«As filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on July 26, 2016 UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION WASHINGTON, D.C. ...»
focus on cost-containment and operating efficiencies. The key elements of Ryanair’s long-term strategy are:
Low Fares. Ryanair’s low fares are designed to stimulate demand, particularly from fare-conscious leisure and business travelers who might otherwise use alternative forms of transportation or choose not to travel at all.
Ryanair sells seats on a one-way basis, thus eliminating minimum stay requirements from all travel on Ryanair scheduled services. Ryanair sets fares on the basis of the demand for particular flights and by reference to the period remaining to the date of departure of the flight, with higher fares typically charged on flights with higher levels of demand and for bookings made nearer to the date of departure. Ryanair also periodically runs special promotional fare campaigns. See “—Route System, Scheduling and Fares—Low and Widely Available Fares” below.
Customer Service. Ryanair’s strategy is to deliver the best customer service performance in its peer group.
According to the data available from the Association of European Airlines (“AEA”) and airlines’ own published statistics, Ryanair has achieved better punctuality, fewer lost bags, and fewer cancellations than its peer group in Europe. Ryanair achieves this by focusing strongly on the execution of these services and by primarily operating from un-congested airports. Ryanair conducts a daily conference call with airport personnel at each of its base airports, during which the reasons for each “first wave” flight delay and baggage short-shipment are discussed in detail and logged to ensure that the root cause is identified and rectified. Subsequent (consequential) delays and short shipments are investigated by Ryanair ground operations personnel. Customer satisfaction is also measured by regular online, mystery-passenger and by passenger surveys.
Ryanair is implementing a series of strategic initiatives that are expected to have a significant impact on its customer service offering. Ryanair has also announced and introduced a series of customer-service related initiatives under the AGB customer experience program, including a new, easier-to-navigate website with a fare finder facility, a mobile app, reduced penalty fees, allocated seating and more customer-friendly baggage allowances and change policies. Ryanair has also introduced several important products that improve its offer to customers. Family EXTRA offers families travelling with Ryanair a set of bundled ancillary discounts and 20% off a third booking. Business PLUS offers business travelers a flexible ticket, airport fast track and priority boarding. Leisure PLUS gives customers a discounted bundle of ancillaries including a 20kg bag, priority boarding and a reserved seat. Ryanair Groups is a dedicated booking service designed for groups travelling together and this year Ryanair launched a new bonded travel service for school travel. Furthermore, these customer-service related initiatives include scheduling more flights to primary airports, selling flights via travel agents on GDS, marketing spending to support these initiatives, and adjusting the airline’s yield management strategy with the goal of increasing load factors and yield.
Frequent Point-to-Point Flights on Short-Haul Routes. Ryanair provides frequent point-to-point service on short-haul routes to primary, secondary and regional airports in and around major population centers and travel destinations. In the 2016 fiscal year, Ryanair flew an average route length of 762 miles and an average flight duration of approximately 1.8 hours. Short-haul routes allow Ryanair to offer its low fares and frequent service, while eliminating the need to provide unnecessary “frills,” like free in-flight meals and movies, otherwise expected by customers on longer flights. Point-to-point flying (as opposed to hub-and-spoke service) allows Ryanair to offer direct, non-stop routes and avoid the costs of providing “through service,” for connecting passengers, including baggage transfer and transit passenger assistance.
Low Operating Costs. Management believes that Ryanair’s operating costs are among the lowest of any European scheduled-passenger airline.
Ryanair strives to reduce or control four of the primary expenses involved in running a major scheduled airline: (i) aircraft equipment costs; (ii) personnel costs; (iii) customer service costs; and (iv) airport access and handling costs:
Aircraft Equipment Costs. Ryanair’s primary strategy for controlling aircraft acquisition costs is focused on operating a single aircraft type. Ryanair currently operates only “next generation” Boeing 737-800s.
Ryanair’s continuous acquisition of new Boeing 737-800s has already and is expected, through the end of fiscal 2019, to increase the size of its fleet and thus increase its aircraft equipment and related costs (on an aggregate basis). In fiscal 2019, when the Boeing 737-800 is scheduled to go out of production, Ryanair will become the launch customer for the new Boeing 737-MAX-200 aircraft, which is designed to replace the Boeing 737-800, and will purchase up to 200 of such aircraft through the end of fiscal 2024 (an agreement is in place with Boeing to purchase 100 aircraft with an option to purchase a further 100 aircraft). The purchase of aircraft from a single manufacturer enables Ryanair to limit the costs associated with personnel training, maintenance, and the purchase and storage of spare parts while also affording the Company greater flexibility in the scheduling of crews and equipment. Management also believes that the terms of Ryanair’s contracts with Boeing are very favorable to Ryanair. See “⎯Aircraft” below for additional information on Ryanair’s fleet.
Personnel Costs. Ryanair endeavors to control its labor costs by seeking to continually improve the productivity of its already highly productive work force. Compensation for personnel emphasizes productivity-based pay incentives. These incentives include sales bonus payments for onboard sales of products for flight attendants and payments based on the number of hours or sectors flown by pilots and flight attendants within limits set by industry standards or regulations fixing maximum working hours.
Customer Service Costs. Ryanair has entered into agreements on competitive terms with external contractors at certain airports for ticketing, passenger and aircraft handling, and other services that management believes can be more cost-efficiently provided by third parties. Management attempts to obtain competitive rates for such services by negotiating fixed-price, multi-year contracts. The development of its own Internet booking facility has allowed Ryanair to eliminate travel agent commissions. As part of its strategic initiatives, and the “AGB” customer experience program, the Company has broadened its distribution base by making Ryanair’s fares available to Travelport (Galileo and Worldspan), Amadeus and Sabre at nominal cost to the Company.
