In the last 10 years, low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet have transformed the face of international tourism in Europe. What is the secret of their success and bearing in mind the mounting evidence short-haul aviation is a major contributor to atmospheric pollution and global warming, what is there future?
In 1991, Michael O'Leary paid a visit to the fourth largest carrier company in America, Southwest airlines. O’Leary, the current chief executive of Ryanair emerged from this visit with an idea. This idea was to change the future of the aviation industry. Michael O'Leary brought the secret to developing and creating low-cost airlines to Europe. Herb Kelleher, chairman of Southwest Airlines once said, ‘What happens is you have mechanical irregularities? With only one airplane in your fleet, you can substitute one for the other.’ So Ryanair modelled itself on Southwest airlines. Ryanair is currently Europe’s largest and most profitable low-cost airline in Europe.
Ryanair and EasyJet have led the largest, fastest and ‘cheapest’ evolution in the history of international tourism. Which subsequently begs the probing question, what is the secret of their success?
Michael O’ Leary claims its all down to the Boeing 737. In reality the plane does seem to be built for low cost airlines. On a typical route the 737s operating costs are 4% lower than that of its closet competitor. The plane is also somewhat lighter than that of its closest competitor. The Boeing 737 also uses less fuel, thus reducing both fuel costs and the landing fees (www.boeing.com/commercial). With the Boeing 737 sporting these economically efficient factors, it has become the most favoured plane of all the low cost airlines and currently makes up for 90 percent of all the low cost aeroplanes around the world. But having a cost-efficient plane cannot be the only secret behind the success of Ryanair’s revolution. Obviously, there have to be numerous factors which have helped...