidance of 105 million. This would be a +17% rise on last year’s figure of 90.6 million. It estimates it will carry 113 million passengers in (FY) 2016.

Load factor for the most recent quarter rose to 93% LF, up from 88% LF for the equivalent period last year.

The four new bases that opened in the third quarter (Berlin, Corfu, Milan Malpensa, and Gothenburg) had strong advance bookings and were performing well, (RYR) said. Two further new bases, Belfast and Ibiza, will open in March.

Ryanair (RYR) has been focusing on Germany recently, where it has just 5% of the market, one of its lowest market shares in major western European nations. “We’ve set ourselves a target of five years to get to a 15% - 20% market share and we’ve started well,” (CFO) Neil Sorahan said in London. “We’re ramping it up this winter.”

Opening services from German airports such as Cologne were proving popular with the airport authorities as well as passengers, as (RYR)’s extensive route network was opening up new customer markets to them, he said.

(RYR) will receive 52 Boeing 737-800s this year. This will take the fleet from 308 at the end of 2015 to 340 by the end of 2016, allowing for older airplanes coming off lease. Even with this level of airplane deliveries, “We’re getting more offers [from airports] than we can cope with.”

The airline was increasingly targeting business passengers and its new focus on operating into primary airports, rather than its traditional policy of flying into sometimes remote secondary locations, was paying off, he said: “We’re getting an awful lot more opportunities to go into primary airports at the right times,” and those airports were raising their game by offering to facilitate (RYR)’s typical 25-minute turnarounds.

Unit costs for (3Q) 2015 fell -5% compared to a year previously, with ex-fuel costs dipping -1%.

Continued weakness in oil prices had allowed (RYR) to extend its fuel hedging into (FY) 2018, said Sorahan. (RYR) is currently 95% hedged at $62 a barrel for (FY) 2017, with its euro to USA dollar exchange rate hedged at $1.17, which should deliver savings of around €430 million in (FY) 2017. (RYR) is now just over >50% fuel-hedged at approximately $52 a barrel for (1H) 2018.

It had further gained more certainty over its costs with recent five-year pay deals with its pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA), he added.

The only headwinds in the short-term, Sorahan said, were the recent weakness of sterling and the sudden imposition of a +€2.50 increase per passenger in Italy’s municipal tax.

Anticipated full-year profits continue to be at the upper end of the €1.17 to €1.22 billion range, excluding exceptional items. Its continuing strong financial performance has led the board to authorize an €800 million shares buy-back over the next nine months, (RYR) said February 1.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) begins daily, Budapest - Berlin (SXF) October 30, and - Nuremberg on November 1.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary expects to overtake Wizz Air (WZZ) in Central Europe to become the largest carrier in these markets by 2018.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) will close two bases in Italy and stop services to another Italian destination completely over an increase in the country’s municipal tax.

(RYR) intends to close its bases at Alghero at Pescara from September, as well as cease services to Crotone, over a January 1 rise in the tax from €6.50 to €9/$7.3 to $10 for each passenger departing Italy.

(RYR) intends to cut frequencies and individual routes to other Italian regional airports and move capacity to Rome and Milan. It also plans to move capacity to its other European bases in Spain, Portugal, and Greece, where there are no similar taxes.

“After a record year for tourism across Europe and another strong year ahead, the Italian government has decided to shoot itself in the foot by hiking passenger taxes by almost +40%,” (RYR) (CCO), David O’Brien said.

“As the largest airline in Italy, carrying 27 million customers to and from Italy annually, (RYR) has been left with no choice but to close two of our 15 Italian bases and move our airplanes and pilots (FC) plus cabin crew (CA) to lower cost tourism countries.

“This tax hike will severely damage Italian tourism, particularly around regional airports where (RYR) brings millions of visitors each year, contributing millions of euro to local economies through high tourist spending, while supporting thousands of jobs. Indeed, at a time of over >40% youth unemployment, tourism is one of the few industries that can stimulate rapid job creation for young people in the regions of Italy.

“(RYR) calls on the Italian government to scrap this damaging tax increase and has requested an urgent meeting with the government.”

(RYR) has long taken an aggressive stance on overhead costs and has not hesitated to drop routes when those costs have risen.

News Item A-5: Ryanair (RYR) announced it will open two new German bases at Nuremberg and Hamburg, beginning November 1.

At Nuremberg, (RYR) will base one Boeing 737-800 and add five new routes to Budapest (daily), Malta (2x-weekly), Manchester (daily), Milan Bergamo (daily) and Rome Ciampino (daily), as well as more frequencies to London.

(RYR) said this move will deliver 450,000 customers per year and support 330 on-site jobs, as (RYR) opens its seventh German base.

At Hamburg, (RYR) will base two 737-800s and add seven new routes, comprising Brussels (double daily), Dublin (5x-weekly), Las Palmas (3x- weekly), London-Stansted (double daily), Manchester (daily), Milan-Bergamo (daily), and Sofia (3x-weekly), as well as seasonal flights during the winter schedule to Palma de Mallorca (Spain).

(RYR) said it will double the number of existing (RYR) passengers in Hamburg to 650,000 annually and create 480 on-site jobs. In total, (RYR) will operate 88 weekly services on 14 routes from Hamburg.

Recently (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said the number of bigger German airports that are beginning to actively work with (RYR) is rising.

“These airports recognize that they will lose traffic from airberlin (BER) and Lufthansa (DLH) subsidiary, Eurowings (EWG) as serious things are going to happen [with these two carriers]. And now these airports want to do business with us,” O’Leary said, adding that (RYR) is not interested in operating German domestic flights.

A source close to the Munich Airport management said that (RYR) could also start service from Munich next year.

March 2016: News Item A-1: "Ryanair Enters Corporate Charter Market" by (ATW) Alan Dron, March 10, 2016.

Ryanair (RYR) has launched a corporate charter service in response to strong demand from customers seeking to privately hire its airplanes.

A spokesman called the move “another strand to the business offering,” which followed other measures such as the creation of a corporate travel department and its "Business Plus" product.

(RYR) will initially use a single Boeing 737-700 that has been converted to a corporate layout at the airline’s Glasgow Prestwick base. It will have a 60C-seat, all-business class interior with 48-inch pitch reclining leather seats in a 2-2 configuration.

“At present, it’s one Boeing 737-700, but we will monitor demand for the service,” which is an indication that more airplanes in the executive configuration could follow if the format proves popular, according to the spokesman.

Ryanair (RYR) has been softening its customer service approach over the past few years with its “Always Getting Better” program, designed to defuse the increasing swell of complaints. The company’s image has climbed steadily since then, as have passenger numbers and profits.

(RYR) has also moved more toward the mainstream, launching services from several of the European hubs it had previously spurned in favor of less expensive secondary and tertiary airports.

News Item A-2: "Ryanair Builds in the Baltics with New Vilnius Base"
by Routes News, March 17, 2016.

(RYR) has served the Lithuanian market for over >10 years, initially with a London Stansted – Kaunus operation. It first introduced flights into Vilnius in May 2011 when it debuted services from Bergamo, Bremen, Dublin, Girona, London Stansted, and Rome Ciampino. Its expanded offering will mean it will be providing over >3,000 seats per day into the Lithuanian market from the coming winter schedule.

(RYR) is to open a new base at Vilnius International Airport in the Baltic State of Lithuania. (RYR) will station two Boeing 737-800s at the facility from October this year as part of a small restructuring of its operations in the Eastern European country.

The investment in the Lithuanian capital will bring a new 3x-weekly link between Vilnius and Berlin, a market currently served by Latvian carrier airBaltic (BAU), as well as a weekly flight to Malta. New routes to Birmingham and London Luton will be continued into the winter schedule, while more flights will be introduced on the Vilnius – Bergamo route, rising to 5x-weekly from late October 2016.

At the same time, (RYR) will also modestly downsize its existing base at Kaunas in south-central Lithuania, where it will reduce its stationed fleet from three to two units. This will coincide with the transfer of its routes from Kaunas to Birmingham and Malta to Vilnius, albeit it will continue to serve seven markets from the city. The switch is due to Lithuanian Airports incentives providing better rewards to fly from Vilnius versus Kaunas.

“This winter (RYR) will have four airplanes based in Lithuania, two in both Vilnius and Kaunas. Traffic to Vilnius with (RYR) will grow by +16% this year and is expected to carry 1.5 million passengers to and from Lithuania in 2016, of which 860,000 will be from Vilnius,” said David O’Brien, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), (RYR).

The expanded winter program from Vilnius will see (RYR) serve 15 routes with 46 weekly flights and will see its Lithuanian network grow to 75 weekly rotations.

(RYR) will also shortly expand its presence in the country, when it inaugurates flights to a third destination from the end of this month. (RYR) will introduce a new 2x-weekly link to Palanga from London Stansted from March 29, 2016 and expects to carry around 33,000 passengers on the route during its first year of operation.

(RYR) has served the Lithuanian market for >10 years, initially with a London Stansted – Kaunus operation. It first introduced flights into Vilnius in May 2011 when it debuted services from Bergamo, Bremen, Dublin, Girona, London Stansted and Rome Ciampino. Its expanded offering will mean it will be providing over >3,000 seats per day into the Lithuanian market from the coming winter schedule.

Ryanair (RYR) is the largest operator in the Lithuanian market by departure capacity, a position it has held since 2010. However, despite growing its own activity by 64.9 per cent since the start of the decade, an average annual rise of 13.0 per cent, its share of seats from the country has slipped from a high of 40.6% in 2011 to 32.0% in 2015, due to growth from rivals, particularly Wizz Air (WZZ).

News Item A-3: When it comes to Europe, particularly across the East, low cost carriers (LCC)s have dominated the industry. But the boom certainly isn’t over just yet. Last year, we witnessed Ryanair (RYR) become the number one airline operating from Poland, after overtaking the national carrier (LOT) Polish Airlines and with predictions that European low-cost carriers (LCCs) will continue to outgrow their full service airline rivals, what can we now expect from the region?

John Grant, Director of (JG) Aviation Consultants and previously Executive VP for the Official Airline Guide (OAG), explained how the region developed last year and how this will continue. “Was 2015 a good year for European Aviation? On the face of it, some carriers made profits that they had never made before and traffic was strong in Eastern Europe," he explained.

“Oil was based around $35 a barrel, whilst this may be good for some, it has probably allowed some carriers to remain in business who should have left the market, and allowed some airlines to avoid tough organisational and network decisions that they should have been making. That price is a sign of economic confidence and demand being low; which isn’t not good," he said.

“What Europe needs is consolidation, and the sooner that happens, the more sense and less disruption there will be in the market. People talk about disruption a lot, and when they do, they immediately think of (RYR), (WZZ), easyJet (EZY) etc, but they aren’t the disruptors at all, they are the innovators. If you look at the most recent growth, it remains the only part of Europe that is showing real growth; there remains room for more and it will continue to boom, certainly compared to Western Europe,” he added.

(LCC)s, such as Vueling (VUZ), have previously expressed the importance of innovation and technology to stay relevant and connected in such a saturated market. However, Grant suggests that there won’t be a significant moment this year for technology, instead it will take time to slowly adapt and adjust to new ways of working.

“Technology changes our world by osmosis, so there won’t be a 2016 ‘moment’. Certainly the A320neo, A350 etc that are coming into service will change things, but so will the distribution processes and people, such as Google. As we individually entrust more of our decision making and purchasing to metasearch companies, then our lives change, and the next ten years will be full of change," he said.

"Longer routes, more direct lines, more (LCC)s, emergent demand from Asia and China, will all impact those route maps. Aircraft technology will only be a part of the changes we see, just as importantly a new generation of travelers with different demands and expectations will change the landscape of travel,” he added.

Through welcoming the "open skies" agreement in 2007, a lot has changed across the European market and how it is controlled. Previously, certain routes had been limited to particular airlines and were controlled by government bodies, so it’s hard to determine who holds the upper hand, explained Grant.

“When I started, most routes were awarded by the Government and in the case of the UK, it was the (CAA). But it’s changed a lot since then with "Open Skies" and free trade zones. It would, I think, be wrong to say who holds the upper hand since effective air service development occurs between airports and airlines, who have shared objectives, common understanding of the market and work in partnership to meet those objectives," he said.

“It’s when that balance is distorted or when a third party, frequently a central agency, interferes and applies a previously unheard of tax or a piece of legislation gets passed, that’s when things go wrong,” he added.

This year, John Grant will be taking part in the ‘What Europe Needs Is…’ panel at "Routes Europe," and expressed why he will be attending. “It’s more the exchange of ideas, thinking and networking, than direct new route opportunities today. Much of the route discussions take place throughout the year, and are of course prompted by "Routes!"

News Item A-4: Low-cost carriers (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) and Volotea (VLZ) are opening further bases in Europe, as they apply yet further pressure on legacy airlines and fellow (LCC)s.

(RYR) will open its 83rd base in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on October 30, while Spanish (LCC) Volotea has opened its eighth base, at Toulouse, southwest France.

(RYR) will position three Boeing 737-800s in Sofia, from which the airline will operate 21 new routes and 90 weekly flights that are anticipated to deliver more than >1.5 million passengers annually.

“This significant growth is an integral part of our continued expansion plans for both Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, as we connect Sofia with Europe’s key centers of business,” (RYR) (CCO), David O’Brien said in Sofia.

The new base is the latest move in (RYR)’s continuing advance into Eastern Europe, which will increasingly bring it into competition with Hungary-based, (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ).

Meanwhile, Volotea (VLZ), has inaugurated its eighth base overall and fourth in France

“Since the beginning of our operations in Toulouse in 2013, we are convinced about the economic and demographic great potential of this region,” (VLZ) Founder & (CEO), Carlos Muñoz said.

(VLZ) will initially base a single Boeing 717 there and operate 12 routes from the airport, four of them new (Brest, Prague, Malaga, and Split).

Like (RYR), (VLZ) is aiming initially to connect secondary and tertiary airports in Europe. It will fly to three new European countries in 2016, the UK, Malta, and Portugal, giving it a presence in 13 nations.

(VLZ) transported 2.5 million passengers in 2015 and forecasts between 3.3 and 3.5 million in 2016 and is beginning a fleet transition from the Boeing 717 to the Airbus A320, with four arriving this year. It has 19 717-200s.

News Item A-5: Ryanair (RYR) will station three Boeing 737-800s in Sofia from the end of October 2016 to support a network of 90 flights across 21 routes and which are forecasted to deliver around 1.5 million passengers per annum. This will position (RYR) among the leading operators at Vrazhdebna Airport accounting for around a quarter of future traffic.

It has not have actually launched flights from Sofia, but (RYR) has already seen strong enough demand for its flights from the Bulgarian capital to confirm plans to open a base at Sofia’s Vrazhdebna Airport from this coming winter. The growth continues (RYR)’s advance into Eastern European markets and deepening its competition with the region’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC), Wizz Air (WZZ).

(RYR) will station three Boeing 737-800s in Sofia from the end of October 2016 to support a network of 90 flights across 21 routes, and which are forecasted to deliver around 1.5 million passengers per annum. This will position (RYR) among the leading operators at Vrazhdebna Airport accounting for around a quarter of future traffic.

(RYR) first revealed plans to serve Sofia, its second destination in Bulgaria after Plovdiv, in August 2015 and is due to introduce a daily service from London Stansted from April 25, 2016. It will now actually inaugurate flights from the city earlier the same month with the introduction next week of a 2x-weekly link from the Italian city of Pisa.

Over the past few months as it has rolled out its winter network plans across its existing bases, it become clear that (RYR) had bold intentions to grow in the Bulgarian capital and the potential for a base operation in the city, its first in Bulgaria, became a clear option.

In January this year, reservations were opened for a daily winter service to Brussels Charleroi, a 3x-weekly Dublin link and the continuation of the summer routes to London and Pisa into the winter schedule. The following month, new daily winter flights to Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Milan Malpensa, and Rome Ciampino, a 5x-weekly, Madrid service and 4x-weekly, Barcelona and 3x-weekly, Hamburg routes were also added to its winter network.

Now, with the confirmation of the base operation, (RYR) has confirmed a further eleven route from Sofia, comprising a daily link to Athens, 3x-weekly flights to Birmingham, Edindhoven and Hamburg and 2x-weekly services to Baden Baden, Castellon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Memmingen, Stockholm, and Venice. (RYR) will also introduce a second daily rotation to London Stansted and a third weekly frequency to Pisa.

“This significant growth is an integral part of our continued expansion plans for both Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, as we connect Sofia with Europe’s key centres of business with high frequency business-friendly services,” said David O’Brien, Chief Commercial Officer, (RYR).

Major infrastructure investments have helped the Bulgarian capital to emerge as a developing business and tourist destination in Eastern Europe. Last year, more than four million passengers used Sofia Airport for the first time in its history and during the first two months of this year, traffic is up a massive +14.2%, versus the same period in 2015. Since the start of the Century, passenger traffic has almost quadrupled thanks to consistent double-digit year-on-year growth through most of the 2000s.

Activity at the airport is dominated by Wizz Air (WZZ) (1.18 million passengers in 2015) and national carrier, Bulgaria Air (LZB) (1.10 million passengers in 2015), and the arrival this year of (RYR) will see the three airlines collectively account for almost two thirds of traffic.

(RYR) is taking a more aggressive development stance in Central and Eastern Europe and its network growth shows that it appears to be going on the offensive against (WZZ). Last year, (RYR) boosted its capacity in Central and Eastern European markets by +23.3%. This year’s summer schedule in the region is 14.9% larger than what was offered during last year’s record figure.

Elsewhere, (RYR) has confirmed its winter schedules from two further UK airports. (RYR) will offer its largest ever program from Birmingham, where it will grow by around +45% as it expands its network to 21 routes and forecasted annual passengers to 1.9 million, while at Leeds Bradford growth of 20% to 1.1 million annual passengers will see its network grow to 12 routes.

At Birmingham, in addition to the new 3x-weekly Sofia service, (RYR) will extend its summer flights to Madrid (4x-weekly), Murcia (2x-weekly), Verona (2x-weekly), and Vilnius (2x-weekly) into the winter schedule. It will also boost flights to Barcelona (daily), Fuerteventura (2x-weekly), Gran Canaria (2x-weekly), Malaga (5x-weekly), Malta (3x-weekly) and Tenerife (4x-weekly).

At Leeds Bradford, a new 2x-weekly flight to Gran Canaria will be introduced by (RYR) this winter, while its 2x-weekly summer link to Faro will be extended into the winter months. (RYR) will also boost frequencies to Alicante (five times weekly), to Routes Europe host, Krakow (4x-weekly), Lanzarote (3x-weekly) and Tenerife (3x-weekly).

News Item A-6: Ryanair (RYR) took delivery of eight 737-800s over the month (Boeing has delivered (RYR)’s 400th 737-800NG airplane).

April 2016: News Item A-1: "Ryanair (RYR) to Invest $200 million in New Base at Prague" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, April 7, 2016.

(RYR) will invest $200 million to open a new base (its 84th) at Prague Airport from October 31.

(RYR) will station two Boeing 737-800s at the new base at the Czech capital, which will support 470 jobs at the airport.

Two new routes will be launched to Milan and Rome, which should increase the number of (RYR) flights to more than >40 per week. (RYR) expects passengers to rise by 100,000 to 625,000 annually.

(RYR) will operate five routes from Prague in total, including Brussels, Dublin, and London.

(RYR) (CEO), Michael O´Leary said that he expects (RYR( to become the biggest carrier in Central Europe within two years. “In Poland, we are already number one; in Hungary, number two; and in Romania we just opened our fourth base. During the winter of 2016, (RYR) will become the second biggest carrier in most of the Baltic States.”

(RYR) operates 1,800 routes in 31 countries to 200 airports in Europe and North Africa. (RYR) has a fleet of 330 737-800s.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) began Budapest - Malaga and – Malta Boeing 737-800 service.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) plans to expand its base at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport from five 189-seat Boeing 737-800s to nine of the type from October.

The number of routes will grow from 27 in the 2016 summer season to 40 in the winter schedule, which will include destinations to Belfast (Ireland), Las Palmas (Spain, Canary Islands), Manchester (UK), Sofia (Bulgaria), and Toulouse (France).

On April 4, (RYR) launched new services from Berlin Schoenefeld to Malta (2x-weekly), Pisa, Italy (3x-weekly) and Zadar, Croatia (2x-weekly).

The base expansion follows UK low-cost carrier (LCC) easyJet (EZY)’s announcement that it will base a 10th Airbus A320 family aircraft at Berlin Schoenefeld.

Berlin Schoenefeld has become the largest (LCC) airport in Germany, Schoenefeld operator, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said.

(RYR) operates 1,800 routes in 31 countries to 200 airports in Europe and North Africa. (RYR) has 83 bases and a fleet of 330 737-800s.

News Item A-4: "Ryanair Launches More Customer Experience Improvements" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, April 15, 2016.

Ryanair (RYR) has unveiled its 2016 customer experience initiatives, which is in its third year of an “Always Getting Better” program, as it continues to improve service, digital and in-flight developments.

“While years one and two were about fixing the areas customers didn’t like, and improving the existing offering, year three will be about digital acceleration and innovation, particularly through our (RYR) Labs digital developments,” Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said.

(CEO), Michael O’Leary said recently that “‘Always Getting Better’ is our motto. We had to adjust some of our policies to soften them, but even before these new customer services, (RYR) was growing fast. Now our growth is even faster.”

New initiatives that will be rolled out over the coming year, include new Boeing 737-800 aircraft interiors, featuring slimline seats, more leg room, coat hooks, (LED) lighting and less yellow (which dominates the cabin interior). Other incentives will focus on more service to business (C) travelers, such as "Leisure PLUS" bundle fare, including reserved seats, priority boarding and 20 kg bag, an improved
"Business PLUS" service with more flexible ticketing, and more fast-track airports and auto-check-in.

