21 Facts About Ryanair That Will Blow Your Mind

By niallharbison

December 20, 2016 at 12:18am


They are one of the most successful Irish companies of all time and they have changed the way we think of air travel thanks to their low fares. They aren't always the most loved brand in the world because of some of their policies, but nobody can argue about the impact they have had over the last couple of decades. We delved a little deeper and found 21 amazing facts about them that will help you understand their success a little better...

1. All Their Planes Are Identical

This is the crucial part of their business strategy enabling them to order parts in bulk, have the same engineers and generally benefit from not having to service lots of different models.

2. The First Route Was Between Waterford And Gatwick

It all started in 1985 with a 15 seater Embraer Bandeirante turboprop aircraft. The had been founded by Christopher Ryan, Liam Lonergan and Tony Ryan (named after him).

3. Ryanair Have Margaret Thatcher To Thank For Early Growth

One of the main reasons the company was able to grow was because of the EU de-regulation of the airline industry opening up competition. New companies still needed the backing of one government and after the Irish refused (to protect their state monopoly via Aer Lingus) it was the UK who gave Ryanair the go ahead to operate under Thatcher's deregulating Conservatives.

4. The Company Was Running At A Loss And Needed Restructuring When Michael O'Leary Came Onboard In 1991

They'd acquired a European airline a couple of years earlier and despite carrying increasing numbers of passengers they couldn't scratch out any profits in the tough airline industry.

5. Much Of The Inspiration For Michael O'Leary's Vision For Ryanair Came From South West Airlines

After he took a trip over to the USA he was so impressed with their business model that he modelled much of what Ryanair does on their operations including quick turnarounds and no frills.

6. A Bunch Of Students Built The First Ryanair Website

Back in the early days of the web, Ryanair were very quick to see it's potential but rather than hiring a huge company on a large retainer the plucky airline got a bunch of smart Trinity students to build it for them.

7. They Are The Busiest Airline In The World

This is by the amount of passengers carried, which is some achievement in such a short period of time- considering the large stablished brands they are up against.

8. They Now Fly To Africa

So it is only one destination in the North of Africa but you can now get a Ryanair flight all the way to Morocco.

9. The Terrorist Attacks On 9/11 Helped Ryanair Indirectly

They were able to place a huge order for aircraft to be delivered over the next decade at a much lower price than normal because of the post 9/11 market and not many people flying. O'Leary bet on the market bouncing back and he was right.

10. Staff Have To Pay €360 For Their Own Uniforms

According to the Daily Mail, not only do they have to pay for their uniforms but they also have to pay for courses and take 3 months leave a year.

11. Ryanair Now Has 70 "Bases" That They Operate From Across Europe

And from those bases they are able to serve over 170 destinations. They've come a long way from a couple of routes from Ireland to Luton and Stansted.

12. Michael O'Leary Talked About Making Love To The Queen Of England

Never one to really hold back in interviews or when speaking publicly, this gag at the start of a talk he gave got him in a lot of hot water and ended up seeing him have to apologise.

13. They've Carried Out Some Seriously Risqué Advertising Over The Years

That usually ends up getting them taken to court, but by the time happens and they pay a small fine they've generated millions in Euros of free coverage.

14. They Made Half A Billion Euros In Profit After Tax Last Year

That works out at about a million and a half Euros of clear profit every single day of the year. Seriously impressive in an industry where most airlines have traditionally been propped up by the state for years.

15. The Company Owns Two Private Lear Jets

You'd think they are used to carry Michael O'Leary and his executives around, but in fact the company insists they are actually for ferrying parts out to their airlines around Europe quickly to get them going again.

16. They've Carried Out Crazy Marketing Stunts That The Media Keep Falling For

Part of the allure of Ryanair over the years has been their smart marketing and they've had a series of stunts that get them wall to wall publicity including...

Claiming they would get rid of the co-pilot to cut down on wages

Claiming they would introduce standing room only so as they could fit more people onto their planes

And of course saying that they would charge users to use the onboard toilets which is the PR stunt that just keeps on giving in terms of coverage

17. Despite Tensions Israel And Russia Are Next For Ryanair

For years people have wanted to know when Ryanair would start going trans-Atlantic but their next steps are likely to be to the east as the airline sets up new hubs in political hot pots.

18. They Had A Popular Calendar For Charity Featuring Their Stewardesses But They've Had To Scrap It

They were both popular and controversial at the same time as a tool for raising money for charity and getting more free PR. It all came to an end last year when they were scrapped as part of a brand makeover.

19. They've Gone From Carrying 82,000 Passengers In Their First Year (1985) To 82 Million in 2014

20. Over 20% Of Their Revenue Comes From Ancillary Services

Getting you to buy a ticket is great but Ryanair make a fifth of their revenue from charging for extras like in flight food, insurance, scratch cards and even €70 to print out a boarding pass if you've forgotten to do so in advance.

21. They Used To Serve Bags Of Booze

You really knew you were on a low fair airline a few years ago when you were served a "Bullseye baggie" when you asked for spirits. The good news was they were usually two for the price of one but the bad news was they tasted gross.