In one sense, it is difficult to knock O’Leary when you consider his achievements, but from another point of view it might be an opportune time for him to move on, or for a more realistic opposition airline to start competing with him. It seems to me that he has enjoyed the image of kicking the crap out of customers and staff to keep costs down, but his bullying bullish tactics have gone way too far now, both for customers and staff, in my humble opinion.
So here’s the math:
- 2,000 fights per day in July 2017 with a total of 4,000 pilots who can fly for approx. 20 hours each a week. Not good.
- €1.2 billion in profit on 131 million passengers carried = €9.00 profit per passenger.
- Average of 182.6 passengers per flight.
- Average fare for each passenger = approx. €46.00.
But how about this:
- 182.6 passengers x €2.00 extra (to bring the average fare to €48.00).
- Ryanair take €2.00 less profit per passenger.
- Total to pay and treat their staff properly per flight is 182.6 x €4.00 = €730.40, and maybe give the passengers a free cup of tea or coffee as well.
Would Ryanair customers be happy to pay an average of €2.00 extra per flight if they knew that the pilots and cabin crew were happy and comfortable in their jobs with no risk of mass cancellations? No need for market research here. The answer is simply YES.
It is my opinion that O’Leary didn’t understand this in time and did not take his foot off the bullying greed pedal, and that he would be better off moving on.
The alternative is for a few senior key staff of Ryanair to get together and set up an alternative airline to compete with O’Leary. With a good business plan and the right team of people, this is not as difficult as you might think, despite the scale and finances required. Anyone on the inside interested, give me a shout! Time slots and contractual obligations between Ryanair and some airports might be the only real serious challenge to get over…