Ryanair: A Low-Cost Business Model in the European Airline Industry

Ryanair: A Low-Cost Business Model in the European Airline Industry

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes

This case study investigates the key competitive advantages, business strategies, opportunities, and challenges of Ryanair, an Irish airline and the largest and most successful low-cost European air carrier. After deregulation in 1997, the European airline industry faced increased competition with the emergence of a variety of new low-cost airlines. Taking this opportunity, Ryanair rebranded itself as the first low-fare airline in Europe by following the low-cost model pioneered by American low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines. It operates about 2,000 flights daily from 87 bases that connect more than 200 destinations in 36 countries at the lowest fares possible. Ryanair is undoubtedly aggressive and fearless in tackling competition. However, it is facing challenges and uncertainty regarding its expansion plans as a result of Brexit. This study highlights how Ryanair is focusing on its business strategies to maintain its position in the industry and carefully planning to be more tactical in addressing the challenges lying ahead. Through the case, readers will be able to determine whether Ryanair’s low-cost model will sustain itself in the highly competitive and increasingly customer centric airline industry in Europe.

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