For a country with a population that ranks just 29th in Europe and an economy that is approximately 1% of EU GDP it is quite an achievement that Ireland is home to the largest airline in Europe.
Founded in 1984 Ryanair has both the largest independent fleet in Europe with just under 350 aircraft and is set to knock Lufthansa Group of top spot for the first time this year in terms of the number of passengers carried. The low-cost carrier will probably top 120 million passengers by the end of December, an achievement made all the more remarkable given that it is just over 30 years old, and has followed its current strategy for the past twenty years.
What makes the airline so successful it is targeted pricing strategy. The dynamics of demand and supply and subsequent changes in price can all be witnessed by closer inspection from the data the airline provides on its websites. To demonstrate this I use a nice example from Cork Airport and the English Premier League.
As a Liverpool supported I decided I wanted to visit Anfield again. I was surprised to find that he Reds have just six league fixtures between the the start of the season on the 12th of August and the 30th of November 2017. Fortunately for me, Ryanair provide a service between Cork Airport and Liverpool Airport and I matched up possible fixtures with flight dates. The data for all flights from Cork to Liverpool (one-way) and the six Premier League match day is presented below.
Between the dates considered, the most expensive ticket is €135.99. This is the day of Liverpool play Huddersfield at Anfield. The second most expensive day to travel is the 14th of October, the day Liverpool are home Manchester United, with a one-way flight from Cork to Liverpool costing €108.99. These are the only two times the price of a single fare exceeds €100. The third most expensive day to travel is the day Liverpool play Burnley at home with the flight costing €88.99.
To provide some context, Liverpool are away from home in the Premier League on the 12th of August, 9th of September and 23rd of September. Flights to Liverpool on these three days are priced at €23.99, €28.99 and €42.99 respectively. It is even possible to fly one-way for as little as €14.99 in November.
It will be interesting to see how the Champions League draw effects midweek prices, should Liverpool maintain their lead from the first leg. At the moment one could take a chance and hope Liverpool are at home on a given week and book flights. No doubt when the draw is made, and fixtures known, market forces will take over and we can again see the interaction of the demand and supply curves.
Flight data collected on the 26th of July 2017