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Ryanair: How a Small Irish Airline Conquered Europe [Paperback]

Siobhan Creaton
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 26 May 2005 --  
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Ryanair: How a Small Irish Airline Conquered Europe Ryanair: How a Small Irish Airline Conquered Europe 3.9 out of 5 stars (13)
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Book Description

26 May 2005
Just a few years ago Ryanair was a tiny, impoverished Irish airline trying unsuccessfully to compete with Aer Lingus using a handful of elderly turboprop planes. In 2003 its share price is so high the company is worth more than British Airways, and with the unlikely business model of selling seats for as little as 99p for the privilege of flying to airports perhaps fifty miles outside the cities they purport to serve, Ryanair has become the most profitable airline in Europe. It is also an airline whose phenomenal success has never been too far from controversy, whether it be its militant lack of sympathy for its passengers when their flight is delayed or cancelled, its robust approach to industrial relations, or indeed the industrial language favoured by its charismatic and buccaneering chief executive, Michael O'Leary - and, most recently, the EU ruling that Ryanair's strategy of getting cities like Strasbourg to pay it handsomely for the privilege of landing at their airport contravenes competition law. But the supercharged growth of this low-cost airline has actually changed the way countless people live their lives, whether it be Ireland's new 'Ryanair Generation' for whom its cheap flights to Dublin have eliminated much permanent emigration to the UK, or the thousands of Britons now enabled to buy holiday homes in rural France. This is the first book to tell the full story of the Ryanair phenomenon, from its inauspicious beginnings to its current dominance, from the secret of its business strategy to the cavalier stunts and practices that have led the Guardian to dub it 'Eire O'Flot'. Siobhan Creaton has spoken to Ryanair employees past and present, as well as its top management and those at its major rivals like British Airways and easyJet, to produce an authoritative, objective and compulsive account of one of the most colourful companies in Europe.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; Updated Ed edition (26 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845130839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845130831
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,109,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A dramatic story about the making of one of the world's most recognised brands. -- Quentin Fottrell, Sunday Business Post

Creaton writes with a shocked respect for Ryanair and its mind-boggling chutzpah. -- Iain Finlayson, The Times

Pacy and engaging... takes an informed look at the phenomenon that is Ryanair... skilfully sketches set-piece confrontations and their backgrounds. -- Sheila O'Flanagan, Irish Times

This savvy, hugely readable book is measured and fair-minded, regaling us with O'Leary's... verbal discretions without detracting from his achievements. -- Michael Skapinker, Financial Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Siobhan Creaton is Financial Correspondent for the Irish Times. She is co-author of Panic at the Bank, the story of the Allied Irish Bank scandal, which reprinted three times and sold 12,000 copies. She lives in Dublin.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ryanair Be Fair? 26 Jan 2013
Ryanair is a flying McDonalds. Its purpose is to provide cheap flights to various European destinations. That's it. That's all it is. This is why some of the criticism directed towards Ryanair is a little unfair. They do not market themselves as anything other than a cheap, no-frills airline and their service reflects the price paid. I for one believe that is fair. On the other hand, by all accounts their treatment of employees leaves something to be desired. It's one thing to focus on costs, it's another to treat badly those who give the best part of their time to working for your airline.