Changes to (RYR)’s mobile app include "Travel Extras," which are bookable features that enable users to upgrade seats, buy fast-track, and book parking or transfers. Other mobile app changes include offering a payment system, a "Rate My Flight" function, and real-time customer feedback. It also includes auto check-in and auto mobile boarding passes for reserved seat bookings made through "My Ryanair."

(RYR) also said it is passing on savings from lower oil savings to its 106 million passengers. For next year, the continued weakness in oil prices will allow (RYR) to adjust its hedging procedures. (RYR) is currently hedged at $92 and will be hedged at $62 for (FY) 2017. “That means we can reduce our unit costs by -5% and the fares for passengers will become even lower. That guarantees growth for (RYR). Next year, we expect to fly 116 million passengers,” O’Leary said.

On April 4, (RYR) took delivery of its 400th Boeing 737-800, operating the largest fleet of this type in the world, Boeing (TBC) said.

News Item A-5: Ryanair will trial flight transfers this summer as it moves another step closer to mainstream airline practices.

For years, Ryanair has been a strictly point-to-point carrier, going so far in years past as to actively warn prospective passengers against trying to make connections between two of its flights at major hubs, such as London Stansted.

As part of its move toward legacy airline standards in the area of customer relations, however, the airline has said it will test a transfer service at London Stansted and Barcelona’s El Prat airports this summer.

Stansted is Ryanair’s largest hub outside its Dublin home; it makes up more than 70% of the 20-million passenger throughput at the airport, some 30 miles northeast of the UK capital.

The trial “will allow customers to connect onto Ryanair flights without having to go back through security,” the airline said in a statement. A spokesman told ATW that the duration of the trial was not yet settled “as details are being finalized, but it’s for the summer months.”

The carrier has always fought shy of allowing transfer flights, concerned at the additional risk of ensuring baggage is transferred and the problems that arise if an incoming flight is delayed.

The airline added that, if the trial is successful, it would “consider rolling it out elsewhere across its network.”

Ryanair is also tentatively looking at plans to supply short-haul feeder passengers to other long-haul carriers.

News Item A-6: Ryanair (RYR) will trial flight transfers this summer as it moves another step closer to mainstream airline practices.

For years, (RYR) has been a strictly point-to-point carrier, going so far in years past as to actively warn prospective passengers against trying to make connections between two of its flights at major hubs, such as London Stansted.

As part of its move toward legacy airline standards in the area of customer relations, however, (RYR) has said it will test a transfer service at London Stansted and Barcelona’s El Prat airports this summer.

Stansted is (RYR)’s largest hub outside its Dublin home; it makes up more than >70% of the 20-million passenger throughput at the airport, some 30 miles northeast of the UK capital.

The trial “will allow customers to connect onto (RYR) flights without having to go back through security,” (RYR) said. A spokesman said that the duration of the trial was not yet settled “as details are being finalized, but it’s for the summer months.”

(RYR) has always fought shy of allowing transfer flights, concerned at the additional risk of ensuring baggage is transferred and the problems that arise if an incoming flight is delayed.

(RYR) added that, if the trial is successful, it would “consider rolling it out elsewhere across its network.”

(RYR) is also tentatively looking at plans to supply short-haul feeder passengers to other long-haul carriers.

May 2016: Ryanair (RYR) reported a full-year net income of +€1.24 billion/+$1.4 billion), up +43% from a +€867 million profit in the year-ago period.

(RYR) said the results for the financial year ended March 31, 2016, were because of its "Always Getting Better" program and tight cost control. The net figure excludes an exceptional +€317.5 million gain on the sale of its Aer Lingus (ARL) shares.

“(FY) 2016 was a year in which we delivered significant traffic and profit growth in all four quarters, despite an average oil price of $90/bbl as a consequence of hedges put in place in 2014,” (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary said, announcing the results on May 23.

Revenue rose +16% to €6.5 billion, while expenses increased +10% to €5.1 billion, producing an operating profit of +€1.5 billion, up +40% from a +€1 billion operating profit in the prior-year period.

Passenger numbers were up +18% at 106.4 million, producing a load factor of 93% LF, up +5 points. (CASK) decreased -6%, while (CASK) ex-fuel was down -2%. “We are, on average, +2% better booked for the peak summer months than this time last year, but at lower fares. We expect our (FY) 2017 load factor will be similar to last year (93% LF) as we grow traffic by +9% to 116 million. Pricing, however, will be softer, particularly in (Q1) and (Q4), neither of which have any Easter holiday benefits, and capacity additions in Europe are higher than in previous years, as hedged competitors enjoy falling oil bills. Since we continue to be load active/yield passive we expect, with very limited visibility, average fares to fall approximately -7% this year,” O'Leary said.

(RYR) is anticipating that first half fares will drop by -5% to -7% and -10% to -12% in the second half. O’Leary said this is the steepest fare drop he has predicted over the last five years. “Our cost discipline should see us deliver ex-fuel unit cost reductions of -1% in (FY) 2017. Our fuel bill will fall by some -€200 million as lower euro pricing is partially offset by bigger volumes due to growth. Accordingly, we cautiously expect full-year net profit to rise modestly, by approximately +13%, to a range of €1,375 million to €1,425 million,” he said.

July 2016: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) reported (1Q) 2016 net profit of €256 million/$281 million, up +4% compared to €245 million year-over-year (YOY).

First-quarter revenue was €1.69 billion, up +2% (YOY), while expenses were €1.38 billion, up +1%, producing an operating profit of +€306.8 million, up +6%. Ancillary revenue accounted for 26% of the total figure (up +2% on the previous year). Unit costs were down -9% (YOY) (down -4% excluding fuel).

Passenger numbers rose +11% to 31.2 million compared to the year-ago period, while load factor was up +2% at 94% LF. (RYR) estimates it will carry 117 million passengers this year, up +11% (YOY).

Speaking in London July 25, (CFO) Neil Sorahan said forward bookings were increasing and were up +1% on the year-ago period.

Financial guidance for the full year remained essentially unchanged, he said, with estimated net profits in the €1.375 million to €1.425 million bracket, although he cautioned that downside risks were present, notably the UK’s planned exit from the European Union (EU) (Brexit), which was likely to lead to a period of volatility while the country negotiated its departure over the next two years.

Factors affecting the quarter’s figures included the absence of the Easter holidays and several air traffic control strikes, notably in France.

Sorahan said Ryanair (RYR)’s (FY) 2017 fuel costs were 95% hedged at €622 per tonne (around $62 per barrel), which would deliver savings of around -€200 million, even allowing for greater volumes of fuel being consumed as (RYR) continued to grow.

Fuel for (FY) 2018 was 55% hedged at €496 million: “We took advantage of a dip in the market after [the announcement of] Brexit to buy up more hedging capacity that should give us a further €120 million of savings,” Sorahan added.

The bulk of these savings over the next two years will be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares, Sorahan said. (RYR)’s average fare for the (1Q) period was a fraction under €40.

Further cost benefits will come from a recently agreed five-year pay and productivity deal with pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA), while managers have agreed a pay freeze this year.

In recent years, (RYR) has started to move away from its longstanding policy of operating almost exclusively from secondary airports and its near-term growth would be split evenly between primary and secondary airports, with “lots of opportunity” for expansion at major hubs, Sorahan said.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) begins 2x-weekly Aberdeen - Malaga and - Alicante from February 2017 using Boeing 737-800s.

August 2016: Ryanair (RYR) will offer 2x-weekly, Liverpool - Marrakesh for its winter 2016 schedule starting October 31. This is in addition to a new 2x-weekly, Liverpool - Sofia route. (RYR) will also launch 2x-weekly, Liverpool - Bari (Italy) service on March 28, 2017.

September 2016: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has further expanded its base at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport from September 1, adding +16 new destinations. This brings the number of destinations to 42, (RYR) Head of Corporate Sales & Senior Marketing Manager Germany, Tim Howe Schroeder confirmed.

In April, (RYR) announced it was expanding its Berlin-Schoenefeld base from 5 189Y-seat Boeing 737-800s to 9 of the type from October.

The 16 new services comprise Berlin-Schoenefeld to Belfast, North-Ireland (3x-weekly); Bucharest Otopeni (2x-daily); Budapest, Hungary (1x-daily); Catania, Italy (2x-weekly); Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (2x-weekly); Lisbon, Portugal (1x-daily); Manchester, UK (1x-daily); Nis, Serbia (2x-weekly); Podgorica, Montenegro (2x-weekly); Rzeszów, Poland (3x-weekly); Santander, Spain (3x-weekly); Sophia, Bulgaria (1x-daily); Salonki, Greece (1x-daily); Timiþoara, Romania (2x-weekly); Toulouse, France (4x-weekly); and Vilnius, Lithuania (3x-weekly).

Schoenefeld airport operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH board Chairman Karsten Muehlenfeld said the total passenger numbers at Berlin Schoenefeld rose an average of +40% since fall 2015, “which is mainly due to the commitment of (RYR).” Schoenefeld has become the largest (LCC) airport in Germany.

Starting from the end of October, (RYR) will launch additional services from Schoenefeld to Lanzarote, Canary Islands (2x-weekly); Las Palmas, Canary Islands (3x-weekly); and Seville, Spain (3x-weekly).

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) will launch 3x-weekly Hamburg - Sofia, Bulgaria Boeing 737-800 service on September 6. (RYR) is opening a new base at Hamburg Airport on November 1. With the opening of the Hamburg base, (RYR) will double its operations at Hamburg Airport for the 2016/2017 winter timetable. Alongside Sofia, six other new destinations will be added to the timetable: Brussels, Dublin, Gran Canaria, London Stansted, Manchester, and Milan Bergamo.

News Item A-3: 5 737-8AS (44746; EI-FRX; 44747, EI-FRV; 44748, EI-FRW; 44749, EI-FRZ; 44750, EI-FRY), deliveries.

October 2016: News Item A-1: "Too Much Inventory, Not Enough Space"
by Victoria Moores in "Need I say Moores" victoria.moores@penton.com, October 5, 2016.

This was a press release headline I saw today. It wasn’t about aviation, but it sums up the current situation in Europe pretty well.

Airlines are facing too much inventory (overcapacity), while customers complain about being packed in tighter than ever before, as airlines strive to minimize their unit costs. That overcapacity gives customers lots of options, putting pressure on yields, which puts airlines under even more pressure to cut unit costs. It’s a vicious circle.

The press release that I spotted was about companies running out of room to store their products, forcing them to take external storage to free up space and cut costs. But airlines can’t do that. Once a seat has flown, it’s flown, so European airlines are caught between wanting to keep their airplanes (expensive assets) flying to generate revenue, but having to cut fares to fill them.

This winter, Ryanair (RYR) expects average fares to fall by -10% to -12%, but it is still pumping seats into the market to maintain traffic growth. (RYR) follows a ‘load factor active, yield passive’ strategy, putting pressure on rival airlines with weightier cost bases, to either match its low fares (forcing them to take a financial hit), or lose business.

One of the markets (RYR) is aggressively attacking is Germany, adding +400% capacity in Nuremburg, +180% in Hamburg and further growth in Cologne for next summer. It comes as no coincidence that airlines like airberlin (BER) and TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) are having to make big changes to compete.

The alternative to filling seats at any cost is to get rid of the airplanes, but this also comes at a price. There is no way, in an ideal world that airberlin (BER) would want to hand over a huge chunk of its fleet to its main rival, Lufthansa (DLH), for Eurowings (EWG). But that’s what’s happening.

After all, having more seats to minimize unit costs is only of value if you fill them profitably.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) opened its 1st Italian maintenance hangar at Milan Bergamo Airport, which will undertake line maintenance on (RYR)’s fleet of Boeing 737-800 airplanes. This new maintenance hangar will create 50 high-tech positions for licensed engineers, mechanics (MT) and support staff.

News Item A-3: "Ryanair Lays Down the Gauntlet in Lufthansa’s Home Base" by Karen Walker Karen.walker@penton.com in (ATW) Editor's Blog, November 2, 2016.

News that Irish low cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) plans to start operating out of Frankfurt next year prompted Lufthansa Group Carsten Spohr to take a sharp intake of breath even as he announced a strong set of results for his company.

(RYR)’s planned move into the very heart of Lufthansa (DLH) operations is daring, especially as (DLH) has its own (LCC) unit, Eurowings (EWG), which it has put on a fast-growth track.

But perhaps more intriguing is the fact that the announcement came not from (RYR), but from Frankfurt operator Fraport. In a press release, Fraport Executive Board Chairman Stefan Schulte was full of praise for (RYR), calling it “Europe’s leading low-cost airline” and wishing the (LCC) “always happy landing here at Frankfurt.”

Ouch! No wonder Spohr retorted at a 3rd-quarter financial results press conference that (DLH) would expect the same terms as (RYR), implying that Fraport may have enticed (RYR) with discounted airport fees that will not be expected by Fraport’s biggest client.

(RYR)’s ultra-low cost base and business savvy means it probably can move into the lion’s den and survive even if there’s a bit of mauling. Its initial routes from Frankfurt will be to holiday destinations in Spain and Portugal popular with German tourists; fares will be rock-bottom low but if anyone can sustain profitability in that environment, it’s (RYR), for which Frankfurt will become its 9th German base.

But don’t expect (DLH) to ignore this move, which is really throwing down the gauntlet in the airline industry’s equivalent of “new world versus old world” head butting.

Lufthansa (DLH) achieved its (3Q) result in large part by strict cost and capacity control. It has learned much from the (LCC) phenomena that dominates Europe (and which, unlike in the USA, must also compete with a sophisticated, extensive train network. So (DLH) will likely respond with all the tools it has at its disposal, and they are considerable.

But what to make of Fraport, which so enthusiastically rained on (DLH)’s (3Q) parade by publicly wishing newcomer (RYR) “happy landings”? All airports seek new airline customers. Winning a high-profile (LCC) (RYR) is a coup for Fraport and good for competition.

However, you can be sure that (DLH) will monitor the terms of (RYR)’s Fraport operations extremely carefully.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) will base 2 737-800s from early November in Hamburg (a $200 million investment).

(RYR) has also detailed summer 2017 operations from Hamburg, offering 16 routes and 95 weekly flights, up +180% compared to the current schedule. (RYR) said it expects to carry 1.7 million passengers annually to/from Hamburg.

The new summer 2017 services comprise 3x-weekly services from Hamburg to Faro, Portugal and Salonika, Greece.

Also in summer 2017, (RYR) plans to add +7 additional frequencies to Brussels, Belgium, becoming 2x-daily. Other routes are Hamburg to Dublin, Ireland (5x-weekly); Las Palmas, Spain (2x-weekly); London Stansted (2x-daily); Manchester, UK (daily), Milan Bergamo, Italy (daily) and Sophia, Bulgaria (2x-weekly); and Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2x-daily).

News Item A-5: 737-8AS (35018, EI-EFW) last revenue flight, stored at Prestwick. 737-8AS (37542, EI-EFS), Prestwick to Dublin for paint into Ukraine International (UKR) colors.

November 2016: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) reported a 1st-half net income of +€1.17 billion/+$1.3 billion, up +7% from a €1.09 billion profit in the year-ago period.

The net profit figure excludes a €317.5 million gain from (RYR) selling its 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus (ARL) in September 2016.

(RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary described the results as “a creditable performance in difficult market conditions,” given recent air traffic control strikes, terror events and the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU (Brexit). “We responded by accelerating our "Always Getting Better" customer experience program, and using our lower cost base to stimulate stronger forward bookings with lower fares,” he said.

Revenue rose +2% to €4.1 billion, while expenses lowered -0.1% to €2.8 billion, producing an operating profit of +€1.35 billion, up +7% from a +€1.26 billion operating profit on the comparable half year.

Traffic rose +12% to 65 million seats flown, pushing load factor up +2 points to 95% LF. Average fares fell -10% to €50, but unit costs also fell -10% (ex-fuel down -5%).

O’Leary gave cautious guidance for the full financial year. “We have delivered a strong 1st half, but weaker air fares and Brexit uncertainty will be the dominant features of the 2nd half. Having hedged both our fuel and sterling exposures, we remain comfortable with our revised full year guidance of €1.30 to €1.35 billion. However, with limited 4th quarter visibility, and the absence of Easter from the 4th quarter, we expect fares will continue to fall.”

(RYR) previously guided that 2nd-half fares would fall -13% to -15%. Full-year unit costs are now expected to be -3% lower, compared with earlier expectations for a -1% drop. “We expect to carry just >119 million customers in (FY) 2017 and this stronger growth requires us to raise our long-term traffic forecast by over >10% from 180 million to >200 million customers per year by March 2024. Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, (RYR) believes that we can deliver profitable growth across Europe by controlling costs, lowering airfares and maximizing load factors,” O’Leary said.

(RYR) also increased its medium-term ancillary sales guidance from 20% to 30% of revenues over the next 4 years to March 2020. This winter (RYR) will take delivery of 31 new Boeing 737-800s, which it will use to open +6 more bases in Bucharest, Bournemouth, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Prague and Vilnius, as well as growing its Berlin Schönefeld base from 5 to 9 airplanes.

News Item A-2: "Ryanair Lays Down the Gauntlet in Lufthansa’s Home Base" Karen Walker Karen.walker@penton.com in (ATW) Editor's Blog, November 2, 2016.

News that Irish low cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) plans to start operating out of Frankfurt next year prompted Lufthansa Group Carsten Spohr to take a sharp intake of breath even as he announced a strong set of results for his company. (RYR)’s planned move into the very heart of Lufthansa (DLH) operations is daring, especially as (DLH) has its own (LCC) unit, Eurowings (EWG), which it has put on a fast-growth track. But perhaps more intriguing is the fact that the announcement came not from (RYR), but from Frankfurt operator Fraport.

In a press release, Fraport Executive Board Chairman Stefan Schulte was full of praise for (RYR), calling it “Europe’s leading (LCC)” and wishing the (LCC) “always happy landing here at Frankfurt.”

Ouch! No wonder Spohr retorted at a 3rd-quarter financial results press conference that (DLH) would expect the same terms as (RYR), implying that Fraport may have enticed (RYR) with discounted airport fees that will not be expected by Fraport’s biggest client.

(RYR)’s ultra-low cost base and business savvy means it probably can move into the lion’s den and survive, even if there’s a bit of mauling. Its initial routes from Frankfurt will be to holiday destinations in Spain and Portugal, popular with German tourists; fares will be rock-bottom low but if anyone can sustain profitability in that environment, it’s (RYR), for which Frankfurt will become its 9th German base!

But don’t expect (DLH) to ignore this move, which is really throwing down the gauntlet in the airline industry’s equivalent of “new world versus old world” head butting. (DLH) achieved its 3Q result in large part by strict cost and capacity control. It has learned much from the (LCC) phenomena that dominates Europe (and which, unlike in the USA, must also compete with a sophisticated, extensive train network. So (DLH) will likely respond with all the tools it has at its disposal, and they are considerable.

But what to make of Fraport, which so enthusiastically rained on (DLH)’s (3Q) parade by publicly wishing newcomer (RYR) “happy landings”? All airports seek new airline customers. Winning a high-profile (LCC) (RYR) is quite a coup for Fraport and good for competition! However, you can be sure that Lufthansa (DLH) will monitor the terms of (RYR)’s Fraport operations extremely carefully.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) and German leisure airline TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) have been ordered to repay a total of €12.7 million/$13.9 million in state aid after the European Commission (EC) ruled their deals with Austria’s Klagenfurt Airport were anti-competitive.

Klagenfurt is a small regional airport that is owned by local authorities. In its ruling, the (EC) found the airport’s state funding was in line with European Union (EU) state aid rules, but some of the airport’s airline deals were not. “Airport services and marketing agreements concluded with Ryanair (RYR), TUIfly (HAP) and Hapag-Lloyd Express (HLX) could not, when they were concluded, have been expected to generate more revenues than additional costs. As no profit-driven airport manager would have concluded such loss-making agreements, they amount to state aid to the airlines,” the (EC) said.

The (EC) has ordered the airlines to repay the aid, which totals around €2 million for (RYR), €9.6 million for (HLX) and €1.1 million for TUIfly (HAP). (HLX) merged with Hapagfly (HAP) in 2007 to create TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX).

Other deals with Austrian Airlines (AUL) and airberlin (BER) were also probed, but the (EC) said these would have been acceptable to a profit-driven airport manager and therefore involved no state aid.

737-8AS (44759, EI-FTI), ex-(N1786B) delivery.

January 2017: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) is adding 9 routes from London Stansted for summer 2017, which could lead to further aircraft being based at the airport. (RYR) said it had reached a new growth deal with Stansted operator Manchester Airports Group (MAG), covering 9 new routes and additional frequencies on a further 13 services. This will take (RYR)’s Stansted network to 140 routes.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) is in no rush to set up a UK air operator’s certificate (AOC) following the UK’s decision to exit the European Union (EU), or "Brexit." While negotiations over Brexit are still ongoing, it brings up major questions about route rights and ownership. There is a chance that (RYR) (as an (EU) airline) will not be able to operate domestic UK flights once the changes are made.

News Item A-3: This winter, Ryanair (RYR) will expand by +10% at Barcelona, +12% in Madrid and +54% at Milan Malpensa, as it continues an aggressive growth strategy.

Detailing plans for winter 2017 - 2018, (RYR) said it was adding +6 routes from Barcelona (+2 seasonal), +11 from Madrid (+8 seasonal) and +7 from Milan Malpensa, as well as additional frequencies.

The expansion at Milan Malpensa is particularly significant, given Alitalia (ALI)’s latest difficulties.

(RYR) is adding routes from Milan Malpensa to Alicante, Eindhoven, Katowice, Lamezia, Liverpool, Palermo. and Valencia, which will add +1.7 million passengers a year to its total.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) renewed its agreement with Navitaire, an Amadeus company. Under the terms of the contract, (RYR) will use the firm’s ancillary and reservations solution including merchandizing, distribution, digital and departure control platforms until 2025.

