«As filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on July 26, 2016 UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION WASHINGTON, D.C. ...»
Ryanair has a comprehensive and documented Safety Management System. Management encourages flight crews to report any safety-related issues through the Air Safety Report (ASR) reporting program, which is available online through Ryanair’s Crewdock system. Also available to crew is Ryanair’s Confidential Reporting System (RCRS) which affords personnel the opportunity to report directly to the Flight Safety Officer any event, error, or discrepancy in operations that they do not wish to report through standard reporting channels. RCRS is designed to increase management’s awareness of problems that may be encountered by personnel in their day-to-day operations.
Management uses the de-identified information reported through all reporting systems to modify operating procedures and improve flight operation standards. Additionally, Ryanair promotes the use of CHIRP, a confidential reporting system that is endorsed by the U.K. CAA as an alternative confidential reporting channel.
Ryanair has installed an automatic data capturing system on each of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft which captures and downloads aircraft performance information for use as part of Operational Flight Data Monitoring (OFDM) which automatically provides a confidential report on exceedances from normal operating limitations detected during the course of each flight. The purpose of this system is to monitor operational trends and inform management of any instance of an operational limit being exceeded. By analyzing these reports, management is able to identify undesirable trends and potential areas of operational risk, so as to take steps to rectify such deviations, thereby ensuring adherence to Ryanair’s flight safety standards.
In November 2008, a Ryanair aircraft suffered a multiple bird strike during its final approach to Rome (Ciampino) airport. This incident caused substantial damage to the aircraft, which resulted in an insurance claim being filed in respect of this aircraft. The damage that it suffered was such that the aircraft was not repaired, although Ryanair has retained ownership of it for certain parts and for training purposes.
Airport Handling Services Ryanair provides its own aircraft and passenger handling and ticketing services at Dublin Airport. Third parties provide these services to Ryanair at most other airports it serves. Swissport Limited provides Ryanair’s ticketing, passenger and aircraft handling, and ground handling services at many of these airports in Ireland and the U.K., while similar services in continental Europe are generally provided by the local airport authorities, either directly through sub-contractors, or partners in self-handling at airports in Spain (including the Canary Islands) and Portugal.
Management attempts to obtain competitive rates for such services by negotiating multi-year contracts at fixed prices.
These contracts are generally scheduled to expire in one to five years, unless renewed, and certain of them may be terminated by either party before their expiry upon prior notice. Ryanair will need to enter into similar agreements in any new markets it may enter. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Company Is Dependent on External Service Providers.”
As with other airlines, Ryanair must pay airport charges each time it lands and accesses facilities at the airports it serves. Depending on the policy of the individual airport, such charges can include landing fees, passenger loading fees, security fees and parking fees. Ryanair attempts to negotiate discounted fees by delivering annual increases in passenger traffic and/or access to new destinations, and opts, when practicable, for less expensive facilities, such as less convenient gates and the use of outdoor boarding stairs rather than more expensive jetways.
Nevertheless, there can be no assurance that the airports Ryanair uses will not impose higher airport charges in the future and that any such increases would not adversely affect the Company’s operations.
As a result of rising airport charges and the introduction of an Air Travel Tax of €10 on passengers departing from Irish airports on routes longer than 300 kilometers from Dublin Airport (€2 on shorter routes), Ryanair reduced its fleet at Dublin airport to 13 during winter 2010 (down from 22 in summer 2008 and 20 in winter 2008). The introduction of the aforementioned €10 tax likely had a negative impact on the number of passengers traveling to and from Ireland. The Dublin Airport Authority (“DAA”) reported that passenger volumes declined by 25% from 30 million in 2007 to 23 million in 2012. Ryanair believes that this was partly reflective of the negative impact of the tax on Irish travel. Ryanair called for the elimination of the tax to stimulate tourism during the recession. Ryanair also complained to the European Commission about the unlawful differentiation in the level of the Irish Air Travel tax between routes within the EU. From April 2011, a single rate (€3) of the Air Travel Tax was introduced on all routes.
In May 2011, the Irish Government announced that it would abolish the Air Travel Tax, and the tax was ultimately abolished on April 1, 2014. No assurance can be given that the tax will not be reintroduced in the future at similar levels or higher levels, which could have a negative impact on demand for air travel.
The Greek government planned to introduce similar taxes; however, it has now cancelled plans to introduce these taxes. The German government introduced an €8 passenger tax on January 1, 2011 for all departing domestic or short-haul passengers and a passenger tax of €25 for all departing passengers on flights bound for southern Europe and northern Africa. The €8 tax was reduced to €7.50 in January 2012. In addition, the Austrian government introduced an ecological air travel levy of €8 effective January 1, 2011. In July 2013, the regional Walloon Government in Belgium announced a €3 passenger travel tax from January 2014. However, the plan to introduce this tax was later abandoned. The Moroccan government has also introduced a similar tax (equivalent to approximately €9) from April
2014. The Italian government has recently increased the municipal taxes in Italy by €2.50. As a result, Ryanair was forced to close two Italian bases. From June 2016, the Norwegian government introduced a passenger travel tax of NOK80 (approximately €8.50) which resulted in Ryanair announcing the closure of its Oslo Rygge base with effect from late October 2016.
