A Decade of Disruptions: Analysing Ryanair’s Flight Data

The well-known Irish low-cost company is famous all over Europe for offering extremely affordable prices. Ryanair provides basic service for passengers but the number of routes and choice of destinations is really impressive, and such a policy keeps the company in the top positions of the EU aviation leaders list.

The company flies to 235 destinations and operates a fleet of 537 aircraft. Its market share grows every year and the carrier is very successful and busy nowadays.

However, the path wasn’t always smooth for Ryanair. The airline has experienced disruptions in its operations and suffered with the whole industry when extraordinary events came into play. So, how difficult was the last decade for the company?


Main Challenges in Civil Aviation


Every airline experiences disruptions in its operations, and for passengers, it’s crucial to understand the procedure to get Ryanair compensation in such cases.  Many events or circumstances cause deviations from the usual working schedule, with possible outcomes being flight delays and cancellations, as well as another negative impact on the company’s ability to provide seamless operation. Those events can be divided into several categories:

  1. Technical issues. Those can be aircraft maintenance problems, communication failures, airport capacity overload, and so on. Such disruptions often lead to flight delays or cancellations and require rescheduling or urgent fixes
  2. Human factor. These can be caused by staff shortages or industrial strikes, resulting in a lack of available personnel and thus affecting operation flow
  3. Weather and environmental factors. Extreme weather conditions can impact airlines’ ability to function properly, endangering aircraft safety and leading to flight delays
  4. Other extraordinary external factors. Those are unpredictable events that usually cause harm not just to a certain company but also to the whole industry

During the last decade, Ryanair has gone through all possible challenges and fought its place in the European aviation market with its unique approach to working processes. In 10 years, the company managed to resolve several crises and increase its market value significantly. What was the operation model of the carrier 10 years ago?


Looking Back: The Decade of Growth


The main indexes comparison of Ryanair’s operation in 2013 vs 2023 looks as follows:

Index 2013 2023
Operating revenue 4,884.0 (€M) 10.7(€M)
Scheduled passengers 79.3m 169m
Year-end Fleet 305 537
Average staff 9,059 22,000

As evident, the company has demonstrated immense growth and proved its operational model to be viable.


Ryanair’s Operational Model: Key Points


The carrier entered the decade with a clear vision of how it should be done. Here are the highlights of Ryanair’s operations:

  • Affordable prices strategy. This was and is now the unique selling point of the airline, and it has proved to be extremely effective
  • Providing basic services. The cost of the flight for the passengers is really low until they buy additional services. Many competitors don’t offer them separately, including their cost in the offered value of the ticket. Ryanair allows you to choose the services or reject the option and get a really low ticket price
  • Point-to-point flights. Ryanair opts for less busy airports, offering direct flights and eliminating disruptions often brought by traditional hub airports. This strategy not only benefits passengers but also adds to the cost-efficient operation of the company
  • Effective fleet utilisation. With quick turnarounds, the carrier is able to optimise aircraft productivity

This strategy hasn’t changed significantly in 10 years as it seems to work perfectly for the company.


Analysis of Disruptions in Ryanair’s Operation


As per the Eurocontrol statement, reactionary delays contributed the most to the number of disruptions in European aviation in 2023. Reactionary or knock-on delays stand for a type of delay that happens as a result of previous disruptions in the flight schedule. Due to its point-on-point flight policy, Ryanair managed to mostly avoid this kind of delays, leaving with two other significant reasons for interrupted operation, being weather conditions and internal factors.

Though the carrier has experienced every kind of disruption during its long working history, its leading position among low-cost airlines seems secure. In recent years, which have been saturated with events, disruptions have become hard to consider extraordinary occurrences, and modern airlines are agile and quick to develop protocols for maintaining new challenges. Ryanair is no exception.


Response Strategies


The company employs certain strategies to minimise operational issues. The measures taken are:

  • Route diversification. This is one of the key points in the carrier’s working processes as it does all possible to reduce hindrances of busy air hubs
  • Timely fleet maintenance. The company constantly invests in upgrades to keep fleet efficiency at a high level
  • Resource management. To minimise the influence of a human factor on its operations, the company puts effort into staff training and proper crew management
  • Data gathering and analysis. Thorough data analytics are conducted to receive valuable insights and optimise the working procedures


Passenger Feedback and Satisfaction


The feedback Ryanair receives publicly is quite controversial. However, the company isn’t suffering much as is evident from the financial results. Though the carrier is obliged to comply with the EU regulations for compensation, the company is known for its reluctance to make the process easy for customers. Skycop offers help in protecting passengers’ rights in cases where airlines lack cooperation.

Ryanair is one of the leading European carriers and the number one choice for budget travelling. While experiencing all the industry challenges and disruptions during the last decade, financial indexes show the company has managed to overcome those rather spectacularly. With all the measures taken to further improve its operation, it seems the company won’t leave its top position on the market anytime soon.