News Item A-5: 737-8AS (37540, EI-EFP) to Bournemouth for paint into Jeju Air colors. 7 737-8AS (44761, EI-FTK; 44762, EI-FTL; 44763, EI-FTM; 44764, EI-FTN; 44765, EI-FTO; 44766, EI-FTP; 44767, EI-FTR) deliveries.

February 2017: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) saw its 3rd-quarter profits fall -8% compared to the same period in the previous year, as geopolitical events pushed more capacity into its market and yields fell.

(RYR) reported net profits of +€95 million/+$102 million for the 3rd quarter of its financial year ended December 31, down from +€103 million last time. Revenue was up +1%, at €1.35 billion.

Despite the drop in (3Q) profits, (RYR) said its guidance for full-year net profits remained unchanged, at +€1.3 to +€1.35 billion.

However, (RYR) said the outlook for the remaining 2 months of the year was cautious. With Easter, a major period for holidays and short breaks, falling outside the quarter this year, the (LCC) anticipated (4Q) yields to drop by as much as -15% compared to last year. (RYR) added that its full-year guidance depended heavily on no further terrorist incidents in Europe causing a drop in close-in bookings.

Barring such unforeseen events, (RYR) said it would carry around 119 million passengers in (FY) 2017, up +12% on the previous year’s figure of 106 million. (RYR) currently anticipates carrying 130 million passengers in (FY) 2018 and is targeting 200 million by (FY) 2024.

(RYR) has a “yield passive, load factor active” policy and its fares fell sharply over the winter. Average fares dropped -17% to €33, down from €40 a year previously, while load factors rose +2% to 95% LF, a (3Q) record. Customer numbers were up +16% at 28.8 million compared to (3Q) a year earlier.

A major factor in the drop in fares, and thus yields, was the sharp reduction in European tourists heading to Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt’s Red Sea resorts following terrorist attacks. This saw airlines redeploying capacity into southern Mediterranean markets such as Spain, Portugal and southern Italy.

The volatility of sterling as a result of uncertainty over the UK’s forthcoming exit from the European Union (EU) exacerbated this trend.

(RYR) anticipates this weakness in pricing continuing into the summer and perhaps beyond. (RYR) said its low-cost base remained a key differentiator between it and its rivals. Non-fuel costs were down -6%, while fuel costs fell -20% per passenger in (3Q). (RYR) said fuel costs for the remainder of its financial year were 95% hedged at $56 a barrel, while hedging >85% of its (FY) 2018 fuel at an average price of $49 a barrel. This is anticipated to deliver fuel savings of -$65 million in (FY) 2018, which will be fed back into lower fares.

A prime aim of (RYR)’s policy is to attract passengers, giving (RYR) the opportunity to sell ancillary products, which tend to have higher profit margins than the actual flights, (CFO) Neil Sorahan said.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) will expand Israel operations, as (RYR) heads east in search of new territories as competition increases on its more “traditional” routes in Western and Southern Europe. (RYR) will add +8 new routes from Israel’s Eilat Ovda and 7 new routes from Tel Aviv, beginning with its winter 2017 schedule.

In January, (RYR) announced a substantial cluster of 15 new routes to and from Israel and a push into Eastern Europe. “We dipped our toe into that market last winter and the Israeli transport and tourism ministers were very keen to get us into Tel Aviv,” (RYR) (CFO) Neil Sorahan said. He did not see the two Israeli cities as direct replacements for Turkish and Egyptian Red Sea resorts, which have seen a sharp drop in tourist numbers as a result of terrorist attacks in recent times, but he described Israel as “an attractive destination” for tourists seeking some sunshine in the depths of a European winter.

(RYR) has short turnaround times between flights, while Israeli airports have particularly tight and lengthy security procedures for passengers, but Sorahan said the latter “didn’t impact us at all last winter.”

Most of the new routes to Israel are from Central or Eastern European cities, which help keep sector times down to reasonable levels.

(RYR) is increasingly setting up bases in Central and Eastern Europe (new locations in Bucharest, Prague and Vilnius helped take its total to 85 bases in (3Q) 2017) which means it will progressively compete with that region’s biggest (LCC), Wizz Air (WZZ).

(RYR) believes its lower unit costs and fares (its average fare was €46/$49 compared to €57 for Wizz (WZZ)) will enable it to win that battle, citing success in cost-base cuts, which would translate into even lower prices for passengers.

Airports generally do not make much money from landing fees, Sorahan said, but are prepared to deal with (RYR) to increase its foothold in the terminal, where it has the opportunity to sell higher-margin products, such as food, drink and duty-free products. “It’s buying those Toblerones that brings in the profit,” he said.

Meanwhile, (RYR) continues to make advances elsewhere. (RYR) said February 6 it was growing strongly in Germany as airberlin (BER) continued to restructure.

As it announced its (3Q) figures, (RYR) called for the German government to follow the lead of its UK counterpart in breaking up the airport monopoly in its capital city.

Some years ago, (BAA), which used to operate all three major London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) sold off the latter 2. (RYR) would like to see Berlin Tegel, which is slated for closure, remain open when the much-delayed Berlin Brandenburg eventually opens for business. (RYR) said current plans to close Tegel would allow it to restrict capacity and increase prices, “while leaving the city of Berlin with less airport capacity than Dublin.”

Ryanair (RYR) has lodged a complaint with the German Cartel Office, in which it claimed the proposed Lufthansa (DLH)/airberlin (BER) wet-lease agreement “is nothing more than an old-fashioned attempt at duopoly to share the market, block competition and increase air fares.”

As (RYR) continues to grow, one problem its faces is the tendency of passengers to bring increasingly large pieces of baggage into the cabin of its Boeing 737-800s, taking advantage of (RYR)’s policy of allowing 2 free cabin bags.

Although (RYR) clearly set out the sizes allowed (1 standard “wheely-bag” and a smaller item, passengers are increasingly pushing the boundaries by turning up with luggage items substantially in excess of the approved sizes. This was starting to create problems at the gate and slowing boarding procedures, Sorahan said. “We’re looking at whether we have to tweak the 2-bag rule, but we’ve not yet reached a decision.”

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) has started 2 services to Aberdeen (ABZ) this month, linking the Scottish city to its bases in Malaga (AGP) and Alicante (ALC), with the former beginning on February 8 and the latter on February 9. Both will be flown 2x-weekly by (RYR)’s 737-800 fleet, with Malaga operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Alicante will be served on Thursdays and Sundays. Neither route faces any direct competition. Aberdeen is a new destination for (RYR) (well, sort of). It used to serve the airport from Dublin and Liverpool, with its last service being from the Irish capital on October 28 2011.

See attached - "RYR-2017-02 - Aberdeen Scotland Services.jpg."

News Item A-4: Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) and (LCC) Norwegian (NWG) plan to start joint feeder flights from summer 2017 onward.

See photo: "RYR-1-Michael O’Leary - NWG Bjorn Kjos-2017-02.jpg."

News Item A-5: Lobby group "Airlines for Europe" (A4E) has completed its 1st year of operations, bringing both successes and some ongoing frustrations. (A4E) was started by Europe’s 5 major airline players: Air France (AFA) - (KLM), UK-based easyJet (ESJ), the International Airlines Group (IAG), Lufthansa (DLH), and Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) in January 2016 to focus on key policy areas, including airport charges, air traffic control (ATC) strikes and taxation.

7 737-8AS (44768, EI-FTS; 44769, EI-FTT; 44770, EI-FTV; 44771, EI-FTW; 44772, EI-FTY; 44773, EI-FTZ; 44774, EI-FZA) deliveries.

March 2017: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) commenced the 1,239 km city pair from Dublin (DUB) to Copenhagen (CPH) on March 18. The daily, 189-seat 737-800-operated service will face considerable competition from (SAS) (8x-weekly), Aer Lingus (ARL) (daily) and Norwegian (NWG) (2x-weekly). This route becomes (RYR)’s 1st to the Danish capital, with Copenhagen becoming the (ULCC)’s 70th base next week, with the launch of several more new routes. This will be (RYR)’s 2nd base in Denmark after Billund.

News Item A-2: RyanAir (RYN) was in a celebratory mood after taking delivery of its 450th Next generation 737-8AS. The milestone reached on March 21 with the handover of 737-8AS (44779, EI-FZF) came just 18 years after (RYR) received its 1st 737.

"We're proud to partner with Boeing (TBC) and have operated an all-Boeing fleet since 1994," (RYR)'s Chief Operations Officer (COO) Mick Hickey said. Our current order of 737-800s and thew 737 MAX 200 "Game changer" (80 and 100 airplanes, respectively) will allow us to grow our fleet to 585 airplanes and our passenger numbers to 200 million per annum by 2024, maintaining our position as Europe's largest, greenest and cleanest airline."

RyanAir (RYR) is now the largest 737-800 customer in the world and the largest Boeing (TBC) operator in Europe.

April 2017: News Item A-1: "New Ryanair Initiatives Include Connecting Flights, Service Upgrades" by (ATW) Alan Dron
alandron@adepteditorial.com, April 7, 2017.

Ryanair (RYR) has unveiled its 2017 - 2018 customer experience improvement plan, which includes connecting flights, auto check-in and express booking. The move is part of the 4th year of (RYR)’s "Always Getting Better" passenger experience improvement program, which has had a marked beneficial effect on both its passenger numbers (up by >50%) and its image.

From later this month, (RYR) said it will start to make network connections available through Rome’s Fiumicino airport, with other airports to be included in the program shortly thereafter. (RYR) added that it was continuing discussions with Ireland’s Aer Lingus (ARL) and Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG) “with a view to launching connections with 3rd-party airlines in late summer. We also plan to sell flights operated by other airlines on our [website] Ryanair.com

(RYR) also announced a batch of enhancements or additions to its services, including an extension of its inclusive holiday business, destination guides on its website and a downloadable app, and the ability for passengers to have their seat preferences, number of bags and other extras to be saved as a default option on the airline’s booking engine. Other initiatives include express booking (3 clicks) and auto check-in, for both flights, once return seats are booked.

(RYR) expects to carry close to 120 million passengers this year.

For years, Ryanair (RYR) proclaimed itself to be a strictly point-to-point airline and actively discouraged prospective passengers from trying to link together flights.

(RYR) Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said, “While we continue to innovate, the 1 thing that won’t change will be our low fares, and European customers will still enjoy the biggest and best choice of destinations, with the most on-time flights and a fantastic on board experience, as we grow our fleet, traffic and routes.”

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) is to open its 1st Spanish "C" check maintenance hangar at Seville Airport in early 2018, (RYR) announced April 13.

Construction of the hangar will begin “shortly,” (RYR) said, and create up to 150 jobs (including licensed engineers, mechanics and support staff). (RYR)’s investment in the new facilities is valued at >€8 million/$8.5 million.

Ryanair (RYR) is now the largest airline in Spain, based on passenger numbers. “Seville is an ideal location with opportunities to attract, train and employ local skilled manpower to support this project,” (RYR) (COO) Mick Hickey said.

The hangar will have a single bay and accommodate heavy maintenance checks for (RYR)’s Boeing 737-800 fleet. (RYR) opened a base at Seville in 2010 and its recently released winter 2017 schedule shows no fewer than 15 new winter routes from the southern Spanish city to Bari (Italy), Cologne, Copenhagen, East Midlands (UK), Hamburg, Ibiza, Krakow (Poland), Manchester, Memmingen (Germany), Naples, Toulouse, Valencia, Valladolid, Verona (Italy), and Warsaw.

(RYR) is taking delivery of some 380 new Boeing 737s, including up to 200 high-density 737 MAX 200 variants. (RYR) plans to grow to 600 737 airplanes and increase passenger numbers to 200 million annually by 2024.

May 2017: News Item A-1: "The Face of an Airline" by Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com in "Need I say Moores" May 10, 2017.

It is almost impossible to imagine Etihad Airways (EHD) without James Hogan, but come July that will be a reality. How do airline brands move on when their face changes?

There are certain airlines where their (CEO) is almost as well known as the brand itself. Take Ryanair (RYR) and Michael O’Leary, for example, or Qatar Airways (QTA) and Akbar Al Baker.

I’d argue Hogan is in that group. He became head of (EHD) in 2006 and has undoubtedly shaped (EHD) from a small (if well-funded) start-up into the Goliath that it is today. So, what happens now?

Some airlines have moved on from high-profile leadership changes very effectively, such as Herb Kelleher and his low-cost icon Southwest Airlines (SWA). Others have done so with turbulence. Greek entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou was as synonymous with easyJet (EZY) as the color orange. Since stepping down, his presence has continued to be felt as an extremely vocal shareholder. However, Carolyn McCall took the reins in 2010 and has arguably become far more associated as a face of the (EZY) brand than (EZY)’s other leaders, Ray Webster and Andrew Harrison.

Some airlines seem to keep their actual (CEO)s a little more out of the spotlight. For example, the International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh is far better known as a figure head than his immediate successor as (CEO) at British Airways (BAB), Keith Williams, who kept a low profile. Likewise, Alex Cruz has become a lot less visible since he was promoted from Vueling (VUZ) (CEO) to become (BAB)’s latest chief.

Another example is Virgin Atlantic (VAA), which will always be associated with its celebrity founder Sir Richard Branson, rather than characters like Steve Ridgway and Craig Kreeger, who held the top spot at (VAA).

Perhaps the most entrenched name in the airline business today is Michael O’Leary. Even non-aviation people are aware of the (RYR) (CEO)’s antics, which have calmed a little under the ‘Always Getting Better’ niceness program. O’Leary has already accrued 17 years as (CEO) of (RYR) and has been with (RYR) even longer, since January 1994. He has committed to remain until September 2019. Responding to a question on when he might step down back in 2014, he replied: “I have always said that, from my point of view, I would be very happy to stay here for as long as what we’re doing is interesting. Over the last few years, that included resolving Aer Lingus (ARL), along with the Stansted and Dublin [airport] issues and the airplane order. But I think the whole digital transformation and new growth at primary airports makes it a very interesting place to work for the next number of years, so I hope the board will keep me on,” he said.

Under O’Leary’s leadership, (RYR) has grown from 3 million to 121 million passengers per year. By 2024, (RYR) expects to carry 180 million passengers annually. O’Leary previously indicated that once (RYR) became more corporate and friendly, it would be time for him to step down. Then, in the 2014 quote, he said he was waiting on the digital transformation, which has moved along a lot since. Post-2019, who knows?

Ultimately, in a world where some (CEO)s are almost as well-known as their airline, even the most personality-centered brands find a new face with time.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) will add a further 10 Boeing 737-800s to its Frankfurt base, for a total of 12 airplanes next year, Frankfurt airport operator Fraport Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Matthias Zieschang said May 9.

Since March, (RYR) has launched daily routes from Frankfurt to Spain’s Alicante, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca as well as to Faro, Portugal, targeting 400,000 passengers annually.

(RYR) became the 1st low cost carrier (LCC) to operate from Frankfurt, making the airport its 9th German base. With 12 Frankfurt-based airplanes, (RYR) could expect 3 million (RYR) passengers there.

Frankfurt is Germany’s largest airport and the main base for Lufthansa (DLH), which has a 60% market share.

7 737-8AS (44789, EI-FZS; 44790, EI-FZP; 44791, EI-FZX; 44792, EI-FZR; 44793, EI-FZT; 44794, EI-FZV; 44795, EI-FZW) deliveries.

June 2017: News Item A-1: Alitalia (ALI) has attracted 32 expressions of interest, including Ryanair (RYR), which could include a connecting flight partnership.

Etihad Airways (EHD) equity partner (ALI) went into special administration in May, after employees voted against a labor agreement that was critical to (RYR)’s turnaround plan.

The Italian government agreed to a €600 million/$666 million bridge loan to keep (ALI) flying for 6 months and special commissioners called for parties to express their interest by June 5. “(ALI) sources confirm 32 expressions of interest had been received. Now (ALI) commissioners are assessing the many offers in order to decide which of them to admit to (ALI)'s data room. The data room will be opened mid-June, between June 15 and June 20. As to the companies, the procedure has to meet certain requirements therefore the names have to remain confidential at this stage.”

While the candidates are not being disclosed, (RYR) has confirmed it is among them. “We have submitted an expression of interest. As previously stated, we are not interested in buying (ALI). However, we have offered to feed Alitalia’s long-haul traffic, given we are the largest airline in Italy with the largest route network. We are preparing to deploy up to 20 aircraft initially over a 2-week period this summer if (ALI) cuts capacity significantly. We’ve written to the Italian government and said if something untoward happens, don’t worry, we will step into the breach,” an (RYR) spokesman said.

Ryanair (RYR) recently began offering connections between its own flights at Rome Fiumicino, but the spokesman said this was a long-planned initiative that had no connection with its interest in Alitalia (ALI).

(ALI)’s flights continue to operate normally and on June 6, (ALI) announced plans to return to India (after a 9-year absence) with a daily Airbus A330 Rome Fiumicino - New Delhi service, which will launch October 30 and run through the winter until March 24, 2018.

Male in the Maldives will also join (ALI)’s network as of October 31 and (ALI)’s Los Angeles flights will continue for the winter season.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) will launch connecting flights through Milan Bergamo July 3, another move away from point-to-point services for (RYR) following the successful launch of connecting flights at Rome Fiumicino last month. (RYR) will offer connections on 25 routes via Milan Bergamo, linking Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Corfu, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Lamezia, Madrid, Malaga, Malta, Naples, Palermo, Pescara, Trapani, Valencia and Zaragoza.

News Item A-3: "O’Leary: Ryanair Labs will Ultimately Dwarf Ryanair"
by Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com, June 27, 2017.

Ryanair (RYR)’s airline operation will ultimately be just a small segment of a broader Amazon of travel-type business, according to (CEO) Michael O’Leary. “In 10 years’ time, we will become a big data platform with an airline attached. (RYR), the airline, will be an ancillary business. (RYR) will be like a tick. The potential of this thing is enormous,” he said, speaking at the "Future Travel Experience Europe" conference in Dublin.

(RYR) has done a heavy digital push under its "Always Getting Better" program, creating (RYR) Labs Information Technology (IT) innovation centers in Dublin, Ireland, and Wroclaw, Poland. In May, it announced the opening of a 3rd lab in Madrid, Spain. “We are now looking for a 4th [Labs location],” O’Leary said.

The Irish center, which was the 1st, was originally expected to employ 200 people over 5 years. 4 years later, >200 are in place in Dublin, along with another 180 in Wroclaw and 40 of an anticipated 250 in Madrid, with the 4th center in the pipeline. In 2016, (RYR) invested €25 million/$28 million into Labs and this year the figure is expected to double to €50 million.

“Customers who are not customers of (RYR) will be customers of (RYR) Labs,” O’Leary said. An example of this would be a passenger traveling on Spanish leisure airline Air Europa (ARE) which has just started selling tickets through (RYR)’s website.

(RYR) plans to tap the Labs data to predict customer needs and spending patterns, while also using its huge customer base to broaden its remit. “We have a vision of the future where we are the Amazon of travel,” he said. “(RYR) will become a one-stop shop, as the internet continues to dis-intermediate processes over the next 5 to 10 years.”

O’Leary rejected suggestion that Amazon (AZO) could do this itself, because the online retail giant would not be able to duplicate (RYR)’s cost base. “(AZO) can’t buy us and we’re not for sale. They can’t own us anyway [because of foreign ownership rules]. Until someone develops Star Trek-style travel, people will need to fly. That is not up for disruption.”

This strategy will see (RYR) 1stly snatch the low-hanging fruit of hotels and car hire, before disrupting in-person airport retail operations, leveraging its huge customer base. “By doing it for nothing, that is how we will blow up the likes of [online hotel room specialist] booking.com,” O’Leary said.

He added that airport shops will be downgraded to showrooms. While the shops will still pay rent, (RYR) will use its website as a payment and delivery platform, cutting out airport commissions. “Together [with retailers], we’re going to screw the airports,” he said.

Despite its strong digital focus, (RYR) is still not ready to install connectivity on its fleet. “We are slow to adopt. We don’t want to be explorers. Explorers get shot,” he said.

August 2017: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) launched the Boeing 737 MAX 200, with a firm order for 100 airplanes valued at $10 billion. The deal also includes purchase options for a further 100 airplanes, with deliveries beginning in 2019 and lasting through 2023.

(RYR), Europe’s largest ultra low cost carrier (ULCC) already operates a fleet of 300 Boeing 737-800 airplanes, with a further 180 copies on order. It will become the 1st operator of the larger 200-seat variant worldwide, though it will only configure the airplane with 197 passengers. The additional airplanes will allow (RYR) to boost its fleet size to 520 airplanes by fiscal year 2024, driving growth to 150 million passengers per annum. Based on current growth projections for European air travel, (RYR)’s goal is to control roughly one sixth of the European air travel market within a decade.

Boeing had announced the increase in the 737 MAX 8’s seating capacity from the 189 offered on the 737-800 to 200 at July’s Paris Airshow. The increase will be achieved by incorporating a mid-exit door and raising the airplan’s exit limit accordingly. The +5.8% increase in seat capacity will allow the 737 MAX 200 to achieve unit costs at least 5% lower than those of the 737 MAX 8, which already projected to be -13 to -14% cheaper to operate than the present day 737-800. Thus Boeing (TBC) expects the airplane to gain wide acceptance from airlines, especially (ULCC)s, around the world.

The order is a boost for Boeing (TBC), who has won >2,373 orders and commitments for the re-engined 737 MAX since its launch in 2011. However, even with (RYR)’s order, sales of the 737 MAX continue to lag those of rival Airbus’ A320neo, which has won 3,288 firm orders and commitments since launch.

