Ryanair is arguably the largest and most successful and iconic low cost airline in the European continent. Over the years the irish carrier has grown to become a giant of passenger aviation. So let’s find out all there is to know about this LCC.

When was Ryanair’s First Flight?

Ryanair started off as a small carrier in the mid-eighties. The carrier launched its first flight on July 8th 1985 with a service that looked very different to what we associate Ryanair with in the mid 2020s.

The LCC at the time operated a flight from Waterford in Ireland to London Gatwick, with the aircraft being a 15 seater Embraer EMB 110 turboprop. That’s a long way from the modern 737s the airline uses now.

737 Ryanair at Gate waiting for pushback

What Aircraft Type Does Ryanair Use?

Ryanair is probably the true pioneer of low cost travel in Europe. In order to do so it must save money anywhere it can. The most noticeable area is the fleet. By having a single aircraft type the airline can save money on crew training, spare parts and various operations.

The aircraft of choice for Ryanair has been since the mid ’90s the Boeing 737. The carrier has used so far the:

  • 737-200
  • 737-300
  • 737-400
  • 737-700
  • 737-800
  • 737 MAX 200
  • 737 MAX 10

Where is Ryanair Based?

A distinction must be made between bases and head offices. The head offices of the airline are in Dublin, Ireland. As for the bases, the airline has bases spread throughout Europe. The reason for this is that the airline operates a point to point model and needs planes to be located in various point across the continent.

Which Are Their Main Competitors?

Ryanair has become the largest airline by number of passengers transported in Europe over the years however competition has become fiercer for the carrier. Set aside the legacy full service carriers, that have moved closer to the low cost model for intraeuropean flights, the main competitors of Ryanair are:

  • EasyJet
  • Wizz Air

Both these airlines operate on the same business model as Ryanair.

What does The Ryanair Fleet Look Like?

As already said above Ryanair uses only 1 aircraft type to help cut costs wherever possible. However let’s take a look at the composition of the fleet with the various variants of the 737.

Ryanair directly operates under its main brand name 308 planes of which:

  • 235 are Boeing 737-800 capable of seating 189 passengers
  • 73 are Boeing 737 MAX 200 capable of seating 197 passengers

However Ryanair also operates flights under other brand names which operate:

  • 125 Boeing 737-800 under the Malta Air brand capable of seating 189 passengers (Malta Air)
  • 50 Boeing 737-800 under the Buzz brand capable of seating 189 passengers (Buzz)
  • 33 Boeing 737 MAX 200 under the Malta Air brand capable of seating 197 passengers (Malta Air)
  • 13 Boeing 737 MAX 200 under the Malta Air brand capable of seating 197 passengers (Buzz)