Ryanair owes its survival to never taking hostages
Published 20/07/2015 | 02:30
Nobody ever expects Ryanair to just sit back and let things happen. It celebrates its 30th birthday this year, and owes at least part of its survival to never taking hostages.
In recent weeks, it has closed bases at two Danish airports - Copenhagen and Billund - as a result of union plans to strike against the airline. It will continue to operate at the airports, but aircraft based there are being shifted, including one to Dublin.
Ryanair already competes vigorously with one of IAG's Spanish airlines, Vueling, which has only recently started flying between Dublin and Barcelona.
Now it will take the fight with IAG to Ireland. Ryanair is already the single biggest competitor for Aer Lingus, but the rivalry could now intensify.
There's no way that Ryanair will simply let IAG buy Aer Lingus and then sit back to see what happens, especially on home turf.
Even Easyjet has never taken on Ryanair in Ireland. It would end up being a bloodbath.
Another British low-cost airline, Go, tried to muscle in on Ryanair's patch at Dublin, launching services in 2001 from the capital to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
At the time, Ryanair didn't fly to Edinburgh from Dublin. Go pulled its services after just four months following a strong response from Ryanair, which launched a service to Edinburgh and undercut Go's fares. Go was bought by EasyJet in 2002.
But the dynamics have changed significantly over the past 15 years or so. Ryanair's model has evolved.
Aer Lingus draws a large number of people from the UK who connect to its transatlantic services out of Dublin - one of the main reasons IAG is buying it.
IAG wants to grow this traffic out of Dublin, and expand the transatlantic services. That can also benefit Ryanair.
Michael O'Leary told the Irish Independent earlier this year he saw no reason why Ryanair couldn't become a feeder for Aer Lingus long-haul flights.
"It's an obvious development," he said.
Perhaps the arrival of IAG at Dublin could end up helping both Aer Lingus and its rival.