Despite its large 737 fleet, (RYR) has often had tense relations with Boeing (TBC). (RYR) was launched with used aircraft, but placed its 1st order for 45 737-800s in 1998. (RYR) followed that order with additional orders for 155 737-800s in 2001 and a further 100 in 2003. Because it had ordered in bulk, Boeing had granted (RYR) substantial discounts. However, when 737 Next Generation (NG) family valuations rose sharply in the past half-decade, it became clear that (RYR) had gotten a steal. Due to (RYR)’s policy of selling airplanes before their 1st heavy maintenance check (which can happen anywhere between 6 and 8 years after entry into service [EIS]), Boeing is also worried about the effect of undervalued (RYR) airplanes on after-market values. Eager to avoid the same fate, Boeing held firm in negotiations for an order for 200 airframes in 2009. Talks collapsed, and (RYR) didn’t place its order for 175 737-800s until March of last year. This time around, negotiations appear to have gone more smoothly. And despite the rhetoric of (RYR) Head Michael O’Leary, who has threatened at times to defect to Airbus’ A320 or even upstart (COMAC)’s C919, the Dublin-based giant has once again returned to the fold.

News Item A-2: Zodiac Seats USA was selected by Irish low cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) to supply Z110 economy (Y) seats for Boeing 737 MAXs.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) has filed complaints with Germany’s competition authority and the European Commission (EC) over the handling of airberlin (BER)’s assets since it filed for insolvency.

(RYR) called the insolvency “manufactured” and said it was being structured to allow the Lufthansa Group to take over a “debt-free airberlin (BER), which will be in breach of all known German and European Union (EU) competition rules.”

September 2017: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) estimates that crew-related cancellations over the next six weeks will cost around €25 million/$29.9 million, with (CEO) Michael O’Leary describing the situation as “a mess of our own making.”

On September 15, (RYR) announced it was canceling 2% of its flight schedule over the next 6 weeks to restore punctuality levels, which dipped around 10 points to below <80% over the past couple of weeks because of air traffic control (ATC) problems, weather disruption and crew-leave changes.

The strongest driver appears to be the crewing changes. (RYR) has been told by Irish aviation regulator (IAA) to change its leave year, which currently runs from April to March, to the calendar year from January 1, 2018. All leave must be allocated before then.

“Ryanair (RYR) is not short of pilots (FC) (we were able to fully crew our peak summer schedule in June, July and August) but we have messed up the allocation of annual leave to pilots (FC) in September and October because we are trying to allocate a full year’s leave into a 9-month period from April to December. This issue will not recur in 2018 as (RYR) goes back onto a 12-month calendar leave year from January 1 to December 31, 2018,” (RYR) said on September 18.

The cancellations have stirred up anger among affected passengers and impacted (RYR)’s share price, undermining the customer image gains (RYR) has made through its "Always Getting Better" program.

Reacting to the backlash, O’Leary said: “This is a mess of our own making. I apologize sincerely to all our customers for any worry or concern this has caused them over the past weekend.”

(RYR) published a list of cancellations for September 21 to October 31, focused on high-frequency routes from 9 bases: Barcelona, Brussels Charleroi, Dublin, Lisbon, London Stansted, Madrid, Milan Bergamo, Porto and Rome Fiumicino. Typically, just 1 daily frequency is affected. “These cancellations have been allocated where possible, to (RYR)’s bigger base airports, and routes with multiple daily frequencies so that (RYR) can offer these disrupted customers the maximum number of alternate flights and routes in order to minimize inconvenience to them,” (RYR) said.

Passengers will be offered alternative flights on the same or next day, or a full refund and their EU261 passenger rights compensation, which is a large driver behind the cost estimate.

(RYR) has been keen to stress that <2% of its passengers will be affected and that the current list impacts <50 flights per day.

Some passengers say they will never fly Ryanair (RYR) again after a crew vacation schedule fiasco caused it to cancel hundreds of flights. Do you believe them?

"O’Leary’s Mea Culpa" by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog, karen.walker@penton.com September 2017.

Who thought we’d ever see the day that Michael O’Leary said sorry?

In seriousness, (RYR)’s €25 million/$29.9 million chaos caused by a crew vacation scheduling error is certainly serious (his company’s customer relations fiasco is exactly the moment when the guy at the top needs to apologize. Especially when the (CEO) is someone who has a reputation for no-holds public statements and calling out others on their mistakes (including his own customers)).

(RYR) is the butt of many European tabloid headlines: The Mirror: “The shaming of (RYR);” Daily Mail: “Flightmare!” And there are plenty of stories of ruined vacations, honeymoons and weddings in jeopardy, and irate passengers who say they have no information on when they will fly.

But to be fair, (CEO) O’Leary held a press conference, put himself in front of the cameras and apologized unreservedly, describing the situation as “a mess of our own making.” And he claimed responsibility personally, saying he would not resign because “it is my mess-up, and a mess I have to clear up.”

(RYR) is going to have to do a lot more than say sorry, starting with getting its customers where they expected to go and compensating them ((RYR) has just made itself Exhibit A for the European Commission (EC) to justify its passenger rights regulations and compensation laws).

But saying sorry, publicly, quickly and unequivocally, is important too. And it appears that when he messes up, O’Leary can be as blunt on himself as he more typically is on others. It's almost worth $30 million to see it.

News Item A-2: Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s Norwegian (NWG) and Ryanair (RYR) have abandoned plans to form a connecting flight partnership, after (NWG) decided to enter into a similar tie-up with UK (LCC) easyJet (EZY).

(RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary had previously said a connecting deal had been agreed with (NWG) and (RYR)/(NWG) were just working on technical implementation, whereas (NWG) remained far quieter on the talks. “(RYR) is the 1 that has pretty much talked about this all the way,” (NWG) (CFO) Tore Ostby said.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR), is holding talks with Air Malta (MLT) over future areas of cooperation as (RYR) steps up its involvement in the small Mediterranean island.

The 2 carriers did not specify the nature of the potential cooperation. Maltese media reports suggested that a code share partnership, or combined sales and marketing initiatives, are in the cards. The news came as (RYR) announced a dozen new routes to Malta. 3 services (Belfast, Naples and Riga) will start in October, while the others (Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bratislava, Gothenburg, Paris Beauvais, Porto, Pescara, Seville, and Tallinn) will begin in the summer 2018 season. (RYR) estimates the new services will add some 700,000 passengers to the 1.8 million it already carries to Malta annually.

Ryanair (RYR) will also base a 5th Boeing 737-800 on the island.

(RYR) noted its increasing interest in connecting flights means that Malta-originating traffic could link up with 20 long-haul destinations operated by Spanish airline Air Europa (ARE) via Madrid and that Maltese travelers could also connect on to (RYR) services at Rome Fiumicino and Milan Bergamo.

Malta’s tourism minister, Konrad Mizzi, described the announcements as a vote of confidence in the island’s tourism sector.

News Item A-4: "Ryanair Cuts Free Hand Luggage Allowance" by (ATW) Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.co September 6, 2017.

Ryanair (RYR) will cut its regular hand-luggage allowance from 2 pieces to just 1 in a bid to reduce boarding delays.

(RYR) currently allows all passengers to bring 1 large (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) and 1 small (35cm x 20cm x 20cm) item of hand luggage into the cabin. This is more generous than (UK) low cost carrier (LCC) rival easyJet (EZY), which strictly enforces a 1-bag policy for non-priority passengers.

However, with load factors running at 97% LF in August, (RYR) said there is not enough overhead bin space for 182 customers to each have 2 carry-on bags (364 bags in total), causing flight delays.

Under the changes, which takes effect on all flight departures from November 1, (RYR) will require non-priority passengers to give up their 2nd, larger bag at the gate. There will be no fee for this service, although the bag must be handed over at the gate and not the check-in desk. Any non-priority passenger refusing to give up their 2nd bag will be offloaded without refund.

Priority passengers will still be allowed to take 2 pieces on board and will queue in a separate, 2-bag line. (RYR) offers a number of priority options, starting at €5/$6.

(RYR) is also cutting its checked bag fees from €35 to €25 and increasing the weight allowance from 15 kg to 20 kg/15 lbs to 44 lbs per piece.

“This will actually cost us, we estimate, €50 million in lost bag revenue because of the drop in the price of bags,” Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said. “Too many people are trying to bring 2 big bags with them and it simply doesn’t work.”

Excessive hand luggage and knock-on boarding delays is an ongoing problem for airlines. (EZY) just introduced a service where passengers can pay to check in their hand luggage in the departures hall for a reduced fee.

News Item A-5: Ryanair (RYR) had another typically quiet week at the office, launching 25 routes from 3 (17 routes from Frankfurt (FRA), 6 from Memmingen (FMM) and 2 from London Stansted (STN).

The average sector length of these new routes is 1,400 km, with the longest being the 3,236 km flight between Frankfurt and Tenerife South (TFS), whereas the shortest was the 489 km hop from the German hub to Milan Bergamo (BGY).

Again proving that there is a new (RY) in town these days, the average frequency of the 25 routes is a lofty 4.32, a far cry from the 2x-weekly start-up frequency that used to proliferate (RYR)’s launches historically. Just under half (12) of the airport pairs will face direct competition from incumbent airlines.

News Item A-6: Ryanair (RYR) has said it is no longer interested in acquiring part of Italian flag carrier Alitalia (ALI), as it instead focuses on its own pilot (FC) crewing crisis.

Over recent weeks, (RYR) has been forced to cancel around 20,000 flights, affecting 715,000 passengers. The cancellations have been driven by a pilot (FC) leave crunch, as (RYR) transitions from an April to March leave year to the calendar year from January 1, 2018.

In an update issued September 27, (RYR) said: “In order to focus on repairing this rostering problem this winter, (RYR) will eliminate all management distractions starting with its interest in (ALI). We have notified the (ALI) bankruptcy commissioners that we will not be pursuing our interest in (ALI) or submitting any further offers.”

(RYR) had previously said it was bidding to buy around 90 (ALI) aircraft.

Speaking in London on August 31, (RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary had said (RYR) would be submitting a bid for (ALI)’s aircraft, their crews (FC) and engineering (MT) staff. O’Leary was also interested in (ALI)’s long-haul fleet. If the bid had been successful, (ALI) would have continued to operate under its own name.

(RYR) has been growing its presence in Italy, which it selected as the launch country for connecting flights within its own network.

Alitalia (ALI) entered the Italian equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in May after staff blocked a deal that would have allowed a fresh injection of funds from shareholders.

Bidders have until October 16 to make binding bids for the struggling Italian airline.

See attached photo:
"RYR-2017-09 Top Contributor.jpg."

October 2017: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has posted a +10% increase in traffic for September, despite high-profile crewing ((FC) - (CA)) problems that have forced (RYR) to cancel thousands of flights.

During the month of September, (RYR) carried 11.8 million passengers, up +10% on the same month in 2016. Rolling annual traffic grew +12% to 127.3 million. (RYR)’s average load factor rose 2 points to 97% LF.

“These figures include the 2,100 flight cancellations announced for September and October,” (RYR) Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said. (RYR) said it has now refunded or re-accommodated 98% of customers who were impacted by the cancellations in September and October. “The remaining 2% of affected customers have yet to contact us,” (RYR) said.

News Item A-2: Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister is launching legal action against Ryanair (RYR) for unfair commercial practices as the fallout from (RYR)’s cancellation of thousands of flights (which came about after it mishandled scheduling of pilots (FC)’s leave) continues. Kris Peeters, who also is Belgium’s Mnister of Consumer Affairs, said he would file a request for a prohibitory injunction with the Commercial Court against (RYR).

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR), rocked by rostering errors that have forced (RYR) to cancel thousands of flights over the next 5 months, has appealed to its pilots (FC) to stand by the company. (RYR) has also offered to increase salaries to match or exceed those of competitor airlines, a move that (CEO) Michael O’Leary hopes will help attract new personnel from other carriers.

News Item A-4: "Ryanair Pilots Win Support of Southwest Airlines Crews in Bid to Unionize" by Benjamin D Katz & Mary Schlangenstein, Bloomberg News, October 10, 2017.

Pilots (FC) at Ryanair Holdings Plc got a boost in their bid to unionize from counterparts at Southwest Airlines (SWA), the USA carrier that provided a blueprint for Europe's biggest discount operator.

As the crisis surrounding the cancellation of 20,000 flights continues to swirl, the (SWA) Pilots' Association are ready to help their (RYR) colleagues, offering to host meetings as well as provide assets and resources, Jon Weaks, the union's President said in an interview. "I'm preparing a letter to send offering support," said Weaks, whose union represents 8,700 pilots and is based in Dallas. "We're on standby to help them in any way."

The backing from flight crew (FC) at the biggest USA discounter follows an offer of legal, organizational and financial assistance from American Airlines (AAL) Group's Allied Pilots Association. The involvement of (SWA) is symbolically significant as (RYR) (CEO) Michael O'Leary used the company's business model as a template after taking the top job in 1994.

Weaks said he is willing to travel to Ireland to meet with (RYR)'s pilots (FC), although no financial assistance has yet been offered and his union's involvement remains preliminary. USA labor groups are aiding (RYR) staff as they seek to stem the spread of outsourced recruitment and contracts, though Weaks added that organizing pilots (FC) has been tough given management's anti-union stance.

(RYR) shares fell -0.9% at 10:09 am in Dublin. The stock has declined > -4% since the initial cancellations were announced on September 15.

* Model Company

Even as (RYR) faces potential upheaval from organizing pilots (FC), it has stablilized operational issues, with 98% of passengers refunded or re-accommodated on alternative flights.

While (RYR) "deeply regretted" scrapping flights through the winter flying schedule, the move has lifted punctuality, with 97% of flights leaving on time last week after dropping to <70% in the weeks leading up to the crisis, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Kenny Jacobs said.

O'Leary last week made the rare move of directly appealing to pilots (FC) with an improved pay deal aimed at stemming defections to competitors including Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG) and the UK's Jet2 (JT2). "It's like indentured servitude," Weaks said of the relationship between (RYR) and its pilots (FC). "O'Leary likes to take the good things" from (SWA) Co-Founder and former (CEO) Herb Kelleher, but "doesn't follow through on walking the walk."

News Item A-5: "Bellew to Return to Ryanair as (COO) by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker karen.walker@penton.com October 17, 2017.

Current (COO) Michael Hickey is stepping down at the end of October after (RYR) was forced to make hundreds of cancellations, costing (RYR) millions of euros, because of crewing problems related to a government-mandated change in how it allocates vacation time. (RYR) is now offering pay increases and bonuses to pilots (FC) in a bid to prevent an (FC) shortage. (RYR) pilots (FC) have expressed their anger at the disruptions caused by the scheduling chaos and many are believed to be looking to join other airlines.

RYR) said on October 6 that Michael Hickey, would be stepping down. The current crisis arose after (RYR) failed to adequately prepare for a change in regulations that require it to squeeze 6 months of annual leave into its final quarter, prompting the scrapping of services for some 700,000 customers.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) (CEO) and Group Managing Director Peter Bellew will leave his post in December to rejoin (RYR) as (COO). (RYR) announced the rehiring of Bellew, who worked at (RYR) until 2014 and was Flight Operations Director. He will join (RYR) in Dublin on December 1.

Bellew will take over responsibility for (RYR)’s Flight & Ground Operations & Engineering, but have specific responsibility for pilot (FC) production, training and career development. He will have “a mission to ensure the pilot (FC) rostering failure which (RYR) suffered in early September will never be repeated,” (RYR) said.

Bellew joined Malaysia Airlines (MAS) in August 2015 and became CEO in July, 2016, succeeding Christoph Mueller. “Peter has an unrivalled knowledge of our business model and how we maintain controlled growth, with industry leading punctuality, for the benefit of our customers and our people. Peter will lead a significant transformation in the way we reward and interact with our pilots (FC), improve their working environment and career development over the coming years,” (RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary said.

“I look forward to working with all the team and all the crews I know so well to further develop our growth to 600 airplanes over the next 6 years,” Bellew said.

News Item A-6: "Ryanair’s Scheduling Mess has Consequences for its Cost Base" by Helen Massy-Beresford, ATWOnline October 19, 2017.

Thousands of canceled flights and disgruntled customers; reprimands from regulators and slower growth this winter. After what (CEO) Michael O’Leary described as a mess of Ryanair (RYR)’s own making over the allocation of pilots (FC)’s leave, it’s fair to say the Irish (LCC) has had a difficult few weeks.

But with the short-term situation seemingly under control (flights mostly rebooked, customer communications improved and regulators placated) the real challenge begins.

How can Ryanair (RYR) retain its workforce while keeping a lid on costs in an increasingly competitive European market?

It will be a complicated juggling act, but industry watchers are confident that (RYR)’s management can pull it off.

The cost of the pilot (FC) leave debacle itself (estimated by (RYR) to be around €25 million/$30 million before the 2nd wave of cancellations and changes to the winter schedule were announced (may be small change in the context of a net profit of +€1.3 billion in the last financial year).

But longer-term, higher labor costs now seem likely. Earlier this month, as rumors swirled about pilot (FC) shortages, mass desertions to rivals and pilot (FC) plans to unionize, O’Leary, usually more outspoken than contrite, was forced to plead with (RYR)’s pilots (FC) not to jump ship, offering more money and a mea culpa for “management failure” in a letter to them.

Captains (FC) can now expect a pay increase of +€10,000 and first officers (FC) +€5,000 at 4 of (RYR)’s largest bases: Dublin, London Stansted, Berlin Schönefeld and Frankfurt (the letter said, while offers at other bases depend on competitor pay. There will also be a 12-month “loyalty bonus” of up to €12,000 for captains (FC) and up to +€6,000 for first officers (FC), payable monthly from November 2017 to October 2018. The money is aimed at preventing departures to competing airlines.

“It looks as if there will be some escalation in pilot (FC) costs if they pay these bonuses and loyalty bounties,” (JLS) Consulting Director John Strickland said. “How much labor costs go up and whether they can claw back savings in other areas will be the key to what the final calculation comes out at. They’ve certainly recognized that they had an own goal and they simply cannot afford to have that again in terms of their credibility.”

Finding ways to offset the pay rises, as well as a pledge to benchmark pilot (FC) pay against competitors Jet2 (JT2) and Norwegian (NWG) and exceed their salaries if (RYR)’s are found to be lower, will be a challenge.

“Could they enter into negotiations with partners such as airports or aircraft maintenance providers? It won’t be easy, but it is in their (DNA) to always focus strongly on costs,” Strickland said.

But that cost-cutting reputation works both ways ((RYR)’s strong track record on minimizing costs means it will be harder for it to find any remaining areas with room for maneuver).

However, Strickland is confident that (RYR)’s management will find a way out of its difficulties, and believes the fact that (RYR) has maintained its full-year financial guidance is a good sign. “The financial markets are a key barometer, and so far, they are buying into what Ryanair (RYR) management is telling them,” he noted.

“They run a tight ship and this is obviously going to use up some management time, but that is partly why they are trying to move quickly. They have the benefit of the winter being a quieter season which gives them a chance to regroup.”

* Court ruling

The need to placate and retain angry pilots (FC) is not the only labor issue (RYR) is facing.

In a ruling before the cancellations were announced, the European Court of Justice came down on the side of employees who wanted to be allowed to take (RYR) to court in Belgium, where they were based and performed their duties, rather than in Ireland, where (RYR) is headquartered and their employment contracts were issued.

This development also has the potential to increase (RYR)’s costs over the long-term, forcing it to rethink where and on what type of contracts it hires employees.

Some analysts estimate the ruling could add +5 TO +10% to the airline’s cost base in the next few years. O’Leary insisted there would be no increase.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. “In terms of costs per passenger, employee costs at (RYR) come in fifth, after fuel, airport and handling, ownership and maintenance, and route charges,” Warwick Business School professor of strategy Loizos Heracleous said.

Employee costs account for €5 out of a €27 total excluding fuel, he explained. “Therefore, any reasonable increases will not have a large impact on (RYR)'s bottom line. Further, potential changes in employee terms presume lengthy court cases with uncertain outcomes.”

Heracleous is also confident that (RYR) will be able to weather its labor-related difficulties. “Even though the recent cancellations have a reputational impact at (RYR), the longer term performance implications are not significant, given its size and fast growth. (RYR) will continue to be the dominant player in the low cost sector in terms of numbers of passengers (120 million over the last year and counting) and in terms of profitability with a +20% net profit, versus an industry average of +8%.”

November 2017: "Ryanair Rolls Out New Digital Initiatives" by (ATW)
Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com November 8, 2017.

Ryanair (RYR) has rolled out a series of new digital initiatives as part of its "Always Getting Better" (AGB) improvement program, including connecting flights at Porto Airport in Portugal.

(RYR) will initially start connecting on 20 of its own routes at Porto, effective January 3, 2018. This builds on the (RYR) - to - (RYR) connections the (LCC) is already offering at Rome Fiumicino and Milan Bergamo airports in Italy.

Connecting passengers will be able to travel under 1 booking and transfer between flights airside, without reclaiming their bags.

Under the 4th year of (AGB), (RYR) has upgraded its accommodation platform Ryanair Rooms, launched a Chinese website, and gone live on Ryanair Tickets, where passengers can book London West End shows. More events and attractions will be added to (RYR) Tickets over the coming months.

(RYR) has also added more personalization for customers booking through "MyRyanair," so passengers can see preferred routes and recent searches, as well as recommended products and services. (RYR) said this forms “the 1st phase of an extensive personalization upgrade, with tailored special offers to follow.”

“Our improved Ryanair Rooms site, new Chinese website, personalized website and Ryanair Tickets are the latest steps on our journey to becoming the Amazon of Travel,” (RYR) Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said.

December 2017: News Item A-1: "Ryanair Labor Conflict Worsens as Ryanair Pilots Vote to Strike on December 20" by Helen Massy-Beresford (ATW) Plus, December 12, 2017.

Conflict between Ryanair (RYR) and its pilots (FC) is escalating in the run up to the busy holiday travel period after (RYR) pilots (FC) said they would strike on December 20 and a German union said negotiations were the only way to avert a strike, adding to similar calls for strikes in Portugal and Italy in recent days. Long-running tensions between (RYR) and its work force have been thrown into the spotlight since September with the mishandling of its pilots (FC).

