Low fares airline, Ryanair celebrates twenty years in business

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Irish low fares airline, Ryanair, this week celebrated its 20th birthday. Having reached the milestone, the airline promptly used the opportunity, as always, to sell seats; launching a massive 200,000 seat sale at 99p/99c a seat.

The airline was founded in 1985 by the Irish businessman, Dr Tony Ryan. It began its existence flying a small 15 seat aircraft between Waterford and London Gatwick with the small aim of breaking the duopoly on London-Ireland flights, held at that time by British Airways and Aer Lingus. Today however, the airline now flies to over 200 European destinations with its fleet of 84 Boeing 737's and is awaiting the arrival of a future 225 aircraft from Boeing.

The company today carries as much as 3m passengers a month (depending on the season) and has revealed it made a profit of €245m (USD$307,916,000) in the past year. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has stated that the airline will carry over 70m passengers annually within five years. The notoriously eccentric Mullingar man went on to tell the press "The very fact that a Mickey Mouse Irish airline can start in a field in Waterford 20 years ago and in 20 years overtake the world's self-styled, self proclaimed favourite airline is testament to the almost unstoppable demand for low airfare travel around Europe."

To demonstrate the huge drop in airfares over the last year, the company claimed while the price of a Ryanair seat had dropped from £99.99 in 1985 to 99p today, the price of a pint of beer had trebled and the average house price in England had increased by 500%.