Ryanair needs rules eased at most its most profitable airport, Dublin

Cantillon: Airline hopes Government relaxes 14-day quarantine at lucrative jewel in crown

Ryanair’s profit margin at Dublin is 17.5 per cent, compared to a paltry 7.25 per cent at Stansted, according to consultant RDC. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP

Ryanair’s profit margin at Dublin is 17.5 per cent, compared to a paltry 7.25 per cent at Stansted, according to consultant RDC. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP

 

London Stansted might be the busiest airport for Ryanair, generating revenues for it in the year to the end of March of €1.12 billion. But Dublin is by far the most lucrative airport on its route network, generating profits for it of €146.3 million on revenues of €835 million, compared to profits of just €81.38 million at its Stansted base.

It shows what is at stake for Ryanair as it tries to convince the Government to relax the 14-day quarantine rule that has stifled all travel in and out of Ireland. Dublin is the jewel in its crown.

Aviation consultancy RDC, which operates the Apex data platform, has crunched the numbers on Ryanair’s most profitable routes to produce an illuminating report, which was first revealed in the industry publication, Anna.Aero.

Profit margin

By RDC’s calculations, Ryanair’s profit margin at Dublin is 17.5 per cent, compared to a paltry 7.25 per cent at Stansted. Since 2018, the Irish airline has grappled with huge competition in London. Jet2 has targeted it at Stansted, while capacity increases at other London airports have also piled on the competitive pressure.

In previous years, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary often lauded Stansted for its low-cost terminal and eagerness to facilitate low-cost carriers. He used it as a stick to beat the supposedly spendthrift Dublin Airport Authority over the head when decrying its airport charges. You rarely hear him say it now, and the RDC figures show why.

Policy pivot

The Government has hinted that it may relax or even scrap the 14-day quarantine rule when it reveals its medium-term plan to fight Covid on September 14th. Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Transport, has suggested that airport testing may form part of a policy pivot to facilitate more travel. Ryanair will be praying that Ministers ease the rules at its most profitable base.

O’Leary is well-known as a Manchester City football fan. To mangle the immortal words of Alex Ferguson, former manager of City’s rivals at Manchester United, the night of September 13th will be “squeaky bum time” for the Ryanair chief executive, as he awaits news on the possible easing of rules.

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