News Item A-2: On December 15 (RYR) finally agreed to recognize pilot (FC) unions for the 1st time in its 32-year history, in a bid to stop the 1st pilot (FC) strike in its history from taking place.

(RYR) pilots (FC) later suspended a planned 24-hour strike after (RYR)’s management took the unexpected step of agreeing to recognize their union as a representative of Ireland-based pilots (FC).

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) is facing its 1st-ever pilot (FC) strike after German pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) called for a 4-hour walkout on December 22. (VC) wants all of (RYR)’s full-time pilots (FC) based in Germany to go on strike starting at 5 am on December 22, affecting departures at its German bases. The union said “unsatisfactory talks” with (RYR) led to the decision. (RYR) (COO) Peter Bellew said he was “shocked” by the move.

News Item A-4: Ryanair (RYR) has applied for slots to base 9 airplanes at Berlin’s Tegel airport from summer 2018 in a challenge to easyJet (EZY)’s expansion plans at the airport and in the broader German market following airberlin (BER)’s collapse. (RYR) which also has 9 airplanes based at Berlin Schonefeld, has previously criticized the way (BER) assets are being divided up, with Lufthansa (DLH) set to take over the bulk of (BER)’s assets if it gets the green light.

News Item A-5: Ryanair (RYR) will end its partnership with global distribution system (GDS) provider Amadeus on December 15, after both parties were unable to reach a renewed commercial agreement.

In September 2014, the 2 companies entered into a partnership making Amadeus (RYR)’s 2nd (GDS) as part of a drive to attract more business customers. (RYR) began listing fares on the platform from November 1 the same year.

(RYR) said it will continue to service travel agents through its (GDS) partnerships with Travelport and Sabre, whose commercial agreements remain unchanged.

(RYR) (CMO) Kenny Jacobs said, “Our distribution partnership with Amadeus will end December 15 next after a new commercial agreement could not be reached. We wish Amadeus well and thank them for their support during our successful (GDS) partnership. We will continue to work together through our use of the Navitaire platform, an Amadeus company.”

Amadeus (IT) Group global head also confirmed that the distribution with (RYR) “will end this month, and therefore (RYR) will no longer distribute its content in the Amadeus system as of December 15, 2017.”

The partnership continues through Navitaire, an Amadeus company, as (RYR) is a Navitaire New Skies customer.

(RYR) assured customers this move will not impact access to (RYR)’s low fares, which are still available on the company’s website.

News Item A-6: Viva Air (QUD) has firmed an order for 35 Airbus A320neo and 15 A320ceo single-aisle aircraft. The group originally signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) for the aircraft at the Paris Air Show in June.

(QUD) said the aircraft will be operated by the group’s airlines VivaColombia and Viva Air Peru and will allow the 2 all-Airbus operators to modernize their fleets and capture growth opportunities across Latin America. “This order reflects our long-term commitment to our customers lowering fares further due to the benefits of this new fleet,” (CEO) & Founder of VivaColombia, William Shaw said. He added that the group planned to accelerate its growth throughout Latin America.

The Airbus (EDS) - VivaColombia relationship began in 2012 when the airline began operations with A320s. VivaColumbia, based in Medellin, has been an all-Airbus operator since, and today operates 11 A320s.

Viva Air recently launched Viva Air Peru, which currently operates 3 A320s.

Viva Air is a Panamanian-headquartered group created by Irelandia Aviation and led by Declan Ryan. Irelandia specializes in developing (LCC)s and has 6 around the world: Ryanair (RYR), Allegiant (WJE), Tigerair (TGR), VivaAerobus, VivaColombia and most recently Viva Air Peru. Combined, the airlines have a fleet of >420 aircraft.

January 2018: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) is taking steps toward basing airplanes in France, and plans to hold talks with Paris and regional airports in the coming weeks. This follows (RYR)’s decision to recognize unions made basing airplanes in France a possibility, (RYR)’s Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said. (RYR) was forced to change its policy of not recognizing unions in December, after a pilot (FC) rostering crisis that began in September and led to thousands of flight cancellations.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) said all 15 of its UK pilot (FC) bases had voted in secret ballot to accept pay increases of up to 20%, including London Stansted Airport, which had previously rejected the offer of improved pay, with the increases to be paid in its January payroll. The Dublin-based (LCC) has been scrambling to head off an employee-relations crisis, offering improved pay for pilots (FC) and taking the surprise step in December of changing its long-standing policy and agreeing to recognize unions.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) is hopeful of having its much-discussed feeder connection with Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (ARL) operational this year, (RYR) Head of Marketing Kenny Jacobs said on January 30.

February 2018: News Item A-1: "Ryanair Closes Glasgow International Base, Blames Passenger Taxes" by Alan Dron (alandron@adepteditorial.com), February 27, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) will close its base at Glasgow International Airport in Scotland because of the UK’s high passenger taxes, and will transfer routes to Edinburgh, some 45 miles to the east. “(RYR) regrets these cuts in the weaker Glasgow market where efforts to stimulate low fare demand are severely hampered by the continuing burden of Air Passenger Duty (APD),” (RYR) (CCO) David O’Brien said.

The UK’s departure tax, or (APD), is 1 of the highest in the world and UK airlines have for years complained it has a depressing effect on the market. “As a result, we will transfer our Glasgow International-based aircraft to Edinburgh in November, where we will offer 11 new routes and deliver >3.5 million passengers per annum at Edinburgh Airport,” O’Brien said. A single Boeing 737-800 is based at Glasgow International; (RYR) is maintaining its base at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

A Glasgow International spokesman said the airport is “bitterly disappointed” at (RYR)’s decision, which would affect the connectivity of the city and the surrounding area, and result in the loss of around -100 jobs.

He added the decision was made as part of a (RYR) review of its single-airplane bases. “However, [there is no doubt] it is also a consequence of the Scottish government’s inability to introduce its proposed -50% cut in air departure tax (ADT),” he said.

The Scottish government in Edinburgh, which has significant autonomy from the UK parliament in London, plans to replace (APD) with a lower level of (ADT), but legal issues have stalled the process.

“Despite clear and repeated warnings from both airports and airlines about the potential impact of this policy not being implemented, we are now faced with a stark scenario that includes the loss of 20 services and a significant number of jobs,” the airport spokesman said. “This is the 2nd example in as many months of an airline cutting capacity in Scotland because of the lack of movement in cutting (ADT).”

“Our Glasgow base opening was based on the government’s promise to abolish APD. The government has yet to deliver on that promise and so the capacity has been allocated to the stronger market,” a (RYR) spokesman said.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) said it has signed a formal union recognition agreement with the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) making it the sole representative body for (RYR)-employed pilots (FC) in the UK, where 25% of its pilots and fleet are based.

(RYR) has been fighting to head off an employee-relations crisis since a pilot-rostering mix-up led to a wave of flight cancellations and disruptions starting in September. These incidents highlighted long-running tensions within (RYR)’s workforce.

In December, (RYR) agreed to change its long-standing policy of not recognizing unions. Earlier this month, pilots (FC) at the last remaining UK bases agreed to accept the pay raises that were offered by (RYR) in a bid to avoid mass desertions to rivals.

(BALPA) General Secretary Brian Strutton said the recognition agreement was historic, given (RYR)’s previous hostility toward unions. “While we were initially skeptical about (RYR)’s sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade-union relationship,” Strutton said.

(BALPA) is now planning elections for 5 (RYR) Company Council representatives to lead negotiations on behalf of all (RYR) members on issues such as pay, hours, rostering and holidays. There also will be an election for an advisory group for (RYR) contract pilots, as they are not employed directly by the company.

(RYR) Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson noted the agreement validated (RYR)’s decision to recognize unions but added that the rapid progress in the UK was in contrast to a slower pace in other countries.

“We now call on these unions to stop wasting time, act quickly to deliver 20% pay increases to our pilots (FC) in February, and conclude formal recognition agreements, which they are presently sitting on,” Wilson said. He added the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association has been warned (RYR) would offer the pay increase to pilots (FC) individually if the union failed to organize a vote by February 1.

Ryanair (RYR) anticipates that its decision to recognize trade unions may result in some “localized disruption,” but said it is prepared to face any such problems. Announcing the financial results for its (3Q) (FY) 2018 period, (CEO) Michael O’Leary said negotiations with unions are going well in some countries, less so in others.

News Item A-3: Air France (AFA) - (KLM) has started looking at how it could expand formerly loss-making Transavia France (TVF)’s fleet beyond the 40 airplanes it is limited to by an agreement with labor unions. It hopes the subsidiary could help it stave off intensifying competition from other low cost carriers (LCC)s in the French market.

“We have started the process of considering the development of (TVF) beyond the 40 airplanes, with the objective of regaining a strong position including on routes from (French) provincial cities to Europe, where low-cost competition is particularly strong,” (AFA) - (KLM) (CEO) Jean-Marc Janaillac said. (AFA) - (KLM)’s full-year 2017 results, released last week, showed Transavia (TAV) the low-cost subsidiary (which also has operations in the Netherlands) earning an operating profit and growing its passenger numbers.

Transavia (TAV) has 73 Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s in total, including 29 airplanes within its (TVF) French operation. It has plans for a further four airplanes to arrive in 2018 for its French operation. An agreement with Transavia France (TVF)’s labor unions currently caps the French operation’s growth at 40 airplanes by 2020, meaning it could only take 7 more aircraft beyond the 4 scheduled to arrive this year.

Transavia (TAV) posted an 11.3% year-over-year (YOY) increase in passengers to 14.8 million in 2017, with capacity up +10.5% and (RASK) rising +6.8%. Its operating profit for the year was +€81 million/+$100 million, up from breakeven in 2016. “We have supported the development of our low-cost airline Transavia (TAV), and today we are happy to note that the airline is operating at costs that are entirely comparable to its low-cost competitors in Europe, making it a real driver of competitiveness for the group,” Janaillac said. “The year 2017 demonstrated (TAV)’s potential and our objective is that Transavia (TAV) continues to support group growth in point-to-point traffic in 2018.”

A group spokesperson added: “(TAV) is currently focused on realizing its objectives, as part of a road map we have charted together. As for extending its scope after 2020, we are going to examine the company’s positioning in excess of 40 airplanes as we are aware of Transavia France (TVF)’s growth potential.”

Competition within France is growing, both from the (TGV) high-speed train services and from other (LCC) competitors.

Ryanair (RYR), which previously was prevented from basing airplanes in France because it did not recognize unions, has now changed that stance and said in January it was talking to French regional airports and hoped to have aircraft based in France by winter 2018 or summer 2019.

(RYR) has said it could have around 30 airplanes based in France across 4 bases within the next 3 to 4 years, doubling its traffic in France, where it currently has just a 6% market share.

News Item A-4: "Ryanair Boosts German Operations" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann (hofmann.aviation@netway.at), February 28, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) is expanding its German network by adding 4 new routes from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, but will transfer some flights from Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) because of weak economic performance.

(RYR) said it will operate for the 1st time from Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf this summer. With 2 additional based Boeing 737-800s at Palma de Mallorca, 4 new German peak summer routes (June to August) will be launched. These include 6x-weekly services to Berlin Tegel; daily to Dusseldorf; 4x-weekly to Nuremberg; and 3x-weekly to Stuttgart. The number of flights from Palma to Cologne will rise to 13x-weekly and up to 5x-weekly between Palma and Dortmund.

In addition, (RYR) is downsizing its (HHN)-based fleet from 5 to 4 737-800s beginning March 25, and will transfer 4 routes to (FRA). The network from (HHN) will be reduced to 40 routes.

“(RYR)’s decision to reduce the number of aircraft based at [HHN] from 5 to 4 is due to weak economic performance, as demand for (RYR) aircraft at other airports across Europe increases at the same time,” (RYR) (CCO) David O’Brien said in a statement.

The route-transfer to (FRA) includes services to Porto, Portugal; Venice Treviso; Valencia, Spain; and Zadar Croatia. The (HHN) - Plovdiv, Bulgaria, route will be closed.

March 2018: News Item A-1: "Ryanair, Aer Lingus to Partner on Connecting Flights" by Helen Massy-Beresford, (ATW) Plus March 5, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) and Aer Lingus (ARL) plan to launch connecting flights this year, a spokeswoman for (RYR) confirmed, after Irish media reports said the 2 carriers had signed a deal that would help boost passenger numbers through Dublin. “As we have previously stated, we hope to start operating connecting flights with (ARL) this year,” the spokeswoman for (RYR) said.

News Item A-2: "Ryanair Has Brighter Brexit Outlook" by
Alan Dron (Alandron@adepteditorial.com), March 7, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) is more optimistic that flights between the UK and the European Union (EU) will not come to a grinding halt, when the country leaves the bloc (Brexit) in March 2019.

Speaking in London March 7 as he unveiled (RYR)’s new environmental policy, Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said progress has been made in Brexit negotiations in recent weeks.

In the past, (RYR) had predicted a complete cessation of air services between the UK and the 27-nation bloc if a suitable agreement is not reached between the 2 sides.

Jacobs said that recent comments by UK Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK would continue to have close relations with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) means the negotiations over the aviation sector appear to be heading in the right direction.

He added that discussions with other major airlines at the Airlines for Europe lobbying body in Brussels on March 6 had encouraged (RYR): “We don’t think flights will be grounded in 2019. The 2 sides are definitely getting closer to a transition deal that will manage to the end of 2020.”

However, he cautioned more work must be done to ensure the same problems do not arise when the UK and the (EU) come to the end of the planned transition period at the close of 2020.

“What happens after January 2021 is more uncertain. The signals there are more negative than we would like. Market access is not guaranteed.” His feeling is that a new UK - USA "Open Skies" agreement would not grant the same flexibilities that existed between the USA and the (EU), of which the UK was currently part. That could result in restrictions in USA - UK capacity, with fewer flights and higher fares.

Introducing (RYR)’s environmental policy, Jacobs said this would partly be driven by the arrival of (RYR)’s new Boeing 737 MAX 200 fleet, a customized version of the 737 MAX with extra capacity. (RYR)’s existing 737-800 fleet already produced an -86% noise reduction compared to the 737-200 and that figure would rise to -93% with the latest variant.

The new airplanes are also expected to produce a -13% to -14% reduction in fuel consumption over the 737-800; (COO) Peter Bellew said that an early 737 MAX adopter, Indonesia’s Lion Air (MLI), was reporting a +17% improvement on its long sectors.

(RYR) also tries to minimize emissions by flying its airplanes a few knots slower than most airlines, Bellew said, adding it had the best record of any airline in adhering to track on landing approaches, minimizing noise nuisance to people on the ground.

(RYR) has introduced a voluntary €1/$1.25 environmental levy on each fare, that passengers could pay to offset their carbon emissions. (RYR) will donate the resulting funds to charities in the climate change sector, he said.

(RYR) has previously announced its intention to eliminate all non-recyclable plastics from the company within 5 years.

News Item A-3: Ryanair (RYR) and Aer Lingus (ARL) plan to launch connecting flights this year, a spokeswoman for (RYR) confirmed, after Irish media reports said the 2 carriers had signed a deal that would help boost passenger numbers through Dublin. “As we have previously stated, we hope to start operating connecting flights with (ARL) this year,” the spokeswoman for (RYR) said.

News Item A-4: "Ryanair to Offer Direct Contracts to German Pilots in Next Few Weeks" by Conor Humphries, "Reuters" March 15, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) will offer direct employment contracts this month to all pilots (FC) in Germany who are currently on contracts via an agency.

(RYR) has come under fire from unions, especially in Germany, for its practice of employing some pilots (FC) via 3rd-party agencies, such as McGinley Aviation. (RYR) last year decided to recogniz unions in an attempt to improve relations with its pilots (FC) and ease a staffing crunch.

"McGinley Aviation have decided to withdraw from supplying contract pilots (FC) for (RYR) in the German market, and (RYR) has now begun the process of offering these contractors direct employment."
McGinley also said that after a review of operations, it would cease to provide contractors in Germany from October 31. "We continue to supply contractor pilots (FC) to all other countries in (RYR)'s growing European network and look forward to a future continued relationship with our customer" a spokeswoman said via email.

(RYR) has so far agreed union recognition deals in Britain and Italy and hopes for similar in Spain by the end of the month. Goodbody analysts said the move to offer direct contracts in Germany should help to ease relations between (RYR) management and the German pilots union. A spokesman for German union Vereinigung Cockpit said it would 1st have to see the terms of the new direct contracts before commenting.

News Item A-5: "Pilot Union Signs Protocol to Unite Ryanair’s European Pilots" by (ATA) Victoria Moores (victoria.moores@informa.com) March 19, 2018.

The European Cockpit Association (ECA), which indirectly represents >38,000 pilots (FC) across Europe, has signed a protocol, which it says will give pilots (FC) at (RYR) a pan-European voice.

The (ECA) brings together national pilots (FC)’s unions from across the European Union (EU) member states, as well as from 2 associate pilots’ unions from outside Europe.

On March 19, the (ECA) announced plans to create the (RYR) Transnational Pilot Group (RTPG), bringing together the (RYR) company councils of (ECA)’s pilot-union members. The protocol was signed at an (ECA) conference in Luxembourg on March 17.

The (ECA) said the (RTPG) will be able to pool resources, legal, political, technical and collective bargaining know-how. “With this new protocol, pilot associations and their (RYR) Company Councils join forces to achieve their aims, such as: direct permanent employment contracts subject to local law, equal & transparent career opportunities across the network, and effective collective representation for all (RYR) pilots regardless of country or base. The protocol also establishes the (RTPG) as being the primary (RYR) pilot body for all transnational matters,” the (ECA) said.

Since September 2017, (RYR) has been forced to cancel thousands of flights in 2 tranches because of pilot scheduling issues. (RYR)’s pilots subsequently sought union recognition, which (RYR) had previously resisted. Under the threat of strike action, (RYR) agreed to union talks and has signed several union agreements since then.

“The setting up of this transnational pilot (FC) group is a clear signal to (RYR) management to engage in constructive and meaningful social dialogue both at national and at transnational level,” the (ECA) said.

(RYR) did not immediately respond to a request for comment; therefore, it is unclear whether (RYR) will officially recognize the (RTPG).

News Item A-6: "Ryanair Pushes Ahead with Expansion with First Flights to Turkey" by Graham Fahy "Reuters," March 15, 2018

Ryanair (RYR) added Turkey to its list of destinations, continuing an expansion from its traditional European markets by dipping a toe into a large market where the tourism sector is showing signs of recovery.

(RYR), Europe's largest budget carrier, which this month began flying from Jordan for the 1st time, will operate 2 new routes weekly from Dublin and Bratislava to the SW Turkish resort of Dalaman from June.

Turkey's tourism industry has suffered in recent years as travel companies and airlines switched their attention to Spain after militant attacks and a failed military coup affected demand for travel to Turkey. The resulting competition put pressure on prices and was 1 of the reasons behind the demise of airlines Air Berlin (BER) and Monarch (MON) last year.

However Europe's largest travel (TUI) group (TUG) said last month that bookings for Turkey had picked up, echoing rival Thomas Cook (GUE)/(JMA) which also saw increased demand.

Hoteliers have predicted that tourism in Turkey will make a major comeback this summer as Germans and Russians flock back to its beaches. The number of foreign visitors to Turkey was up +28% at 32.4 million in 2017 and is expected to rise further to >38 million this year.

(RYR) carried almost 130 million passengers last year, the vast majority on routes in the European Union (EU), but it also flies to some non-(EU) countries, including Israel and Morocco.

(RYR) also said on Thursday it will offer direct employment contracts within the next few weeks to all pilots (FC) in Germany who are currently on contracts via an agency.

News Item A-7: "O’Leary’s Winning Hand with Lauda" by Karen Walker
(karen.walker@informa.com) in (ATW) Editor's Blog March 20, 2018.

Michael O’Leary must have played a lot of "Risk" as a boy. And he frequently won, judging by how he played his hand over LaudaMotion (NKI), a prize that was keenly sought by Lufthansa (DLH) and British Airways (BAB) owner, the (IAG).

The March 20 announcement that Ryanair (RYR) has struck a deal with Niki Lauda to take up to a 75% stake in his newly-acquired LaudaMotion (NKI) startup is a fascinating twist in a fast-changing story. It started years ago with Lauda himself, when the Formula 1 racing car champion and pilot (FC) launched NIKI (NKI), an Austrian-based airline that was acquired by airberlin (BER) in 2011.

After airberlin (BER) filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in late 2017, and NIKI (NKI) also stopped operating. A small airline, with 1,000 staff operating a leased fleet of around 20 Airbus A321s and 7 wet-leased TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) Boeing 737s, NIKI (NKI)'s strategic importance and potential was still clear and the industry giants were quick to advance. The (IAG) and Lufthansa (DLH) were among those that bid, for different reasons. (NKI)’s Vienna-based network across Austrian, German and Swiss cities, linking them to other popular European leisure destinations, lay in the heart of Lufthansa Group territory. A turf that Lufthansa (DLH) wants to defend from new (LCC) competition, and 1 where (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh hoped to grow by making (NKI) part of the (IAG)’s Spanish (LCC) Vueling (VUZ) operations. The (IAG) described (NKI)’s network with airports such as Dusseldorf, Munich, Palma, Vienna and Zurich as “an attractive slot portfolio.”

Not surprisingly given that portfolio, (NKI)’s bid to buy (NKI) was thwarted by European competition authorities. Walsh, who said (NKI) was “the most financially viable part of airberlin (BER),” believed he had sealed the deal with a €20 million/$24 million bid plus the provision of up to €16.5 million in liquidity. At the end of December, the (IAG)’s was the only remaining bid.