In this book, Siobhán Creaton charts the history of Ryanair from its struggling beginnings as an overly-ambitious provincial operation to becoming Europe's leading low-cost carrier. It's an amazing story. The factor that seems to underpin Ryanair's success is a relentless focus on costs. Michael O'Leary, the airline's aggressive CEO and an accountant, developed a singular obsession with cutting costs here, there and everywhere, but it's important to realise that this was not just a narrow financial strategy. In improving the bottom-line by saving money, O'Leary was really signalling a general vision for the airline: Ryanair would become not just a low-cost carrier, but a no-frills airline driving a revolution in the way that people travel internationally, even the way we as a society think about travel. After all, if you can fly with Ryanair from, say, Heathrow to an airport near, say, Rome for a fraction of what it would cost with an airline like BA, then what was once a niche pursuit known as 'international travel' suddenly has the potential to become commonplace, almost like taking a coach or train. Ryanair's point is: this being the case, why should flying be such a fuss?
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No miracle, just cost-cutting and luck 20 May 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The essence of this book is a constant focus on the bottom line of the business supplemented by a large slice of luck. Firstly Ryanair managed to negotiate the lowest airport fees in Europe by buying up capacity at Stansted when the new airports partnering agreements with other airlines fell through. Strategically this set them up for the long term. Since then rigourous monitoring of costs such as only using black & white printers in their corporate headquarters through to only buying second hand aircraft (in the beginning at least) and using the same model of aircraft on all routes equals large savings in maintenance and overhead costs.
Furthermore most non-value added costs such as pension costs, uniform and training costs are passed to the employee rather than being paid by the employer. This is taking to the max the concept of the employee as just another factor of production and by removing the requirements for experience and career development from all roles O'Leary does not care about staff retention, not even as regards to pilots.
All in all there is a lot that any organisation can learn from the management of Ryanair in terms of controlling costs. If, however, you value your staff and need to retain them, and want to attract customers for reasons other than hilariously cheap prices, ignore this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 11 Feb 2010
I was looking forward to understanding more about Ryanair and learning about O'Leary but I was left not knowing much more than already is in the public domain. It is incredible repetitive in parts, especially regarding its battle with Aer Rianta etc. It last any interviews from anyone in the firm who has any insider knowledge so in parts it feels as if its been written by piecing together various news stories on the years.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I have just read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been fascinated and entertained by Michael O'Leary for many years now. This book was the first to go behind the scenes in Ryanair and showed how he operates with staff and his total ruthlessness and disregard for what people think of him.
It is a great read and the author had obviously done lots of legwork and has uncovered plenty of new information that vividly shows how Ryanair almost collapsed several times but survived and prospered under O'Leary's leadership.
I particularly enjoyed the interview with Herb Kelleher, the Southwest Airlines chief and the guru for all low fares airlines. He was so entertaining and obviously is enthralled by O'Leary.
It's a real page turner and provides lots of lessons for anyone in business trying to develop their company while keeping an eyes on their costs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, engaging corporate tale 21 Dec 2005
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
The story of how discount airfares came to Europe is no fairy tale. This book is a disturbing story about the underside of deregulating Ireland's airline industry. It's a tale of temperamental executives, overspeculation, greed, government intervention, mistreated customers and the challenges of free market operations. Given a wealth of material and an exciting industry, author Siobhán Creaton delivers a well-written, engaging corporate tale. The cast includes a combustible mix of powerful personalities who sometimes, but not always, tolerate each other. There is also a revolving door of top executives who serve the company's purposes and leave, as well as horror stories about how cost cutting created festering customer relations. Creaton packs this into an exciting story that moves quickly, though it rambles now and then. We recommend this compelling profile to anyone interested in corporate case studies, executive management or modern aviation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Very good book, easy read and very detailed 5☆ wouldnt be for junior audiences as it has some swearing in it.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The story moves on and continues to be one of the most fascinating...
The background, the personalities, the strategy, the key ingredients that has made Ryan Air transform aviation in Europe. Read more
Published 6 months ago by PJ Timmins
5.0 out of 5 stars Ryanair
Excellent account of a very remarkable venture,warts and all, the book tells the history of the airline from humble begins to the outlandish times of Mick OLeary. Highly readable. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Graham Attwood
4.0 out of 5 stars Ryanair
Madman or Genius. Love them or hate them. Either way this book is a must read for anyone even slighty interested in Ryanair.
Published 22 months ago by William Hackett
3.0 out of 5 stars To understand what drives Ryanair to success
Entertaining. Advisable to read together with the Easyjet story to get a good idea of the two companies behind the low-cost revolution in Europe.
Published on 21 Jan 2010 by Miquel
1.0 out of 5 stars Rhetoric
I went in to this book with high hopes. After an overly-lengthy history of GPA there isn't a lot left for Ryanair. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2005 by Mr M A Curran
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, inspiring, and hilarious...a great book!
This is a great book that I couldn't put down until I read it entirely!
As a frequent Ryanair customer, saving big money every time I travel, I always tried to imagine how... Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2005 by Shawn Burke
2.0 out of 5 stars little new here
I bought this book hoping for an insight into what sets Ryanair apart from the other low-cost airlines, and to learn more about its charismatic leader, Michael O'Leary. Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2004
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