Sunday, September 16, 2007

Europe's low fare airline

Europe's low cost airline Ryanair came up in class last week. I don't know much about the company, but for those that are interested, the Wall Street Journal did an interview with the CEO.

DUBLIN--There's a bit of P.T. Barnum in Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Irish low-fare air carrier Ryanair. He's pulled such stunts as driving a tank to a competitor's headquarters to declare a price war and dressing up as the pope to promote new routes to Rome. Most recently, when Britain's Advertising Standards Authority said Ryanair was incorrectly claiming that its flights were faster and cheaper than the Eurostar train for traveling between London and Brussels, he sent the frowning officials a copy of "Mathematics for Dummies."

Along the way, he's built Ryanair into Europe's largest airline by passenger volume and, along with such rivals as easyJet, transformed travel on the Continent. From London or Dublin one can fly not just to Nice but to Nantes, not only to Rome but to Riga, and often for less than the price of a cab ride across town. A generation of Europeans has come of age expecting £1 flights to overlooked tourist gems hundreds of miles away--a phenomenon that arguably has done as much to aid European integration as the EU itself ...

Part of the Southwest business model is that they really compete with people driving, not other airlines. Ryanair appears to have the same philosophy.

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