But then the courts stepped in and ruled that NIKI (NKI)’s bankruptcy process must be held in Austria, not Germany,. where the (IAG) deal was struck. This time, it was the (IAG)’s plan that was upended; by mid-January, Lauda himself was not just back in the game, but once more, the owner of his namesake airline. His was the winning bid for (NIKI), Austrian and German administrators declared January 23, and Lauda announced he would re-brand and relaunch "(NKI)" as "LaudaMotion." As we now know, however, the game was still not concluded. Always on the sidelines, quietly expressing interest but never really declaring his hand, was (RYR)'s O’Leary, a man not known for keeping his thoughts to himself.

As it turns out, he and his exec team have been spending some time in Vienna and negotiations went well, ending with an agreement in which (RYR), the Irish (LCC) giant will take a 24.9% stake in LaudaMotion (NKI), with a plan to grow ownership to 75% if competition authorities allow.

While (DLH) might protest, it’s hard to see what the competition watchdogs won’t like about this deal. Where (RYR) goes, ultra-low fares follow. (RYR)’s size, muscle and strong financial position will ensure not just the survival of a small (LCC) startup on (DLH)’s back door, but also its growth. Lauda and O’Leary will likely enjoy shaking up that market.

O’Leary kept his cards close through NIKI (NKI)’s final chapter. During that time, Walsh and Lufthansa Group (CEO) Carsten Spohr revealed quite a bit about how they intended to use the (NKI) assets. That will be important information to the Lauda - O’Leary team as they move forward with their new partnership. There may still be risk, but you can bet that with this leadership, every step will be meticulously calculated.

News Item A-8: A series of planned one-day strikes called by Portuguese cabin crew (CA) union National Union of Civil Aviation Personnel (SNPVAC) is threatening Ryanair (RYR) service to Portugal over the upcoming Easter holiday.

(RYR) said some flights were canceled and others disrupted March 29 after members of the (SNPVAC) cabin crew union went on the 1st of 3 planned one-day strikes over working conditions, a move (RYR) called “unnecessary and unjustified.”

“The vast majority of our Portuguese crews are working normally this morning [March 29],” (RYR) said. “A small number of 1st wave flights from Portugal suffered minor disruptions. Just 3 1st wave flights were canceled, but these customers are being re-accommodated on extra flights operating this morning from (RYR) bases outside Portugal, flying into Porto and Faro.”

The next 2 strikes are set for Easter Sunday April 1 and April 4. Easter is a long weekend holiday in most European countries and a major vacation travel period.

(RYR)’s uneasy relationship with its workforce has been in the spotlight since the September 2017 pilot (FC) leave scheduling debacle, which in turn caused thousands of flight cancellations. Consequently, the company is taking the unexpected step of increasingly recognizing unions across Europe, having previously refused to negotiate with them.

News Item A-9: Watch video on pilot boogie woogie performance:

April 2018: "Ryanair Takes Options on 25 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes" by
Helen Massy-Beresford (helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk), April 24, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) is exercising options on 25 Boeing 737 MAX 200 airplanes bringing its total firm orders for the type to 135. The 1st 737 MAX is scheduled to arrive in the 1st half of 2019.

“These airplanes, which are valued at >$3 billion at current list prices, increase (RYR)’s total orders to >650 737’s since 1st partnering with Boeing in 1994, and allow (RYR) to grow its traffic to 200 million customers per annum by 2024.”

(RYR) placed an order for 100 737 MAX airplanes in 2014, with an option for 100 more. (RYR) still has a further 75 options remaining from that order and will take delivery of the 1st of the airplanes in spring 2019.

(RYR) operates an all-Boeing fleet with an average age of 6-and-a-half years. (RYR) said the new airplanes will reduce fuel consumption by up to -16% and noise emissions by -40%, while offering +4% or +8 more seats per flight (197 versus 189) than its 737-800NGs.

In June 2017, (RYR) also announced it was buying an additional 10 737 MAX 200s, 5 of which would be delivered in the 1st half of 2019 and the rest of which would be arriving in the 1st half of 2020.

May 2018: "Ryanair's Full-year Profit up 10% Despite Cancellations"
by (ATW) Victoria Moores (victoria.moores@informa.com), May 21, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR)’s net profit for 2017 to 2018 has risen +10% to €1.45 billion/$1.71 billion, delivering a 20% net margin, even after thousands of flight cancellations in fall 2017, but rising labor and fuel costs mean a weaker result is expected for 2018 to 2019.

(RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary said the profit increase had been achieved despite overcapacity in Europe, weaker fares, rising fuel prices and the impact of the fall 2017 crew-scheduling crisis.

During the 12-month period, (RYR) carried 130.3 million passengers at a 95% LF load factor. Passenger numbers were 9% up on the prior year, even though 25 aircraft were grounded over the winter months because of the crewing problems.

Average fares fell -3% to €39.40, but revenue still rose +8% to 7.2 billion. “Ancillaries now deliver 28% of revenue and we are well on track to achieve our 5-year goal of 30%. More guests are switching to our great value ‘plus’ fares, reserved seating, priority boarding, and car hire. (RYR) penetration is rising steadily, albeit from a low base,” O’Leary said.

Fuel hedges drove a -1% decline in unit costs, but excluding the impact of fuel, unit costs were up +3%. This was driven by compensation payments for the 2017 cancelations and higher 2nd-half labor costs, when (RYR) was forced to agree to “substantial pay increases.” (RYR) has now agreed to new 5-year pay deals with most of its pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA).

After the crew-scheduling crisis, O’Leary was forced to recognize unions, a move which he had historically resisted. (RYR) has since signed recognition agreements with pilots (FC)’s unions in the UK and Italy. O’Leary said (RYR) is also making “considerable progress” on cabin crew (CA) negotiations in the UK and Spain.

“We will continue to deal openly and fairly with our people and their unions, but we will not make concessions on pay or productivity which threatens either our low-cost model or our cost leadership in Europe,” O’Leary said.

Despite these headwinds, he insisted (RYR) has a “significant cost advantage” over its rivals. “We expect this leadership to continue,” he added. However, fuel will be “a major cost headwind” for the next 24 months. (RYR) is 90% hedged for 2018 to 2019 at around $58 per barrel, compared with the current spot price of almost $80.

“Air fares tend to follow oil prices (as they have downwards over the last 3 years), but with a lag of up to 12 months before higher oil prices feed through to higher air fares,” O’Leary said. Higher staff and fuel costs will drive a +9% unit cost increase in 2018 to 2019, narrowing to 6% ex-fuel.

Over the year, (RYR) has taken delivery of 50 Boeing 737s, taking its fleet to 430 airplanesa. (RYR) also increased its 737 MAX-200 order to 135 airplanes, with a further 75 on option. O’Leary said these 737 MAXs, as well as a lower-cost 10-year engine maintenance agreement, will help deliver “flat or slightly declining non-fuel unit costs.”

(RYR) fell short of its 90% on-time performance target, with punctuality slipping by 2 points to 86%. “We are working hard to increase staffing at our larger bases, re-designing boarding procedures, and providing additional spare airplanes in summer 2018 to improve our punctuality to our 90% target, which is a key Always Getting Better [improvement program] target for the coming year.”

During the period, (RYR) established a Polish charter airline, Ryanair Sun, which started flying in April. O’Leary said this start-up and “looks set to trade profitably in its 1st 12 months of operation.”

(RYR) also recently announced it is acquiring 24.9% of Austrian carrier LaudaMotion (NKI), with plans to increase this to 75% subject to regulatory approval. O’Leary said (NKI) will fly from Austria and Germany to holiday destinations, primarily in Spain. “(NKI) is an attractive opportunity, as it is an Airbus operator, and we are looking for opportunities to grow its Airbus fleet to 30 to 50 airplanes over the next 5 years. (NKI) has a valuable portfolio of slots at many congested airports in Germany, Vienna, and Palma de Mallorca. We believe that by investing in these separate airlines, we can build a substantial and profitable group of (EU) airlines under the Ryanair Holdings banner over the next 3 years, when it is likely that further merger and acquisition opportunities will arise.”

If the 75% buy-in is agreed, (RYR) estimates that (NKI) will incur almost €100 million in start-up costs and operating losses over the next 2 years, partly because of “expensive aircraft leases from Lufthansa (DLH).” He said that (NKI) will be “modestly profitable and self-sustaining” once those leases expire.

(NKI)’s impact is excluded from (RYR)'s 2018 to 2019 guidance for a +€1.25 to 1.35 billion net profit, down from +€1.45 billion in 2017 to 2018. O’Leary described this outlook as being “on the pessimistic side of cautious. We expect to grow traffic by +7% to 139 million, at flat load factors of 95% LF. Unit costs this year will rise +9%, due to higher staff and oil prices which will, when adjusted for volume growth, add >€400 million to our fuel bill. Ex-fuel unit cost will rise by up to +6% as we annualize pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) pay increases, and invest in our business and our systems,” he said.

O’Leary is expecting above-average European capacity growth to continue, depressing fares, followed by some upward pressure because of higher oil prices. “(RYR) will continue to pursue our load factor active/yield passive strategy. No other (EU) airline can compete with (RYR)’s prices,” he said.

Forward bookings are strong, but pricing remains soft. (RYR) is anticipating fares will drop by -5% in the 1st quarter, before improving +4% in the 2nd quarter. “While still too early to accurately forecast close-in summer bookings or 2nd-half fares, we are cautiously guiding broadly flat average fares for the 2019 financial year. Ancillary revenues will grow as penetration of customer services continues to rise. We do not expect ancillary revenue growth to fully offset higher costs and lower fares, and so we expect full-year 2019 profits will fall to a range of €1.25 to 1.35 billion,” O’Leary said.

By 2024, (RYR) is aiming to carry 200 million passengers per year, supported by a fleet of 600 airplanes.

June 2018: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) has started 16 new sectors in the last 7 days, with (RYR) boosting its operations primarily from Manchester (MAN) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI), as well as opening a new base in Düsseldorf (DUS).

The longest sector is the 2,623 km route from Manchester to Agadir (AGA), whereas the shortest city pair is the link from Zaragoza (ZAZ) to Palma de Mallorca, at just 363 km. The average sector length of all 16 services is 1,314 km, while the average frequency is 3.8x-weekly. Only 5 of the 16 airport pairs will see no incumbent airlines, with 2 routes from Palma de Mallorca to Stuttgart (STR) and Düsseldorf to seeing (RYR) face 6 competing carriers.

News Item A-2: "Italy Fines Ryanair $2.1 million for Flight Cancellations" by Alan Dron (alandron@adepteditorial.com), June 15, 2018.

The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has fined Ryanair (RYR) €1.85 million/$2.1 million for mass cancellations of flights because of personnel rostering problems in the fall 2017 and early 2018.

The (ICA) concluded in September 2017 that (RYR) had cancelled numerous flights as a result of its own organizational and management failings, rather than extraordinary circumstances outside its control. These cancellations, the authority said, caused “considerable inconvenience to consumers who had long planned their travels and already booked and paid for their flight ticket.”

Added to this, the competition authority said (RYR) had been “misleading” in the ways in which it informed the passengers of the cancellations, as it offered them only the options of a refund or ticket change, without adequately informing them of the existence of their further right to financial compensation under the European Union (EU)’s Regulation 261/04 (EU261). (EU261) stipulates compensation of several hundred euros per passenger in the event of flights being cancelled or delayed beyond a certain point, if the cause was within an airline’s control.

However, from February 2018, during the course of the authority’s investigation into the matter, (RYR) “changed its conduct, updating the information conveyed on its website, specifically in relation to the right to pecuniary compensation, as well as sending individual communications to interested consumers who have enabled them to fully understand all the rights due to them following the cancellation of flights and, consequently, to exercise them.”

The (ICA) said this proactive action on (RYR)’s part resulted in it reducing the fine to €1.85 million, although it did not specify the amount by which it had been reduced. “We note the ruling, which our lawyers are reviewing,” (RYR) said.

July 2018: News Item A-1: "Ryanair Braces for Irish Pilot Union Strike July 12; Cancels 30 Flights" by Helen Massy-Beresford (helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk), July 11, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) has canceled 30 flights between Ireland and the UK on July 12, with pilots (FC) in Ireland expected to maintain a planned strike over concerns about base transfers and pilot seniority agreements, despite plans for (RYR) to meet the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) union.

(RYR) and the Irish trade union Forsa, of which (IALPA) is a branch, met July 11 but the (RYR) said after the meeting it had offered to set up a working group to discuss its written proposals on seniority, base transfers, recognition and a new annual leave system but "regrettably agreement on this sensible course of action wasn't possible after 7 hours of talks."

Forsa had said before the meeting it still expected the strike to go ahead.

(RYR) said it had tried to avert the strike, which it described as unnecessary given the written proposals on seniority, annual leave and base transfers it had offered to its pilots (FC) and the union. “We regrettably must plan for some disruptions on Thursday and try to minimize their impact, especially upon Irish customers and their families traveling on holidays to Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Greece,” (RYR) said July 10.

(RYR) said it would cancel up to 30 of its 290 flights to and from Irish airports on July 12 (with high-frequency routes from Ireland to London and other UK destinations affected. All other Ireland to Europe flights were set to go ahead as scheduled.

(RYR) said 94 of its >350 Irish pilots (FC) were set to take part in the strike.

(RYR) only began recognizing unions in December 2017 after a flight cancellations crisis forced it into a U-turn on its previous stance of dealing only with employee representative councils. So far it has recognition agreements in place with UK and Italian pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) unions. (RYR) said it could not rule out further disruption in July and August.

* "Ryanair Irish Pilot Union Calls for More Strikes July 20 & 24" by
Helen Massy-Beresford (helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk), July 13, 2018.

(RYR)’s Ireland-based pilots (FC) have called 2 more 1-day strikes on July 20 and July 24, as a conflict with (RYR)’s management continues despite ongoing talks between the 2 sides.

(RYR) Pilots’ Association (IALPA), a branch of union Forsa, said that the union and management had found some common ground in July 11 talks on a proposal that a joint working group could help the parties agree on a fair and transparent method to govern base transfer arrangements and related matters, but had failed to reach agreement on the terms of reference for such a group. After a 1-day strike went ahead July 12, the union issued a statement announcing 2 more.

“On a number of occasions in recent months, there have been suggestions that 3rd-party facilitation could assist in reaching consensus on issues of disagreement,” IALPA said in a statement. “It is, therefore, regrettable that (RYR) management has so far rejected the suggestion of 3rd party assistance.”

(RYR) canceled 30 flights between Ireland and the UK in anticipation of the July 12 industrial action, which (RYR) said was unnecessary given it had made written proposals on seniority, annual leave and base transfers to the pilots (FC) and the union.

“Given that today’s strike by 25% of our Irish pilots (FC) has achieved nothing, we hope that they will now accept our offer to set up a working group to discuss, explain and resolve their issues,” (RYR) said July 12.

(RYR) only began recognizing unions in December 2017 after a flight cancellations crisis forced it reverse course on its previous stance of dealing only with employee representative councils. So far, it has recognition agreements in place with UK and Italian pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) unions.

News Item A-2: "(EU) Approves LaudaMotion Takeover by Ryanair" by
Kurt Hofmann (hofmann.aviation@netway.at), July 13, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) said it welcomed the European Commission (EC)’s decision to approve (RYR)’s proposed acquisition of a 75% interest in Austria-based LaudaMotion (NKI) on July 12.

(RYR) currently owns 24.9% in (NKI).

In March, (RYR) entered into partnership with Niki Lauda, ex-Formula 1 racing car champion and founder of bankrupt airberlin (BER) subsidiary NIKI (NKI), after he retook ownership of (NKI) in January and rebranded the bankrupt carrier as LaudaMotion. The new carrier launched operations March 25.

However, (RYR)’s dispute with Lufthansa (DLH) continues and (RYR) believes LaudaMotion (NKI) is currently under threat by (DLH), which (RYR) said is attempting to remove the 9 aircraft (DLH) was obliged by the (EC) to provide to LaudaMotion to allow the new Austrian carrier to restart services.

(RYR) Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer Juliusz Komorek said: “We urge the (EU) competition authorities to take action and prevent any further attempts by (DLH) to damage competition through its anti-consumer behavior,” Komorek said.

(RYR) complained that (DLH) failed to deliver 2 of the 11 Airbus A320 family aircraft they were required to under the (EU) competition decision concerning (DLH)’s acquisition of (BER).

Some of the aircraft (DLH) had committed to deliver are being delayed until after the summer 2018 season, further reducing LaudaMotion (NKI)’s ability to take up slots and offer 2018 flights and services.

(NKI) operates a 19-aircraft fleet this summer by wet leasing 10 Boeing 737-800s from (RYR).

SEE PHOTO: "RYR-2018-07 10 737-800 (RYR) WET-LEASED TO (NKI).jpg.

(RYR) also said (DLH) delayed a payment of >€1.5 million/$1.75 million of wet-lease payments properly due to (NKI) for flights that LaudaMotion (NKI) operated for Lufthansa (DLH) (especially for its (LCC) Eurowings (EWG)) in March, April and May.

(DLH) said in a July 13 statement the claims are without foundation and it has fully complied with all requirements of the (EU) regarding the demanded transfer of aircraft to LaudaMotion (NKI). This affects both the number of aircraft and the contractually agreed upon lease terms.

Niki Lauda told (ATW) July 13 that he expects the lease of these 9 aircraft to continue as planned for a total period of 3 years.

A (DLH) spokesperson in Frankfurt told (ATW) a German court is doing judicial review and initial results will be announced July 20 on whether the termination of the lease contracts is correct or not. “(DLH) assumes that this is correct. It is clear that an immediate termination of the lease contracts would then come into effect and the aircraft will return to (DLH),” the spokesperson said.

News Item A-3: "Ryanair’s German Pilots Back Strike Action" by Kurt Hofmann (hofmann.aviation@netway.at), July 30, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR)’s German pilots, represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, have voted to strike if (RYR) has not submitted a “negotiable offer” by August 6. According to (VC), 96% of German-based pilots (FC) voted in favor of the strike over pay and conditions. Strikes are announced at least 24 hours in advance.

(VC) Chairman of collective bargaining policy Ingolf Schumacher said, “We have given (RYR) a final deadline of August 6, 2018, to submit a negotiable offer. Unfortunately, this has not happened so far and discussions ended without the hoped-for progress.”

(VC) board of public relations and spokesperson Janis Schmitt said there are "around 400 (RYR) pilots (FC) based in Germany, and 80% to 90% of them are directly employed [with (RYR).”

“We hope that (RYR) will follow this call. There are still some days left,” Schmitt said. “Even if the signal of the ballot is not taken seriously, strikes (as in other European countries) are inevitable,” (VC) said in a statement.

Since negotiations began between (RYR) and (VC) in January on collective bargaining agreements, there has been no substantial progress. (VC) will hold a press conference on how to proceed on August 8.

(RYR) operates from 19 German airports, of which 10 of them are bases.

Meanwhile, (RYR) has invited the Irish pilots’ union Fórsa to meet and discuss Fórsa requirements after August 3 (the 4th strike day by 25% of Irish pilots (FC) that has disrupted 3,500 customer flights.

August 2018: News Item A-1: "Ryanair’s German Pilots to Strike August 10, 2018" by Jens Flottau (jens.flottau@aviationweek.com), August 8, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR)’s German pilots (FC), represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, have called for a 24-hour strike August 10, becoming the latest European pilot (FC) union to announce strike action. (RYR) said it will cancel around 250 flights to and from Germany on top of around 150 that have already been canceled because of strikes in Sweden, Ireland and Belgium. According to (RYR) Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs, (RYR) will operate around 85% of services. (RYR) typically has around 2,000 daily departures.

Jacobs said he believes (RYR) will reach a collective bargaining agreement with (VC) before the end of the year. “We are totally open to making progress with the union, but we will not change our business model,” Jacobs said in Frankfurt.

(RYR) started recognizing unions in December 2017 and has since been dealing with numerous collective bargaining negotiations in parallel.

In Germany, the dispute centers on pay levels and work conditions. (VC) is particularly keen to get the number of guaranteed hours up and wants to put various other mechanisms like medical insurance in place to improve work security. (RYR) said it has submitted much-improved proposals to (VC), but the union refused to participate in a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. (RYR) also committed to making all remaining contract pilots (FC) employment offers before the end of the year. Around 80% of the German (RYR) pilots (FC) are now employed.

(RYR) (COO) Peter Bellew said the strike was unfortunate, but believes it was “part of the narrative of the union that it had to happen.” He pointed out that it was a new experience for both sides to negotiate with each other, and that the tone had already completely changed since the 1st meetings late in 2017.

The 2 sides disagree over many of the figures. Whereas the union claimed (RYR) captains make <€160,000/$185,323 maximum per year, the company said up to €190,000 per year was possible.

New Item A-2: "Ryanair Cancels 400 Flights as Pilots in 5 Countries Strike" by Jens Flottau (jens.flottau@aviationweek.com), August 10, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) canceled around 400 flights in Europe, most of them in Germany, as pilots (FC) in 5 countries staged strikes as long-running tensions between (RYR) and its workforce come to a head.

Pilots (FC) in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Ireland followed calls by their respective unions, which was coordinated to maximize pressure on the airline, although demands differ by country.

(RYR) operates around 2,000 flights per day in the summer.

(RYR) recognized unions for the 1st time in December 2017 to prevent pilots in Ireland from going on strike just before the Christmas holidays. That move was preceded by what (RYR) said was a mistake in vacation planning in the pilot rosters that forced (RYR) to cancel around 18,000 flights between October and March and reduced capacity growth from the previously planned 9% to 4%. (RYR) also grounded 25 additional airplanes during the period to match airplane capacity with crew (FC) availability.

At the time, (RYR) denied it suffered from a crew (FC) shortage and a higher than usual number of pilot (FC) resignations, a claim that was rejected by many in the pilot (FC) community. Unions nonetheless saw a window of opportunity for their demands to be recognized.

