Mr Nice Guy act really pays off - Ryanair profits

IT pays to be nice. That maxim is partly responsible for Ryanair’s whopping profit of €245 million in the first quarter of the airline’s financial year. Having undergone a road to Damascus conversion to Mr Nice Guy from being a confrontational figure, the low fares airline boss Michael O’Leary cites “enhanced customer experience” as one of the key ingredients of the 25% profit leap.

With passenger numbers up by 16% to 28m, it is a performance any airline would envy. While the new “friendly” brand of customer relations is undoubtedly an important ingredient, it is only part of the story. Its low-fare policy is the real key to this high-flying story. For instance, yesterday’s list of cheap flights out of Dublin on the Ryanair website offered fares of €9.99 to Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds (Bradford), Glasgow, East Midlands and Liverpool. Who wants to go there? By all accounts, a lot of people.

It is now the leading airline in Italy, Spain, and Poland and the second biggest operator in the UK. Germany is a growing destination on its target list.

With revenue reaching €1.65bn in the three months to the end of June, Michael O’ Leary is sitting on a goldmine. Though he is counted among Ireland’s richest men, he is widely admired for his personal policy of paying his taxes in this country, an example other wealthy executive earners should emulate.

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