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Ryanair SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52215053| Oct 2020| 15 pages


Business Sector :Aviation

Operating Geography :Europe, Global

About Ryanair :

Ryanair is an Irish airline established in 1984 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. It is the largest European carrier in terms of passenger volume in 2016 (Lufthansa wrestled the top spot in 2017) and is largely characterized by the successful implementation of the low-cost business model. Being a pioneer in offering low fares to its passengers on short European routes, Ryanair has earned the reputation to offer lowest fares in the industry and hence turns out to be the toughest competition to the newbies in the aviation industry. During the 90’s Ryanair operated as an airline serving short point to point European routes. Later it entered the Dublin-London route hitting the market with its attractive strategy of lowest fares and increased routes between Ireland and UK. Gradually Ryanair started new routes in various other countries, keeping its business model simple and focused towards providing lowest possible fares with increased frequencies to destinations and emphasizing on safety and security of passengers. In 2017, albeit facing a lot of internal and external problems, Ryanair managed to be a low-cost carrier and became the first European airline to fly with more than 1 billion customers. FTE Europe and FTE Ancillary awards 2018 acknowledged Ryanair and it was awarded the Future Travel Experience Ancillary Silver award for its continuous efforts to create innovative ancillary revenue streams. Strategic capacity expansion over the last few years, ultra-low operating costs aided by growth in passenger volumes and an overhauling of customer experience have resulted in record load factor and profit of 95% and €1.45 billion respectively for Ryanair in 2018. These headwinds have propelled Ryanair’s stock prices to all-time highs. Ryanair has over 16,000 employees on its rolls as of 2020.

Ryanair’s unique selling proposition or USP is to provide lowest fares in the airline industry with increased frequencies for short point to point routes.Ryanair's mission statement reads as “to offer low fares that generate increased passenger traffic while maintaining a continuous focus on cost containment and efficiency operation.”Ryanair's Vision is “to firmly establish itself as Europe's leading low-fares scheduled passenger airline through continuous improvements and expanded offerings of its low-fares service”

Ryanair Revenue :

€ 8.5 billion - FY ending 31st March 2020 (y-o-y growth 11.8%)
€ 7.6 billion - FY ending 31st March 2019 (y-o-y growth 6%)
€ 7.1 billion - FY ending 31st March 2018

Ownership / Major shareholders :

As of August 2018, the major shareholders of the company are as follows –
1) Fidelity Management & Research Co. (4.40%)
2) Michael O’Leary (3.84%)
3) Jupiter Asset Management Ltd. (2.74%)
4) Baillie Gifford & Co. (2.21%)
5) Allianz Global Investors GmbH (1.66%)

Competitive Analysis of Ryanair


SWOT / TOWS analysis of Ryanair is a framework to evaluate the factors that create an impact on the airline industry at large and wield its influence on Ryanair. The SWOT analysis gives insights into the internal and external factors, namely, strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats of Ryanair. The strategic analysis of Ryanair’s internal factors demonstrates strengths that are also its key success factors. Some of these are low cost, low fares, innovation in terms of leadership and strategies, increased routes and frequencies to destinations. These factors are creating a competitive advantage for Ryanair and keeping it ahead of its competitors and rivals in the ever evolving and militant aviation industry where airlines are battling out to grab the smallest of market shares.

Though Ryanair’s business model is simple and focused in providing low fares, on time service and passenger’s safety as a priority, it scores low in customer satisfaction being plagued with problems like poor customer service, hidden charges, ambiguous agreements and misleading advertisements about fares. Clearly, these are some of the major weakness for any low-cost airline in general. Despite all the ups and downs, Ryanair has seen throughout its journey it has some great opportunities that will help sustain its growth. For instance, acquisition and mergers with other airlines, code sharing and sector consolidation, significant hike in number of short distance travellers teamed with a swelling market share and market growth are some factors in the macro environment of Ryanair that act as achievable opportunities. External factors like hike in fuel price, currency movements, competition from local carriers and natural disasters are some major threats to Ryanair.

The SWOT analysis for Ryanair is presented below in a matrix followed by the detailed analysis report.:

1. Established in the European market covering more than 200 destinations and 1800 routes
2. Strong balance sheet and consistent shareholder returns
3. Ryanair’s low cost base is a key competitive advantage
4. Ryanair operates point-to-point flights within short distance locations
5. European Union’s cleanest and greenest airline
1. Labor Relations and change in employee compensation arrangements could impact Ryanair’s business
2. Aggressive fleet expansion may result in overcapacity in the near future
1. Ryanair has good scope to increase ancillary revenues through myRyanair
2. Focus on customer experience through Always Getting Better (AGB) program
3. Opportunity in declining charter flight segment
1. Weaker GBP post Brexit to put downward pressure on prices
2. Fluctuations in fuel prices can affect the company’s business model and profitability
3. Competition from other low cost regional carriers
4. ATC staff shortages & strikes in Europe
5. Increase in Irish Corporation tax rates
6. Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on aviation industry
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of Ryanair



This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


1. Weaker GBP post Brexit to put downward pressure on prices: The GBP has significantly depreciated post the Brexit referendum in 2016, by almost 20% as of the year 2020. Ryanair earns a significant portion of its annual revenues in GPB and estimates that for every 1p movement in GBP/USD will affect its income by as much as €7 million as of FY2020. Thus, major fluctuations in GBP will materially affect Ryanair's financials and operations.

