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Tuesday 10 May 2011

Ryanair: Growth Stalling

Despite the bullish publicity on passenger numbers coming from our old friends at Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care), the strength of that all important growth in the figures is flagging. Last month, the carrier declared a 10% growth over the previous year, but the April 2010 growth figure was seven percentage points more.

And that is important for Ryanair – and any other carrier whose business model depends on maintaining growth – as well as giving early signs that the marketplace is becoming saturated. Moreover, the less growth there is to be had, the less room available for Michael O’Leary’s finest to play airports off against one another, and the less opportunities for bullying them into lowering charges.

Also, the growth figures have been stalling not just for one month, but the last six. Consider the numbers:

November: 2009 15%, 2010 2%

December: 2009 12%, 2010 2%

January: 2010 9%, 2011 5%

February: 2010 6%, 2011 5%

March: 2010 13%, 2011 8%

April: 2010 17%, 2011 10%.

And now consider the equivalent numbers for EasyJet (March and April 2011 figures not yet available):

November: 2009 12%, 2010 10%

December: 2009 9%, 2010 8%

January: 2010 11%, 2011 19%

February: 2010 12%, 2011 13%.

Ryanair is in front on absolute numbers (4.57 million versus 3.83 million for February 2011), but growth appears to be faltering. And, as these figures are freely available, they may be at the fingertips of the next airport management to be confronted with a Ryanair corporate mardy strop.

Back to Alicante next summer, Mike?

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