Easyjet and Ryanair are two of Europe’s biggest and most well-known budget airlines. Together they carry more than 200 million passengers per year around the continent. In this Easyjet vs Ryanair article we will compare the airlines head-to-head in terms of some operational statistics of interest. Most figures are taken directly from each airline’s 2017 annual report unless otherwise stated.
Easyjet vs Ryanair Background
Easyjet (U2) was established in 1995 by founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. It is headquartered at London Luton Airport in the UK. Easyjet plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: EZJ) and is part of the FTSE 100 index.
Easyjet made its inaugural flight from London Luton to Glasgow on 10 November 1995 using a Boeing 737 aircraft. Its first international route was London Luton to Amsterdam which started in 1996.
Ryanair (FR) was established in 1985 by the Ryan family. It is headquartered at Dublin Airport in Ireland. Ryanair Ltd is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange (ISEQ: RYA) plus additional listings in London (LSE: RYA) and in the US (NASDAQ:RYAAY).
Ryanair’s inaugural flight was Waterford to London Gatwick on 8 July 1985 using a 15-seater Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante turboprop aircraft.
Easyjet has 27 bases, serving 138 airports and 862 routes. Its main base is at London Gatwick (LGW).
Ryanair has 86 bases, serving 207 airports and 2,000 routes. Its main base is at London Stansted (STN).
The Easyjet.com website had an average of 24 million monthly visits for the last 6 months of 2017. It is ranked number 7 in terms of traffic in the airline industry.
The Ryanair.com website had an average of 57 million monthly visits for the last 6 months of 2017. It is ranked number 1 in terms of traffic in the airline industry. [source: Similarweb]
Easyjet reported making 516,902 flight sectors in 12 months – an average of 1,416 flights per day. 76% of the flights landed on-time (within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival).
The average sector length was 1,105km. This means the total distance flown annually by Easyjet aircraft is 571 million km, the equivalent of around 5 return trips from Earth to Mars.
Ryanair reported making 675,482 flight sectors in 12 months – an average of 1,851 flights per day. 88% of the flights landed on-time (within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival).
The average sector length was 1,239km. Likewise, the total distance flown annually by Ryanair aircraft is 837 million km, the equivalent of around 7 return trips from Earth to Mars or roughly a one-way trip from Earth to Jupiter!
Now, whether one would want to make an interplanetary trip by low cost airline is another matter…
Easyjet currently flies 80.2 million passengers per year with an average load factor of 92.6%. That’s 220,000 passengers per day on average, although there will be more passengers flying during the peak summer season.
Ryanair currently flies 120.0 million passengers per year with an average load factor of 94.0%. That’s 329,000 passengers per day on average.
Easyjet reported a fleet of 279 aircraft comprising of 143 Airbus A319, 134 Airbus A320 and 2 Airbus A320neo. It has another 98 Airbus A320neo on order. It utilises its aircraft 10.9 hours per day.
Ryanair reported a fleet of 383 Boeing 737 aircraft (at the time of publishing this is up to 413 aircraft). It plans to have a fleet of 585 aircraft by 2024. It utilises its aircraft 9.3 hours per day.
Easyjet planes have grey-orange seats in a 3-3 configuration. The seat pitch is 29″ and the seat width is 18″. Easyjet seats do not recline but do have a seat pocket. Easyjet sells allocated seating which costs between £1.99 and £26.99 per flight depending on the route and whether the seat is classed as first row, extra legroom (up front or overwing) or elsewhere.
Ryanair planes have blue-yellow seats in a 3-3 configuration. The seat pitch is 30″ and the seat width is 17″. Ryanair seats do not recline and have no seat pocket. Ryanair also sells allocated seating which costs from €2 (standard seat), from €7 (front seats row 2-5) and from €11 (extra legroom seats) per flight depending on the route.
Carry-On Luggage Allowance
Easyjet allows all passengers to bring 1 carry on bag (no weight limit) with maximum dimensions of 56 x 45 x 25cm including handles and wheels. An additional under seat bag (max dimensions 45 x 36 x 20cm) is only available for easyJet Plus cardholders, FLEXI fare, Up Front or Extra Legroom customers.
Ryanair has a new carry-on policy for 2018 which is the opposite of Easyjet. All passengers may only bring 1 small bag measuring up to 35 x 20 x 20cm which must be placed under the seat in front. Only those purchasing “Priority & 2 Cabin Bags”, Flexi Plus, Plus or Family Plus fares can take a second bag of up to 10kg and 55 x 40 x 20cm. This can be stowed in the overhead lockers.
Easyjet has 12,000 staff members which includes 3,291 pilots and 7,547 cabin crew. Easyjet appointed Johan Lundgren as CEO after Carolyn McCall stepped down at the end of 2017.
Ryanair has 13,000 staff members which includes an estimated 4,600 pilots. The CEO is Michael O’Leary.
In 2017 Easyjet reported an operating income of £408 million on £5.047 billion of revenue. Easyjet made £12.29 per passenger in (non-seat) ancillary revenues.
In 2017 Ryanair reported an operating income of €1.534 billion on €6.648 billion of revenue. Ryanair made €14.83 per passenger in (non-seat) ancillary revenues.
Easyjet’s longest route is London Gatwick (LGW) – Hurghada (HRG) in Egypt which is 2,425 miles and has a scheduled flying time of 4 hours 45 minutes.
Ryanair longest route is Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) – Tenerife South (TFS) which is 2,655 miles and has a scheduled flying time of 5 hours 50 minutes.
Easyjet’s shortest route is Belfast (BFS) – Isle of Man (IOM) which is just 76 miles. The scheduled flying time is 45 minutes.
Ryanair’s shortest flight route is Valencia (VCN) – Ibiza (IBZ) which is 108 miles. The scheduled flying time is 50 minutes.
Route Map Extremities
Both airlines have significant route coverage throughout Europe and also serve a few destinations in North Africa and Israel. Easyjet and Ryanair rarely compete on the same route.
Most Northerly Airport: KEF (Reykjavik, Iceland) 63°59’06″N
Most Southerly: HRG (Hurghada, Egypt) 27°10’42″N
Most Easterly: TLV (Tel Aviv, Israel) 34°53’12″E
Most Westerly: SPC (Santa Cruz de la Palma, Spain) 17°45’20″W
Most Northerly: TMP (Tampere, Finland) 61°24’55″N
Most Southerly: LPA (Gran Canaria, Spain) 27°55’55″N
Most Easterly: VDA (Eilat, Israel) 34°56’09″E
Most Westerly: TER (Terceira, Azores) 27°05’27″W
Easyjet vs Ryanair Summary
The figures show that Ryanair is statistically the bigger airline of the two. Ryanair has improved its customer service over the last few years via its Always Getting Better program and does offer slightly lower fares than Easyjet and its competitors. However in 2017 Ryanair did have its share of problems with flight schedule cancellations caused by pilot shortages.
Whilst both airlines should continue to expand in the coming years there are uncertainties about the airline landscape following the UK’s Brexit decision to leave the European Union.