2. Fluctuations in fuel prices can affect the company’s business model and profitability: Ryanair which operates as a low cost carrier is majorly dependent on low fuel prices to keep operating, a factor on which Ryanair has limited control. Over the last two years the fuel prices have been low, which has enabled Ryanair to keep costs under control. However rise in fuel prices due to global geo-political or economic reasons may threaten Ryanair's low cost operating model and also its profitability.

3. Competition from other low cost regional carriers: Ryanair is facing increasing competition from other state-owned and regional carriers. Wizz Air, the Hungarian low cost carrier is giving increasingly tough competition to Ryanair. EasyJet, the UK based low-cost airline is another major competitor to Ryanair. Alitalia and AirBerlin which are partly owned by Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways are also in the low-cost aviation market.

4. ATC staff shortages & strikes in Europe: Strikes in France and ATC staff shortages in Repeated ATC staff shortages in Germany and the UK have upset flight schedules considerably in 2018. Compared to the 37 national ATC providers in the EU, Europe has very few. With the French ATC on strike for 9 weekends during summer peak season, thousands of flights had to be cancelled and numerous Ryanair departures delayed. This was an example of terrible conditions considering the US that operates 18% fewer air traffic controllers handle 56% more flights almost no strikes and fewer delays. This dismal productivity of Europe’s ATC is negatively impacting airlines such as Ryanair’s business must be improved if “openskies” is to have any credibility.

The remaining section under "Threat" is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.

Major Competitors :

Major Brands :

  • Ryanair
  • Ryanair Sun
  • Laudamotion
  • Buzz(Subsidiary)
  • Ryanair rooms
  • Ryanair holidays

Key Business Segments / Diversification :

Passenger transportation Cargo transportation Car hire
Holiday packages Hotel bookings

Recent Acquisition / Mergers / Alliance / Joint Ventures / Divestitures :

Open Table Preview
Business Segment
Objective/Synergy Achieved
LaudamotionAviation2018MergerRyanair has taken 75% stake in Austria based airline Laudamotion for $62 million after approval from the EU commission. It has plans to establish Laudamotion as an Austrian low-fare airline for the scheduled and charter market.
Air EuropaAviation2107AllianceIt has entered a long haul flights partnership with Air Europa via Madrid providing reduced check-in baggage fees.
BuzzAviation2003AcquisitionIt had purchased the Dutch low cost airline for 23.9 million euros; for the consolidation of Europe's low-cost airline industry.
Source: Company website and other reliable sources. The detailed table is available in the Complete Report.
SWOT & PESTLE (combined)
Complete Report
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

The Ryanair SWOT and PESTLE Analysis report will offer the following:
  • The report gives a brief overview of, Ryanair’s history, founders, its corporate headquarters, owners & stakeholders and revenue jumps.
  • Comprehensive company analysis to gain knowledge about company information, company profile, business model, business plans and marketing strategy.
  • Utilizing strategic tools like SWOT and PESTLE, the analysis strives to evaluate the performance of Ryanair in both the micro and macro environment.
  • The SWOT analysis report covers all the internal factors that describe the major strengths and weaknesses of the largest low-cost carrier of Europe, Ryanair
  • The report lends intelligence on the external analysis, comprising of the achievable opportunities that would lead to international growth and expansion.
  • Gain understanding of challenges and threats posed by major competitors, that would impede Ryanair’s growth.
  • The analysis also talks about appreciation in the share price of Ryanair, opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, partnership and alliances.
  • Gives insight into Ryanair’s strategy and business model that has helped it to become a successful pioneer brand in providing low fares for its passengers.
  • Interpretation of Ryanair’s USP or unique selling proposition, mission statement and vision statement that has set a benchmark in the airline industry.
  • Core competitive advantages enjoyed by Ryanair over its rivals and competitors from the aviation industry
  • In-depth analysis of external factors like political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental and highlighting their impact on the operation of Ryanair.
  • An insightful view of the business model of Ryanair, along with further breakdown and examination of key business segments and business case study
  • A peek into the Ryanair’s key performance indicators, success factors, value proposition and core competencies
References used in Ryanair Analysis Report

1. Ryanair Annual Report 2019:

2. Ryanair FY17 Presentation:

3. Ryanair FY17 Results:

4. Wizz Air SWOT: ultra-low costs drive high growth and margins, in spite of Ryanair competition:

5. Ryanair to expand fleet faster to steal a march on struggling rivals:

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Ryanair SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & PESTLE.COM

SWOT & (2021). Ryanair SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & [online] Available at: [Accessed 06 Mar, 2021].

In-text: (SWOT &, 2021)

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Ryanair SWOT and PESTLE analysis has been conducted by and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.

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