In March 2007, the discount arrangement formerly in place at London (Stansted) airport terminated, subjecting Ryanair to an average increase in charges of approximately 100%. The increase in these charges, which was passed on in the form of higher ticket prices, had a negative impact on yields and passenger volumes in the winter, resulting in Ryanair’s decision to ground seven aircraft. Ryanair responded to the increases by filing complaints with the OFT and the Competition Commission, calling for the break-up of the British Airports Authority plc (“BAA”) monopoly and the introduction of competition in the London airports market. The OFT referred the matter to the Competition Commission, which found that the common ownership by BAA of the three main airports in London negatively affected competition and that a “light touch” approach to regulating BAA by the Civil Aviation Authority adversely impacted competition. In March 2009, the Competition Commission ordered the break-up of BAA. In October 2009, London (Gatwick) was sold to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5 billion. Following a delay caused by various appeals by the BAA, the BAA proceeded to sell Edinburgh Airport in April 2012, and London (Stansted) airport to Manchester Airports Group plc in March 2013. Following the December 2003 publication of the U.K.
government’s White Paper on Airport Capacity in the Southeast of England, the BAA in 2004 announced plans to spend up to £4 billion on a multi-year project to construct a second runway and additional terminal facilities at London (Stansted) airport with a target opening date of 2013. Ryanair and other airlines using London (Stansted) support the principle of a second runway at London (Stansted), but are opposed to this development because they believe that the financing of what they consider to be an overblown project will lead to airport costs approximately doubling from current levels. In May 2010, the BAA announced that it would not proceed with this £4 billion program. On January 10, 2014, the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority completed its regulatory investigation into market power determination for passenger airlines in relation to London (Stansted). It found that London (Stansted) did not enjoy substantial market power in the market for the provision of airport operation services to passenger airlines, and as such declined to continue to regulate the airport. On September 16, 2013, Ryanair announced that it had agreed a 10 year growth agreement with Manchester Airports Group plc, the owners of London (Stansted), in relation to an expansion of capacity at London (Stansted) in return for significant airport charge reductions for the incremental passenger volumes delivered. Once this 10 year growth deal expires, Ryanair may be subject to increased airport charges at London (Stansted) as the airport is no longer subject to regulation.
See “Item 3. Risk Factors⎯Risks Related to the Company⎯Ryanair’s Continued Growth is Dependent on Access to Suitable Airports; Charges for Airport Access are Subject to Increase.” See also “Item 8. Financial Information⎯Other Financial Information⎯Legal Proceedings⎯EU State Aid-Related Proceedings” for information regarding legal proceedings in which Ryanair’s economic arrangements with several publicly owned airports are being contested.
The cost of jet fuel accounted for approximately 41% and 43% of Ryanair’s total operating expenses in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. In each case, this accounts for costs after giving effect to the Company’s fuel hedging activities but excludes de-icing costs, which accounted for approximately 0.3% and 0.5% of total fuel costs in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. The future availability and cost of jet fuel cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, and Ryanair’s low-fares policy limits its ability to pass on increased fuel costs to passengers through increased fares. Jet fuel prices are dependent on crude oil prices, which are quoted in U.S. dollars. If the value of the U.S. dollar continues to strengthen against the euro, Ryanair’s fuel costs, expressed in euro, may increase even absent any increase in the U.S. dollar price of jet fuel. Ryanair has also entered into foreign currency forward contracts to hedge against some currency fluctuations. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Foreign Currency Exposure and Hedging.” Ryanair has historically entered into arrangements providing for substantial protection against fluctuations in fuel prices, generally through forward contracts covering periods of up to 18 months of anticipated jet fuel requirements. As of July 21, 2016, Ryanair had entered into forward jet fuel (jet kerosene) contracts covering approximately 95% of its estimated requirements for fiscal 2017 at prices equivalent to approximately $622 per metric ton. In addition, as of July 21, 2016, Ryanair had entered into forward jet fuel (jet kerosene) contracts covering approximately 55% of its estimated requirements for fiscal 2018 at prices equivalent to approximately $496 per metric ton, and had not entered into any jet fuel hedging contracts with respect to its expected fuel purchases beyond that period. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—Changes in Fuel Costs and Availability Affect the Company’s Results” and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Fuel Price Exposure and Hedging” for additional information on recent trends in fuel costs and the Company’s related hedging activities, as well as certain associated risks. See also “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Fiscal Year 2016 Compared with Fiscal Year 2015—Fuel and Oil.”
Ryanair is exposed to potential catastrophic losses that may be incurred in the event of an aircraft accident or terrorist incident. Any such accident or incident could involve costs related to the repair or replacement of a damaged aircraft and its consequent temporary or permanent loss from service. In addition, an accident or incident could result in significant legal claims against the Company from injured passengers and others who experienced injury or property damage as a result of the accident or incident, including ground victims. Ryanair maintains aviation third-party liability insurance, passenger liability insurance, employer liability insurance, directors and officers liability insurance, aircraft insurance for aircraft loss or damage, and other business insurance in amounts per occurrence consistent with industry standards. Ryanair believes its insurance coverage is adequate, although not comprehensive. There can be no assurance that the amount of such coverage will not need to be increased, that insurance premiums will not increase significantly or that Ryanair will not be forced to bear substantial losses from accidents. Ryanair’s insurance does not cover claims for losses incurred when, due to unforeseen events, airspace is closed and aircraft are grounded, such as the airspace closures described in “Item 3. Risk Factors – Risks Related to the Airline Industry – Volcanic Ash Emissions Could Affect the Company and Have a Material Adverse Impact on the Company’s Results of Operation”, which resulted from volcanic ash in the northern European airspace during April and May 2010.