Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ryanair Run A Better Business - For Now....

According to an article in the Guardian this morning Ryanair will begin charging passengers £4 a return flight to check in at airport desks. The new charge, which will be introduced on September 20, comes on top of the £10 it costs to put a single bag in the hold. The paper claims that this is all part of its latest ruse for slashing costs – as if slashing costs is something dreadful

The Air Transport Users' Council (AUC) warned that the low-cost strategy of hitting passengers with extra charges had reached its limit. James Fremantle, AUC industry affairs manager, said “check-in charges could drive away some of the 42.5 million people who use Ryanair every year.” Meanwhile Ryanair denied suggestions that it was fleecing passengers with its new levy, saying the charge had been brought in to limit queues and lighten plane loads.

I just love industry watchdogs and experts who claim that airlines are doing things that somehow harm passengers in an underhand way. Clearly Ryanair must believe that this makes sense, and indeed it does if it drives down costs. Of course the big question is will it? Will it give them cost savings that are not outweighed by a drop in passenger load factors.?

Ryanair have been attacked by just about everyone, including MPs who recently criticized Michael Mary O’Leary for refusing to give evidence before them saying. "We can only conclude that this is because he has nothing positive to say."

The simple fact is Mr O’L has run a brilliant business and is the envy of many in the industry. Of course it’s easy to take swipes at them and the more passengers they carry the more swipes there are – although in percentage terms they seem to be operating below the curve. I’m reminded of the old adage. “If we don’t run a better business then we won’t have a better business to run.” Time will tell if, when M.M.O’L steps down they maintain what he has created. That’s going to be the testing time. In the meantime – rock on.

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