Following the largest ever pilot (FC) strike at (RYR) Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier (LCC), union representatives made clear they are prepared to sustain a long dispute and that further walkouts even at short notice will follow, if management does not come up with new offers. In Germany, both pay and conditions are subject of negotiations. Pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit wants a higher level of guaranteed pay (versus variable pay for extra flying), job security, better medical insurance and pension contributions, among others.

(RYR) has previously said labor costs should not rise and it is not willing “to change the business model.” (RYR) threatened to move 6 of the 30 Dublin-based airplanes to Poland for the winter if demands make more Irish routes uneconomical.

(RYR) (COO) Peter Bellew pointed out earlier this week that some German markets were “marginal” and that ultimately (RYR) could make a “commercial decision” if the level of profitability was insufficient. He added that there are currently no such plans.

The comments were perceived as threats to kill jobs in the German public. “Antagonizing the workforce is never a good idea,” Bernstein Research analyst Daniel Roeska wrote in a note to clients. “Threats of action to move capacity around the network could lead to [even] greater levels of cooperation between unions across Europe, as they will try to leverage their combined strength (a strategy that forced (RYR) to accept unionization in the 1st place in December.”

Roeska anticipates rising labor costs and lower productivity. He also sees an earnings-per-share decline in the coming 2 years, with upside margin potential only emerging in 2021.

(RYR) faces significant uncertainty in the coming 2 years. Labor costs are just 1 issue, but it could also be hit by a further rise in fuel costs, which it is unlikely to be able to pass on to consumers. Brexit is also likely damaging to its UK business and makes (RYR) more dependent on growth opportunities in countries such as Germany, where union power is significant.

News Items A-3: Representatives of Ryanair (RYR) and Air Malta (MLT) signed an agreement that allows the sale of flights for (MLT) over (RYR)’s website. (RYR) customers will be able to book flights from Luqa to destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Russia after the deal is finalized. The list of new bookable destinations includes cities in Austria (Vienna), Israel (Tel Aviv), Russia (Moscow), Switzerland (Zurich) and in addition to airports in Morocco, Tunisia, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine.

This new partnership is the same as the agreement that (RYR) signed with Air Europa (ARE) earlier this year.

Passengers can book flights with Air Malta (MLT) via (RYR)’s website, but there is no code share arrangement between the 2 airlines.

(RYR) Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) David O’Brien commented that this is the latest initiative under (RYR)’s “always getting better” program, which is aimed at improving service. O’Brien pointed out that (RYR) offers 53 routes to and from Malta.

(MLT)’s Chairman, Dr Charles Mangion, called the deal a landmark deal. “This agreement will also help (MLT) increase its visibility in overseas markets and tap into new revenue streams,” he said. Mangion also added that the partnership with (RYR) is happening because of Air Malta (MLT)’s efforts to upgrade its Information Technology (IT) systems. He noted that the deal helps “address Air Malta’s online weakness.”

“Over the last year, (MLT) has made significant improvements not only to expand its network of destinations with more frequencies and destinations but also changing its product in terms of fare structure and onboard service, and we are also happy to help (RYR) to continue their journey to become the ‘Amazon of travel’,” Mangion continued.

September 2018: News Item A-1: "Ryanair Scraps Plan to Cut Dublin Fleet after Pilot Vote" by helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk, September 7, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) said it would not cut its Dublin-based fleet this winter after the (RYR) Pilots’ Association (IALPA) voted to accept a collective agreement, bringing to a close weeks of tense negotiations and a series of strikes.

(RYR)’s board has decided to restore 6 airplanes destined for transfer to Poland this winter to Dublin and has also withdrawn the notice it had given 300 Dublin-based pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) that their jobs were at risk, it said.

(IALPA) said September 5 its (RYR) members had voted unanimously to accept an agreement on base transfers, command upgrades and related seniority principles reached after lengthy negotiations including mediation between the 2 sides and strikes by some pilots (FC).

(RYR) had said after the result of the vote was announced September 5 that it would ask its board to reconsider the decision to transfer 6 airplanes to Poland in November for the winter 2018 schedule.

In July, (RYR) warned it would cut its Dublin-based fleet from 30 to 24 airplanes for winter 2018 because of rapid growth at its Polish charter airline and a downturn in forward bookings and air fares in Ireland, partly caused by strikes. It said 300 pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) would be given notice that their Dublin-based jobs were at risk in a move Forsa, the union of which (IALPA) is a branch, called “provocative” at the time.

(RYR)’s Chief People Officer, Eddie Wilson said September 7: “The board and management of (RYR) are committed to union recognition and working constructively with our people and their unions to address their reasonable concerns, as long as this does not alter (RYR)’s low-cost model or our ability to offer low fares to our customers.”

He added that (RYR)’s workforce had been given significant pay increases, improved terms and conditions and agreements on improved seniority structures, base transfers and annual leave since December, adding: “We have done this in a year when we expect profits to fall by -15% due to a combination of higher fuel prices and higher staff costs.”

(RYR) has also been hit by strikes in other European markets as it struggles to get agreements in place with unions, which it only agreed to recognize in December after a flight cancellations crisis forced its hand.

News Item A-2: Ryanair (RYR) pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) have called for a 1-day strike on September 12 at (RYR)’s German bases, forcing (RYR) to cancel 150 out of 400 daily flights. As a result, (RYR) has threatened to close bases in Germany if strikes continue.

Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), representing pilots (FC), and Verdi (flight attendants (CA)) called the strike, effective at 3 am September 12. (VC) said there has not been any progress in talks since its August 10 strike, which forced (RYR) to cancel 400 flights.

News Item A-3: "Ryanair Strikes Disrupt 40,000 Passengers Across Europe" by Daphne Psaledakis & Michael Serr, "Reuters" September 28, 2018.

A staff walkout at Ryanair (RYR) grounded planes in 6 European countries on September 28, disrupting the plans of >40,000 passengers.
(RYR) has faced multiple strikes since it bowed to pressure to recognize trade unions for the 1st time in December 2017, with staff stepping up pressure in talks over pay and conditions.

The impact on (RYR)'s bookings forced it to even consider cutting its short-term growth plans. Cabin crews (CA) in Germany, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, as well as pilots (FC) in Germany, began a 24-hour walkout as airspace opened on September 28.

(RYR), which initially canceled 150 flights due to what it said was an unnecessary strike by a "tiny minority of cabin crew", canceled up to 100 more on September 27 after German pilots (FC) said they would join the protest. (RYR) said that >2,150 of its 2,400 scheduled flights would operate as normal.

October 2018: News Item A-1: "Ryanair (1H) Profit Down -7% on (ATC) Strikes, and Higher Costs."

Ryanair (RYR)’s 1st-half profit fell -7%, hit by lower fares, air traffic control (ATC) strikes and higher fuel, staff and passenger compensation costs, which offset growth in ancillary revenues. (RYR) said the tough operating environment will lead to more airline failures this winter and it warned it could not rule out further (RYR) capacity cuts or base closures if oil prices rise or air fares fall further.

News Item A-2: "Laudamotion Returns Jets To Lufthansa"

Lufthansa (DLH) and Ryanair (RYR)-backed carrier Laudamotion (NKI) have settled a dispute over leasing contracts, avoiding a court hearing that was scheduled for November, both airlines announced.
German national carrier (DLH) said in July it wanted to end an agreement to lease planes to (NKI), claiming the Austrian leisure airline had failed to meet payments. A London court was scheduled to start proceedings for the case next month, as (NKI) rejected the allegations.

To resolve the row, (NKI), the Austrian subsidiary of (RYR), will return the 9 aircraft which it had leased from (DLH) during the 1st half of 2019, (NKI) and (DLH) said in a joint statement. “On that basis, both sides have settled the litigation between them,” the airlines said. “The matter will not, therefore, be heard by the High Court in London in November 2018.”

The dispute highlights the battle for market share in Germany and Austria after the collapse of Air Berlin (BER) with the European aviation market becoming highly competitive as low-cost carriers (LCC)s increasingly attract passengers from flagship airlines.
Laudamotion (NKI) will not suffer any shortage of planes despite returning the aircraft, as it will double its Airbus fleet instead. (NKI) has ordered 18 Airbus A320 aircraft which will be delivered in summer 2019.

(NKI) also flies 10 Boeing 737 jets from (RYR) in addition to its Airbus (EDS) jets. It plans to reduce the Boeing (TBC) fleet to 6 by summer next year, in line with (RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary’s target of operating a streamlined fleet.

News Item A-3: "Ryanair Appoints 3rd New Managing Director for LaudaMotion" by Kurt Hofmann (hofmann.aviation@netway.at), October 15, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) has confirmed (RYR) has appointed a 3rd Managing Director for Austria-based LaudaMotion (NKI). Former (RYR) Commercial Manager Colin Casey joins Managing Director Andreas Gruber & Founder Niki Lauda to lead the new Austrian carrier.

(RYR) owns 75% of (NKI); (NKI) holds the remaining 25%.

Niki Lauda (ex-Formula 1 champion and founder of former Austria-based airberlin (BER) subsidiary (NIKI)) retook ownership of NIKI (NKI) after airberlin (BER) filed for bankruptcy in August 2017. (NKI) filed for insolvency December 13, 2017 and abruptly ceased operations. Niki Lauda rebranded the bankrupt (NIKI) as “LaudaMotion.” Niki Lauda, who is recovering from a lung transplant, will hold his remaining 25% in LaudaMotion (NKI).

However, (RYR) (CEO) Michael O’Leary said recently it must invest more money because LaudaMotion (NKI) will lose approximately -€150 million/-$175 million in its 1st “very difficult” year, up from a previous estimate of €100 million, but it should break even in 2019 and turn a profit in 2020.

LaudaMotion (NKI) expects to carry 3 million passengers this year; the new airline has already achieved load factors of >90% and plans to double its Airbus fleet to 18 aircraft next year. “These 9 additional aircraft ensure that LaudaMotion (NKI) will grow again by at least 20% in 2019 to 5 million guests per annum,” Gruber said recently.

News Item A-4: "Ryanair, Spanish Pilots’ (FC) Union Ink Recognition Agreement" by Helen Massy-Beresford
(helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk), October 24, 2018.

Ryanair (RYR) has signed a recognition agreement with the Spanish pilot union (SEPLA) to cover all its directly employed pilots (FC) in Spain, (RYR) said on October 24.

(RYR) is in the process of getting agreements in place with unions, which it agreed to recognize in December 2017 after a flight cancellations crisis forced it to change a long-running policy of not negotiating with them. “Negotiations with (SEPLA) on a full collective labor agreement (CLA) under Spanish law will now commence in early November and Spanish labor law will apply to all (RYR) pilots (FC) in Spain by no later than January 31, 2019.”

The process of signing agreements has been a slow one so far with several strikes across Europe in the past months and (RYR) criticizing the involvement of union representatives that fly for other airlines in talks. (RYR) Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson said: “We continue to meet with our people and their unions and we expect that these agreements will encourage the cabin crew unions in both Spain and Portugal, in particular, to remove competitor airline employees, who have been blocking progress and to quickly conclude cabin crew agreements in those countries, as that’s what our Portuguese and Spanish cabin crew are now demanding.”

News Item A-5: "Investor Renews Call for Ryanair Management Change" by Helen Massy-Beresford (helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk), October 29, 2018.

A Ryanair (RYR) investor has renewed a call for management change at (RYR), saying (RYR)'s Chairman is not independent and has not adequately overseen recent labor issues. The investor also wants a succession plan to be put in place for (CEO) Michael O’Leary.

“The UK-based Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), which represents local government pension scheme funds, has informed (RYR) that it plans to file a resolution at the company’s next annual general meeting (AGM) recommending the replacement of David Bonderman with an independent Chair by the end of 2019.”

The (LAPFF) had already said Bonderman should step down after the most recent (AGM) on September 20, when shareholders approved all resolutions, but Bonderman was voted back in with 70.5% of the vote, compared with 89.1% last year.

(RYR) has been in conflict with pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) unions, leading to strikes in several European markets after a pilot (FC) rostering mix-up sparked a flight-cancellation crisis in September 2017. That led (RYR) to recognize unions for the 1st time and began a long-running and rocky process of getting agreements in place with cabin crew (CA) and pilot (FC) unions across Europe.

“The Forum also intends to file a resolution calling for (RYR) to publish succession plans for (CEO) Michael O'Leary as soon as is practical,” the (LAPFF) said. O’Leary was backed by 98.5% of shareholders at the (AGM), compared with 99.3% in 2017.

(LAPFF) Chair Ian Greenwood wrote to the Chair of (RYR)'s nomination committee on October 12 to set out the Forum's intentions, but (RYR) has not replied, the (LAPFF) said.

“The Forum does not consider Mr Bonderman to be independent,” it added. “He has been (RYR)’s Chair for 22 years. The Forum’s position is also that Mr Bonderman has been unsuccessful in his oversight of (RYR)'s employment issues. After 29.5% of (AGM) votes failed to back Mr Bonderman, (RYR) said it was listening to shareholder concerns. But on 1st-half results day, Mr O’Leary said Mr Bonderman could stay for another year or 2.”

The (LAPFF) said it would consult other (RYR) shareholders to seek backing for its proposed resolutions, adding: “The Forum hopes (RYR) will now start the process for replacing Mr Bonderman.”

In response, (RYR) said: “(RYR) shareholders recently passed all (AGM) resolutions by a large majority, including the nomination of directors and the Chairman. They appreciate how fortunate we are to have an outstanding Chairman like David Bonderman to guide the board and (RYR).”

News Item A-6: See video: "Become an Airline Pilot."

November 2018: News Item A-1: France’s civil aviation authority the (DGAC) has seized a Ryanair (RYR) airplane at Bordeaux-Merignac airport in a bid to force the (LCC) to pay back public funds that were judged illegal by the European Commission (EC) in 2014. The (DGAC) confirmed it had seized the airplane November 8 in a move related to public aid (RYR) received from a group of airports in the Charente administrative department of France in relation to its flights to Angouleme airport in 2008 to 2009.

News Item A-2: News Item A-5: "Industry Observers see no Upside out of Brexit for Aviation" by Jens Flottau (jens.flottau@aviationweek.com), November 27, 2018.

Major uncertainty continues across the European air transport industry about the impact of the UK’s pending split from the European Union (EU), and clauses on aviation within a new Brexit political declaration provide little reassurance.

In the non-binding joint declaration (a side paper to the formal withdrawal document agreed this week by the (EU) and the UK, there are brief clauses that reference mutual aspirations for commercial aviation. These include forming a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement to ensure connectivity and market access, and continuing cooperation on aviation safety and security via (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Administration. No details about implementation or timing are given.

The declaration and withdrawal plan need UK Parliamentary approval, with a vote scheduled for December 11. But that outcome is far from certain, keeping open the possibility of a “no-deal Brexit,” which would be the worst-case scenario for aviation.

Discussing the issue during the (CAPA) World Aviation Outlook Summit in Berlin on November 27, industry executives said major uncertainty continues about how Brexit will affect aviation. European Regions Airline Association (ERA) Secretary General Montserrat Barriga said (ERA) members were very concerned about the potential temporary grounding of flights between the EU and the UK in a hard Brexit scenario on March 29, 2019. Barriga cited the example of Luxembourg’s national carrier Luxair (LUX), for which the Luxembourg to London route is the most important single market and which has described that scenario as “catastrophic.”

Croon Callaghan Aviation Consulting analyst Jim Callaghan added, “There is no re-engagement with the industry about how to deal with [Brexit]. We are not much further ahead in terms of clarity than we were 2 years ago.”

Callaghan said there are 2 camps in the European airline industry. One, led by International Airlines Group (CEO) Willie Walsh, argues that Brexit will not cause disruptions, while the other group, led by Ryanair (CEO) Michael O’Leary, predicts chaos. “The truth probably is in the middle, but we don’t know,” Callaghan said.

He said the UK had not dealt with “some fairly fundamental practical issues” despite the increasing likelihood of a hard Brexit.
Regardless of how the UK leaves the EU, “there is no upside in Brexit for aviation,” Callaghan said.

Callaghan also stressed other travel-related impacts. If a hard border is reinstated between Northern Ireland, which will leave the (EU) as part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the (EU), then some 1 million passengers in the North that use Dublin Airport could find that no longer viable because of border controls that could add hours to their journey to the airport. Belfast Airport, however, might benefit.


Click below for photos:
RYR-737-700 - C Class-A.jpg
RYR-737-700 - C Class.jpg
RYR-737-800 - 2017-08.jpg
RYR-737-800 - 400th - 2016-04.jpg
RYR-737-800 1ST
RYR-737-800 LogoJet - 2016-11.jpg
RYR-737-8AS - 35013 - 2017-06.jpg
RYR-737-8AS - WITH WINGLETS - 2013-12
RYR-737-8AS 1834-33583 EI-DHZ 2016-11.jpg
RYR-737-8AS 1ST
RYR-737-8AS EI-DAJ 2016-11.jpg
RYR-737-8AS EI-DCG 2018-05.jpg
RYR-737-8AS EI-DCX 2018-01.jpg
RYR-737-8AS EI-FOK 2018-01.jpg
RYR-737-MAX 200 - 2014-09
RYR-737-MAX 200 - 2014-09-A
RYR-737-MAX 8 - 2017-10.jpg

November 2018:

2 737-4YO (CFM56-3C) (24917, EI-JRD; 26065, EI-JRE), (HCA) LEASED 2014-06.

1 737-470 (CFM56-3) (25178, OM-AEX), AIREXPLORE (EXP) WET-LEASED 2014-06.

1 737-436 (CFM56-3) (25839, OM-CEX), AIREXPLORE (EXP) WET-LEASED 2014-06.


183 ORDERS 737-800 NG (CFM56-7B), (TCI) LEASED:

116/100 ORDERS 737-8AS (CFM56-7B24), 189Y:

