Ryanair (ISEQ: RYA, LSE: RYA, NASDAQ: RYAAY) is an Irish airline headquartered in Dublin. Its biggest operational base however is at London Stansted Airport. It is one of Europe’s largest low-cost carriers and one of Europe’s most successful airlines, operating on 362 routes to 22 countries. Ryanair has been characterised by rapid expansion, a result of the deregulation of the air industry in Europe in 1997. Over the years it has evolved into a profitable airline , running at remarkable margins by passing its costs directly to its customers.
Ryanair is one of Europe’s most controversial companies, praised and criticised in equal measure . Its supporters praise its commitment to low fares, radical management, and its willingness to challenge what Ryanair calls the ‘establishment’ within the airline industry (similar to its American counterpart, Southwest Airlines). Critics, meanwhile, have attacked its trade union policies , hidden “taxes” and fees, and limited customer services, and charged that it practises deceptive advertising. In October 2006 Ryanair was voted the world’s most disliked airline in a survey by the TripAdvisor website