Direct sales via the Ryanair website and mobile app continues to be the prime generator of scheduled passenger revenues.
Airport Access and Handling Costs. Ryanair attempts to control airport access and service charges by focusing on airports that offer competitive prices. Management believes that Ryanair’s record of delivering a consistently high volume of passenger traffic growth at many airports has allowed it to negotiate favorable contracts with such airports for access to their facilities, although the recent change in strategy by the Company may see it access more primary airports, which typically have higher airport charges and greater competition along with slot limitations. Secondary and regional airports also generally do not have slot requirements or other operating restrictions that can increase operating expenses and limit the number of allowed take-offs and landings. Ryanair further endeavors to reduce its airport charges by opting, when practicable, for less expensive gate locations as well as outdoor boarding stairs, rather than jetways, which are more expensive and operationally less efficient to use. In addition, since October 2009, Ryanair has required all passengers to check-in on the Internet. This requirement was instituted to reduce waiting times at airports and speed a passenger’s journey from arrival at the airport to boarding, as well as significantly reduce airport handling costs. Ryanair has also introduced a checked-bag fee, which is payable on the Internet at the time of booking or post booking and is aimed at reducing the number of bags carried by passengers in order to further reduce handling costs. See “Item 3. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Company Faces Risks Related to its Internet Reservations Operations and its Announced Elimination of Airport Check-in Facilities.” Taking Advantage of the Internet. In 2000, Ryanair converted its host reservation system to a new system, which it operates under a hosting agreement with Navitaire that was extended in 2011 and will terminate in November
2019. As part of the implementation of the reservation system, Navitaire developed an Internet booking facility. The Ryanair system allows Internet users to access its host reservation system and to make and pay for confirmed reservations in real time through the Ryanair.com website. After the launch of the Internet reservation system, Ryanair heavily promoted its website through newspaper, radio and television advertising. As a result, Internet bookings grew rapidly, and have accounted for the vast majority of reservations over the past several years. In May 2012, Ryanair further upgraded the reservation system to offer more flexibility for future system enhancements and to accommodate the future growth of Ryanair. In November 2013, Ryanair re-launched its website in a new, easier to use, format that reduced the number of “clicks” to make a booking. Various other initiatives were also introduced, including a fare finder facility which enables customers to easily find the lowest fares. The new “My Ryanair” registration services, which allows customers to securely store their personal and payment details, has also significantly quickened the booking process and made it easier for customers to book a flight. The Company also launched a new mobile app in July 2014, which made it simpler and easier for customers to book Ryanair flights. In May 2015, an upgraded mobile app, which is native to both Android and IOS, was launched. This upgraded app is faster, more reliable and stable than previous versions of the app and enhances the experience for customers accessing its website via mobile. The new app also offers customers the ability to add additional ancillary products on day of travel e.g. bags, priority boarding and fast track. We launched a new version of the website in October 2015 with the key features being personalization, a new myRyanair, easier booking flow, more content, faster, intuitive and fully responsive for mobile devices. Ryanair, as part of the “AGB” customer experience program, will endeavor to improve its website and mobile app through a series of ongoing upgrades.
Commitment to Safety and Quality Maintenance. Safety is the primary priority of Ryanair and its management. This commitment begins with the hiring and training of Ryanair’s pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance personnel and includes a policy of maintaining its aircraft in accordance with the highest European airline industry standards. Ryanair has not had a single passenger or flight crew fatality as a result of an accident with one of its aircraft in its 31-year operating history. Although Ryanair seeks to maintain its fleet in a cost-effective manner, management does not seek to extend Ryanair’s low-cost operating strategy to the areas of safety, maintenance, training or quality assurance. Routine aircraft maintenance and repair services are performed primarily by Ryanair, at Ryanair’s main bases, but are also performed at other base airports by maintenance contractors approved under the terms of a European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”) Part 145 approval. Ryanair currently performs heavy airframe maintenance, but contracts with other parties who perform engine overhaul services and rotable repairs. These contractors also provide similar services to a number of other airlines, including Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France and Alitalia.
Enhancement of Operating Results through Ancillary Services. Ryanair distributes accommodation services and travel insurance primarily through its website. For accommodation (hotels, villas, apartments, hostels etc.) services, Ryanair currently has a contract with Booking.com to market hotels during and after the booking process.
The accommodation business went out to tender in July 2016, and a new multi-supplier solution is under development for quarter 3 fiscal 2017. Ryanair also offers airport transfers and car park services through its website and onboard its aircraft. Ryanair offers car hire services via a contract with CarTrawler, which replaced previous supplier Hertz in September 2015. Ancillary services accounted for approximately 24% of Ryanair’s total operating revenues in the 2016 fiscal year and approximately 25% of Ryanair’s total operating revenues in the 2015 fiscal year See “—Ancillary Services” below and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year 2016 Compared with Fiscal Year 2015—Ancillary Revenues” for additional information.
Focused Criteria for Growth. Building on its success in the Ireland-U.K. market and its expansion of service to continental Europe, Morocco and Israel, Ryanair intends to follow a manageable growth plan targeting specific markets. Ryanair believes it will have opportunities for continued growth by: (i) using aggressive fare promotions to increase load factors; (ii) initiating additional routes in the EU; (iii) initiating additional routes in countries party to a European Common Aviation Agreement with the EU that are currently served by higher-cost, higher-fare carriers; (iv) increasing the frequency of service on its existing routes; (v) starting new domestic routes within individual EU countries; (vi) considering acquisition opportunities that may become available in the future; (vii) connecting airports within its existing route network (“triangulation”); (viii) establishing new bases; and (ix) initiating new routes not currently served by any carrier.