Ryanair operates 750 routes from its top 10 bases. Andy Myers assesses the margins achieved at these operations for Europe’s biggest airline.
With Ryanair’s top 10 powerhouse bases covering around a third of its total seats, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the performance of these operations versus the network in general using our unique colour-coded profitability system within Network Grandstand – our LCC fare analysis tool.
Of the 750 routes The Irish ULCC operates from these bases almost 60% fall into our highest category which estimates robust margins in excess of 20%. In addition, we think that around 70% exceed a still healthy profit margin of 10%.LCCs are often defined by the performance of their largest bases and it is quite clear that Ryanair runs a efficient operation in this respect. If we compare the aggregate figure for the top 10 bases, with the network total (756 routes versus 3,780) at the top of the chart, we can see that the two performance profiles are not far apart.
The other aspect to note is that there are very few routes losing significant money on the network. There are only 7% of routes in category E (loss margin of more than 20%) in the top 10 and just 5% in the entire network. Unsurprisingly, Ryanair simply does not tolerate loss making routes!
One of the ways we use Network Grandstand internally is to compare routes which have ceased with our prediction in the months before to see how closely our system predicted which were worst. We will be looking at some of these in our next blog.
Bases by the numbers
Looking at the same 12 months as analysed above, Ryanair’s London Stansted base offered over 12.1 million one-way seats in the year ending 31 March 2019, providing nearly five million more seats than its #2 operation at Dublin, which posted a capacity of around 7.5 million. While Milan Bergamo is comfortable in third spot (5.8 million one-way seats), things are quite close mid-table (positions four to six) and then at the bottom of the top 10 (spots seven to 10) in terms of yearly capacity. Less than one million seats splits Barcelona in fourth with 4.3 million and Brussels Charleroi in sixth with 3.5 million, with Madrid nestled between the two with 3.8 million. Things are incredibly tight at the foot of the top 10, with just over 250,000 annual one-way seats dividing Rome Ciampino in seventh and Palma de Mallorca in 10th place, with Berlin Schönefeld and Manchester airports sandwiched in the middle. The ULCC’s top 10 airports generated over 48 million one-way seats for the period being analysed, which represents 33% of Ryanair’s total capacity.