Ryanair’s Place in the European Market

Fresh from announcing its fiscal Q3 losses this week, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary announced that the airline is vying to grow its market share where it competes with BA, Air France-KLM group and Lufthansa. Routes News offers a snapshot of Ryanair’s market position in these key country markets.

Off the back of announcing its third quarterly results on Monday, the "better-than expected" loss of €10.9 million and its forecast of a €275m profit this year-, Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, tells the press: "We are increasing market share particularly where we compete with the big three high fare flag carrier groups - led by Air France, BA and Lufthansa." He pointed towards profiting particularly in Italy, Scandinavia, Spain and the UK markets.

Routes News has chosen three key European markets for Ryanair to see how competition on its network fares with the three legacy carriers.


Ryanair is the fourth largest operator in terms of European traffic, but has an overall market share of just 4%, while Star Alliance member Lufthansa operates 46% of all European flights from Germany.  In terms of domestic capacity, Lufthansa operates 3,377 weekly departures, compared with Ryanair with its 102, making the budget carrier the sixth largest domestic operator.

Lufthansa and Ryanair only compete directly at two airports in Germany: Bremen and Friedrichshafen; the Ryanair strongholds such as Weeze and Hahn are of little interest to Lufthansa.


Ryanair only has a 1% share of all domestic flights operated in France. Not surprisingly Skyteam carriers have the largest share, with a 79% of all operated flights through AF and its subsidiaries, such as Regionale.  Ryanair is the fourth largest carrier in terms of all European departures from France, with a 3% market share compared to Air France's 57%. The AF group currently competes with Ryanair in 13 markets, but Ryanair has no access to the main Paris Airports (CDG and ORY) or Lyon.

UK & Ireland

In the UK and Ireland domestic market, Ryanair is a key player in the market and is the second largest operator with a 13% share of flights operated, second only to Flybe which operates a number of smaller niche markets with its smaller equipment, BA is third in terms of domestic flights offered. BA has scaled down its UK domestic operation,  particularly since its sold its BA connect product to Flybe in 2006.

From the UK to Europe, Ryanair is second only to easyJet which operates 1,347 weekly flights, compared to 1,303 by Ryanair and BA 1,298. (Data 1-7 Feb 2010)

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