368 737-8AS (CFM56-7B24*/27) (210-29916, /99 EI-CSA*; 298-29917, /99 EI-CSB*; 307-29918, /99 EI-CSC*; 341-29919, /99 EI-CSD*; 362-29920, /99 EI-CSE*; 560-29921, /00 EI-CSF*; 571-29922, /00 EI-CSG*; 578-29924, /00 EI-CSI*; 588-29925, /00 EI-CSJ*; 722-29926, /00 EI-CSM*; 727-29927, /00 EI-CSN*; 735-29928, /00 EI-CSO*; 753-29929, /01 EI-CSP*; 757-29930, /01 EI-CSQ*; 1020-29931, /01 EI-CSR*; 1030-29932, /01 EI-CSS*; 1038-29933, /01 EI-CST*; 1050-29934, /02 EI-CSV*; 1061-29935, /02 EI-CSW*; 1140-32778, /02 EI-CSX*; 1167-32779, /02 EI-CSY*; 1178-32780, /02 EI-CSZ*; 1236-29936, /02 EI-CTA; 1238-29937, /02 EI-CTB; 1240-29938, /02 EI-DAC; 1249-33544, /02 EI-DAD; 1252-33545, /02 EI-DAE; 1262-22939, /03 EI-DAF; 1265-29940, /03 EI-DAG; 1269-33546, /03 EI-DAH; 1271-33547, /03 EI-DAI; 1274-33548, /03 EI-DAJ; 1310-33717, /03 EI-DAK; 1311-33718, /03 EI-CSL; 1312-33719, /03 EI-DAM; 1361-33549, /03 EI-DAN; 1366-33550, /03 EI-DAO; 1368-33551, /03 EI-DAP; 1371-33552, /03 EI-DAR; 1372-33553, /03 EI-DAS; 1418-22554, /03 EI-DAT; 1426-33555, /03 EI-DAV; 1428-33556, /03 EI-DAW; 1438-33557, /04 EI-DAX; 1441-33558, /04 EI-DAY; 1443-33559, /04 EI-DAZ; 1447-33560, /04 EI-DCB; 1463-33561, /04 EI-DCC; 1466-33562, /04 EI-DCD; 1473-35563, /04 EI-DCE; 1529-33804, /04 EI-DCF; 1530-33805, /04 EI-DCG; 1546-33566, /04 EI-DCH; 1547-33567, /04 EI-DCI; 1562-33564, /04 EI-DCJ; 1563-33565, /04 EI-DCK; 1576-33806, /04 EI-DCL 1578-33807, /04 EI-DCM; 1590-33808, /04 EI-DCN; 1592-33809, /04 EI-DCO; 1595-33810, /04 EI-DCP; 1613-33811, /04 EI-DCR; 1615-33812, /05 EI-DCS; 1617-33813, /04 EI-DCT; 1618-33814, /04 EI-DCV; 1631-33568, /04 EI-DCW; 1635-33569, /05 EI-DCX; 1637-33570, /05 EI-DCY; 1639-33815, /05 EI-DCZ; 1642-33571, /05 EI-DHA; 1652-33572, /05 EI-DHB; 1655-33573, /05 EI-DHC; 1657-33816, /05 EI-EI-DHD; 1658-33574, /05 EI-DHE; 1660-33575, /05 EI-DHF; 1670-33576, /05 EI-DHG; 1677-33817, /05 EI-DHH; 1685-33818, /05 EI-DHI; 1691-33819, /05 EI-DHJ; 1696-33820, /05 EI-DHK; 1698-33821, /05 EI-DHM; 1782-33577, /05 EI-DHN; 1792-33578, /05 EI-DHO; 1794-33579, /05 EI-DHP; 1798-33822, /05 EI-DHR; 1807-33580, /05 EI-DHS; 1809-33581, /05 EI-DHT; 1811-33582, /05 EI-DHV; 1819-33823, /05 EI-DHW; 1824-33585, /05 EI-DHX; 1826-33824, /05 EI-DHY; 1834-33583, /05 EI-DHZ; 1836-33584, /05 EI-DLB; 1844-33586, /05 EI-DLC; 1847-33825, /05 EI-DLD; 1864-33587, /06 EI-DLE; 1867-33588, /06 EI-DLF; 1869-33589, /06 EI-DLG; 1886-33590, /06 EI-DLH; 1894-33591, /06 EI-DLI; 1899-33592, /06 EI-DLJ; 1904-34177, /06 EI-DLK; 1914-33593, /06 EI-DLL; 1923-33594, /06 EI-DLM; 1926-33595, /06 EI-DLN; 1929-34178, /06 EI-DLO; 2057-33596, /06 EI-DLR; 2058-33621, /06 EI-DLS; 2060-33597, /06 EI-DLT; 2063-33598, /06 EI-DLV; 2078-33599, /06 EI-DLW; 2082-33600, /06 EI-DLX; 2088-33601, /06 EI-DLY; 2101-33622, /06 EI-DLZ; 2109-33602, /06 EI-DPA; 2112-33603, /06 EI-DPB; 2120-33604, /06 EI-DPC; 2123-33623, /06 EI-DPD; 2140-33605, /06 EI-DPE; 2158-33606, /07 EI-DPF; 2163-33607, /07 EI-DPG; 2168-33624, /07 EI-DPH, 2/07; 2173-33608, /07 EI-DPI, 2/07; 2179-33609, /07 EI-DPJ; 2183-33610, /07 EI-DPK; 2189-33611, /07 EI-DPL; 2198-33640, /07 EI-DPM; 35031, EI-EKY, 2010-04; 2200-35549, /07 EI-DPN; 2207-33612, /07 EI-DPO; 2213-33613, /07 EI-DPP; 2219-33614, /07 EI-DPR; 2222-33641, /07 EI-DPS; 2227-35550, /07 EI-DPT; 2236-35551, /07 EI-DPV; 2263-35552, /07 EI-DPW; 2279-35553, /07 EI-DPX; 2375-33615, /07 EI-DPY; 2376-33616, /07 EI-DPZ; 2377-33617, /07 EI-DWA; 2382-36075, /07 EI-DWB - - SEE PHOTO - - "RYR-737-8AS-2009-02;" 2384-36076, /07 EI-DWC; 2389-33642, /07 EI-DWD; 2391-36074, /07 EI-DWE; 2396-33619, /07 EI-DWF; 2397-33620, /07 EI-DWG; 2408-33637, /07 EI-DWH; 2410-33643, /07 EI-DWI; 2411-36077, /07 EI-DWJ; 2415-36078, EI-DWK; 2416-33618, /07 EI-DWL; 2430-36080, /07 EI-DWM; 2440-36079, /07 EI-DWO; 2443-36082, /07 EI-DWP; 2448-36081, /07 EI-DWR; 2472-33625, /08 EI-DWS; 2489-33626, /08 EI-DWT; 2492-33627, /08 EI-DWV; 2507-33629, EI-DWW; 2508-33630, EI-DWX; 2518-33638, EI-DWY; 2520-33628, EI-DWZ; 2529-33631, /08 EI-DYA; 2542-33633, /08 EI-DYB; 2543-33632, /08 EI-DYC; 2544-33632, /08 EI-DYD; 2548-36568, /08 EI-DYE; 2549-36569, /08 EI-DYF; 2557-33639, /08 EI-DYG; 34982, /12 EI-EVB; 2573-36570, /08 EI-DYH; 2574-36571, /08 EI-DYI; 2580-36572, /08 EI-DYJ; 2581-36573, /08 EI-DYK; 36574, EI-DYL; 36575, EI-DYM; EI-DYN; 2728-33636, /08 EI-DYO; 2729-37515, /08 EI-DYP; EI-DYR; EI-DYS; EI-DYT; EI-DYV; 2747-33635, /09 EI-DYW; 2754-37517, /09 EI-DYX; 2755-37521, /09 EI-DYY; 2760-37518, /09 EI-DYZ; 2761-35716, /09 EI-EBA; 2779-37519, /09 EI-EBB; 2780-37520, /09 EI-EBC; 2781-37522, /09 EI-EBD; 2788-37523, /09 EI-EBE; 2791-37524, /09 EI-EBF; 2792-37525, /09 EI-EBG; 2797-37526, /09 EI-EBH**; 2798-37527, /09 EI-EBI; 2807-37528, /09 EI-EBK; 2808-37529, /09 EI-EBL; 2858-35000, /09 EI-EBT; 2857-35001, /09 EI-EBS; 2839-35002, /09 EI-EBM; 2840-35003, /09 EI-EBN; 2843-35004, /09 EI-EBO; 2844-37531, /09 EI-EBP; 2872-35009, /09 EI-EBV; 2873-35010, /09 EI-EBW; 2882-35007, /09 EI-EBX; 2886-35006, /09 EI-EBY; 2887-35008, /09 EI-EBZ; 2892-35005, /09 EI-EFA; 2893-37532, /09 EI-EFB; 2901-35015, /09 EI-EFC; 2903-35011, /09 EI-EFD; 2905-37533, /09 EI-EFE; 2917-35016, /09 EI-EFF; 2921-35014, /09 EI-EFG; 2923-35012, /09 EI-EFH; 2924-35013, /09 EI-EFH; 2936-37536, /09 EI-EFJ; 2948-37537, /09 EI-EFK; 2958-37534, /09 EI-EFL; 2960-37535, /09 EI-EFM; 2967-37538, /09 EI-EFN; 2978-37539, /09 EI-EFO; 2979-37540, /09 EI-EFP; 3012-37541, /09 EI-EFR; 3021-37542, /09 EI-EFS; 3023-37543, /09 EI-EFT; 3052-35017, /09 EI-EFV; 3078-35018, /09 EI-EFW; 3079-35019, /09 EI-EFX; 3084-35020, /09 EI-EFY; 3089-38489, /09 EI-EFZ; 3096-38490, /09 EI-EGA; 3097-38491, /09 EI-EGB; 3099-38492, /09 EI-EGC; 34981, /10 EI-EGD; 3139-35022, /10 EI-EKA; 3141-38494, /10 EI-EKB; 3143-38495, /10 EI-EKC; 3146-35024, /10 EI-EKD; 3148-35023, /10 EI-EKE; 3152-35025, /10 EI-EKF; 3161-35021, /10 EI-EKG; 3162-38483, /10 EI-EKH; 37540, EI-EFP; 3168-38496, /10 EI-EKI; 3173-38497, /10 EI-EKJ; 3174-38500, /10 EI-EKK; 3179-38498, /10 EI-EKL; 3181-38499, /10 EI-EKM; 3187-35026, /10 EI-EKN; 3198-35027, /10 EI-EKO; 3199-35028, /10 EI-EKP; 3202-38503, /10 EI-EKR; 3203-38504, /10 EI-EKS; 3206-38505, /10 EI-EKT; 3211-38507, /10 EI-EKV; 3221-38506, /10 EI-EKW; 3222-35030, /10 EI-EKX; 3230-35031, /10 EI-EKY; 3234-38508, /10 EI-EKZ; 3240-35032, /10 EI-EMA; 3241-38511, /10 EI-EMB; 3246-38510, /10 EI-EMC; 3248-38509, /10 EI-EMD; 3254-35029, /10 EI-EME; 3256-34978, /10 EI-EMF; 3262-34974, /10 EI-EMH; 3263-34979, /10 EI-AMI; 3271-34975, /10 EI-EMJ; 3272-38512, /10 EI-EMK; 3283-38513, /10 EI-EML; 3284-38514, /10 EI-EMM; 3286-38515, /10 EI-EMN; 3514-40300, /11 EI-ENI; 3516-40301, /11 EI-ENJ; 3524-40303, /11 EI-ENK; 3527-35037, /11 EI-ENL; 3528-35038, /11 EI-ENM; 3533-35036, /11 EI-ENN; 3541-40307, /11 EI-ENS; 3544-35040, /11 EI-ENT; 3546-35039, /11 EI-ENV; 3551-40306, EI-ENW; 34986, EI-EPB; 34987, EI-EPA; 40283, /10 EI-EMO; 40285, /10 EI-EMP; 40284, /10 EI-EMR; 34983, /10 EI-ENA; 40289, /10 EI-ENB; 34980, /10 EI-ENC; 40286, /12 EI-EVC; 3908-40287, /12 EI-EVD; 40288, /12 EI-EVA; 3920-35035, /12 EI-EVE; 3926-40291, /12 EI-EVF; 3928-40292, /12 EI-EVG; 44699, /15 EI-FIJ; 44700, /15 EI-FIK; 44708, EI-FOA, 2015-11; 44709, EI-FIZ, 2015-11; 44710, EI-FOB, 2015-11; 5812-44730, EI-FOT, 2118-04; EI-FOZ; 44746, EI-FRX 2016-09; 44747, EI-FRV 2016-09; 44748, EI-FRW 2016-09; 44749, EI-FRZ 2016-09; 44750, EI-FRY, 2016-09; 44759, /16 EI-FTI 2016-12; 44761, EI-FTK; 44762, EI-FTL; 44763, EI-FTM; 44764, EI-FTN; 44765, EI-FTO; 44766, EI-FTP; 44767, EI-FTR; 44768, EI-FTS; 44769, EI-FTT; 44770, EI-FTV; 44771, EI-FTW; 44772, EI-FTY; 44773, EI-FTZ; 44774, EI-FZA; 44779, EI-FZF, 2017-03; 44789, EI-FZS, 2017-05; 44790, EI-FZP, 2017-05; 44791, EI-FZX, 2017-05; 44792, EI-FZR, 2017-05; 44793, EI-FZT, 2017-05; 44794, EI-FZV, 2017-05; 44795, EI-FZW, 2017-05). 15 APLS SOLD TO (TCI). 29921; LEASED TO (CNJ) 2008-03. 29922; RETURNED, LEASED TO (MNG) 2008-04. 29935; RETURNED (TCI) LEASED TO (ETH). 33557; SOLD TO (GEF), LEASED TO OK AIR 2011-01. 37526; SEEN 2011-10 WITH "CITY OF NYKOPING" TITLES ABOVE WINDOW LINE. 36571 TO JEJU AIR (JJA) 2015-12. 35018 WFU, STORED AT PRESTWICK 2016-09. 37542, WFU BEING PAINTED IN UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL (UKR) COLORS 2016-10. WINGLETS. 37540; PAINTED IN JEJU AIR (JJA) COLORS 2017-02. 189Y.

2 737-86N's (CFM56-7B26) (29883; 33003), (SBE) WET-LEASED 2003-09. 189Y.

135/75 ORDERS (2019-02) 737-MAX 200 (LEAP 1B), WITH SCIMITAR WINGLETS. 197Y:

0 BAC 111-500.

0 B AE HS 748.

0 ATR42.



Click below for photos:
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 1a.jpg
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 1b
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 1c
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 1d
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2004-11
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-A
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-B
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-C
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-D
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-E
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-F
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2010-01-G
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2013-01
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2013-06
RYR-1-Michael O Leary - 2014-09
RYR-1-Michael OLeary - NWG Bjorn Kjos-2017-02.jpg
RYR-1-Michael OLeary-R-2017-05.jpg
RYR-2-Neil Sorahan on L - 2015-05.jpg
RYR-2-NEIL SORAHAN-2015-07.jpg
RYR-3-David O Brien - 2014-10
RYR-3-David O Brien - 2015-09.jpg
RYR-3-David O Brien - 30 SEC INTERVIEW
RYR-3-Peter Bellew-2017-10.jpg
RYR-4-Michael Hickey - 2013-08
RYR-7-Maria Macken - 2013-05

Declan created Irelandia Aviation. Irelandia specializes in developing low cost carriers (LCC)s and has 7 around the world: Ryanair (RYR), Allegiant (WJE), Tigerair (TGR), Viva Air (QUD), VivaAerobus, VivaColombia and most recently Viva Air Peru. Combined, the airlines have a fleet of >420 airplanes.

David has served as a Director of Ryanair Holdings and Ryanair (RYR) Limited since August 23, 1996 and as Chairman of the Board of Ryanair Holdings and (RYR) Limited since December 1996. David is a director and officer of 1996 Air G P, Inc, the general partner Irish Air GenPar, and founder and Principal of Texas Pacific Group ("TPG"), which organized Irish Air, L P and Irish Air GenPar, L P. Prior to forming (TPG), David was Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Investment Officer of Keystone Inc, the personal investment vehicle of Texas-based investor Robert M Bass. Prior to joining Keystone Inc in 1983, David was a partner in the law firm of Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC. David serves on the Board of Directors of public companies CoStar Group, Inc, Ducati Motor Holdings SpA, Gemplus International SA and ProQuest Company.


Michael has served as a Director of Ryanair (RYR) Limited since November 25, 1988 and a Director of Ryanair Holdings since July 2, 1996. He has been Chief Executive (CEO) from January 1, 1994. Prior to this, Michael was the Deputy Chief Executive of (RYR) from 1991 to May 1993 and Chief Operating Officer (COO) from June 1993 to December 1993.

Michael (born 1961) is the eldest of a family of 6 and was educated at Clongowes Wood College, County Kildare and Trinity College but did not graduate. He worked as a tax consultant with (KPMG) before becoming financial advisor to Tony Ryan. In January 1994, he was promoted to (CEO) of (RYR) and operated a Wal-Mart strategy: "pile it high and sell it cheap."' Under Michael's management, what had been an ailing regional carrier bordering on bankruptcy, has been transformed into one of the world's most profitable airlines by further developing the low-cost carrier (LCC) model originated by Southwest Airlines [SWA].

Michael has a somewhat fiery reputation among both his peers in the airline industry and with his employees. His no-nonsense management style, and his deliberate targeting and scathing criticisms of competitors, airport authorities, governments, unions, and groups of staff have now become a hallmark.

In 2004, he purchased a hackney plate for his Mercedes-Benz to enable it to be classified as a taxi, so that he could legally make use of Dublin's bus lanes to speed his car journeys around the city.

The deregulation of Ireland's major airports (beginning with the dissolution of Aer Rianta, Ireland's principal airport authority, which finally occurred in 2004), and the shake-up of traditional full-service airlines, are among his most well known high profile demands. Michael announced in late 2005 that he intended to stand down from the (RYR) helm in 2008.

He is one of Ireland's wealthiest men, with an estimated fortune of €466 million, Ireland's 20th richest. (RYR) started in 1985 with 51 people and 2 airplanes. (RYR) carried 5,000 passengers between Britain and Ireland. (RYR) is now Europe's most profitable carrier, with 2,600 staff, >100 airplanes, and 233 routes throughout Europe.

Michael makes colorful and extravagant use of the English language:

About stakeholders, rivals and customers

* "For years, flying has been the preserve of rich fuckers. Now everyone can afford to fly."

* "Screw the travel agents. Take the fuckers out and shoot them. What have they done for passengers over the years?"

* On refunds "we don't fall over ourselves if they say my granny fell ill. What part of no-refund do you not understand? You are not getting a refund, so fuck off."

* On Lufthansa (DLH): "Jurgen Weber, Chairman (DLH) Supervisory Board), Michael said Germans don't like low fares. How the fuck does he know? The Germans will crawl bollock-naked over broken glass to get them."

* On rivalry with British Airways (BAB): "There's too much "we really admire our competitors." All bollocks! Everyone wants to kick the shit out of everyone else. We want to beat the crap out of (BAB). They mean to kick the crap out of us."

* On the Polish market: "Who wants to go to Gdañsk? There ain't a lot there after you've seen the shipyard wall."

* Being happy: "They don't call us the fighting Irish for nothing. We have always been the travel innovators of Europe. We've built the roads and laid the railways. Now it's the airlines!"

* On environmentalists: "I’m always actually very pleasant, but don’t believe in trotting out all that Public Relations (PR) claptrap just not to upset a couple of fucking environmental lunatics. They are just loons."

* His ultimate goal: "Free tickets. In a decade or so, airlines will pay travelers to distribute people around Europe. The airline industry is like Tesco, (IKEA), or network television, where viewers watch for nothing and advertisers pay for access to them. Web companies earn money, when they deliver click traffic to other sites."

* On the slightly wider Airbus A320 fuselage: "I've heard a lot of horseshit about a wider fuselage. I've yet in 15 years in this industry to meet 1 passenger, who booked his ticket based on that. The seats have been wide enough and the aisles have been wide enough for passengers."

About British airports' security, post August 10 2006:

* Following the airplane bomb plot: "we're still dealing with farcical Keystone Kops-like, security measures, which add nothing whatsoever to security; are completely ineffectual in terms of improving or adding to security, and are just serving to block up the airports."

* More specifically: "let's deal with a couple of the stupid regulations we are dealing with at the moment. It means we are now body searching terrorist suspects like 5 and 6 year children traveling with their parents on holidays to Spain; we're targeting terrorist prospects like elderly passengers and people in wheelchairs, who are clearly potentially a great threat to the Great British public and British air safety - this is nonsense."

* "It feels like Laurel and bloody Hardy are working at the Department of Transport coming up with these security measures."

* "The terrorists must be rolling around the caves of Pakistan laughing."

Michael lives in Gigginstown House near Mullingar. He married Anita Farrell in 2003 and their 1st child, Matthew was born in September 2005. He breeds horses at his Gigginstown Stud in County Westmeath and in 2006, his horse "War of Attrition" trained by Michael 'Mouse' Morris at Fethard, County Tipperary, and ridden by Conor O'Dwyer won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is the blue riband of steeple chasing.


Michael Hickey, (RYR) Chief Operations Officer (COO) left his position at the end of October after the cancellation of tens of thousands of flights scheduled for the coming months. Company officials said Mike will have an "advisory role" after he steps down after decades with (RYR). He is the 1st senior executive to leave because of the damaging flight cancellations, which have disrupted travel plans for an estimated 700,000 passengers and undercut (RYR)'s bid to improve its customer service reputation. The flights were canceled because of holiday staffing and scheduling errors.





David was appointed Director of Operations in December 2002; previously, he served as Director of Flight Operations of Ryanair (RYR) since May 2002, having served as Director of UK Operations since April 1998. Prior to that, David served as Regional General Manager-Europe and the (CIS), for Aer Rianta International. Between 1992 and 1996, David served as Director of Ground Operations and In-flight with (RYR).
2014-03: anna.aero's Amy Hanna's 30-second interview with David O'Brien regarding Ryanair's consideration of flights to Russia and the USA:

aa: Russia has been in the news and Ryanair (RYR) likes publicity. So are you going to start Moscow services in April?
DO: No. It’s a longer term thing than that. Bilateral restrictions mean that the only Russian opportunities for us are from Ireland. Currently, we’re talking to both St Petersburg and to airports in Moscow. But we have much bigger fish to fry, with far more opportunities available in the (EU). You can’t do too many Ireland - Russia flights (maybe 3 or 4 a week to St Petersburg and 3 or 4 to Moscow. That’s slightly worse than the (RYR) network average of 4.65 flights per week.

aa: You’ve now got a lot more bases in untraditional big primary airports: Lisbon, Athens, Brussels Zaventem, Rome Fiumicino. Is Frankfurt next?
DO: No. And it’s not a big city.

aa: Riiight, so you have not run out of regional airports to fly to?
DO: (Long pause) No, we haven’t run out of any sort of airport, we just haven’t. I have just taken on the (CCO) role, so I’ve been touring Europe for the last 3 weeks looking at airports, and what strikes me most is that our 737 airplane deliveries will be insufficient to meet the demand that is organic within that existing airport network. But the outstanding characteristic of some of the big primary airports is that they are under-served. In Athens, they say ‘well, it’s the economy.’ Well it’s not that. It’s simply that airport charges are too high, and that the incumbent airlines dominate. So we are interested in any market that has great characteristics apart from the high costs.

aa: And the new cuddly (RYR) "model" fits in much better with the profile of the people who use these airports?
DO: Not just these airports. And let’s not overuse the word "model." Our fundamental goal is to be the lowest cost, with the best reliability and the widest network. That model is not going away. What you’re saying is that doesn’t suit with our means of communication anymore, and yeah, it doesn’t. We’re going to become a lot more sophisticated, we’re going to spend 3x- as much on advertising and be more conscious of our appearance, so we appeal to the people who care about that sort of thing. That will take us to 110 million passengers within the next 5 years, which isn’t to say that our existing 81 million passengers are not unconcerned about these things.

aa: Sorry. I have to ask: The €10 transatlantic flights that were all over the news last week. Are these the new ‘nice’ way to get press attention instead of the nasty "paying for toilets story," or is this something we’re going to actually see?
DO: It certainly gets us in the papers! But it is a project that is waiting for the right airplane at the right price. All the long-haul orders are sewn up for a long time to come. We’re not going to do this with old 737 airplanes. If an order collapses somewhere, we’ll nip in. And, of course, as well as tiny prices, we’ll also have some higher fares, because we will have excellent services.”


Captain Ray Conway was appointed as Chief Pilot in June 2002, having joined Ryanair (RYR) in 1987. He has held a number of senior management positions within the Flight Operations Department over the last 16 years, including Fleet Captain on the BAC 1-11 and 737-200 fleets. Ray was Head of Training between 1998 and June 2002. Prior to joining (RYR), Ray served as an officer with the Irish Air Corps for 14 years, where he was attached to the Training and Transport Squadron, which was responsible for the government jet.







Michael has served as Head of Engineering & Chief Engineer since January 2000. Michael has held a wide range of senior positions within the Ryanair (RYR) Engineering department since 1988, and was Deputy Director of Engineering between 1992 and January 2000. Prior to joining (RYR) in 1988, Michael worked as an airplane engineer with Fields Aircraft Services and McAlpine Aviation, working primarily on executive airplanes.








Edward was appointed Director of Personnel and In-flight in December 2002, prior to which he served as Head of Personnel since joining Ryanair (RYR) in December 1997. Prior to joining (RYR), he served as Human Resources (HR) Manager for Gateway 2000 and held a number of other human resources related positions in the Irish financial services sector.












Top of Page


Since you are not logged in, we can show you only live Airtran Airways data. This page will demonstrate the depth of data we have for every airline. Close and View Airtran Airways ›