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Need I say Moores

Punishment and reward

Airlines often feel like a weak player in the value chain, but Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has demonstrated that bold moves do have impact.

Italy proposes a tax hike? IATA complainsRyanair responds by closing two bases. Italy decides it’s not such a good idea after all.

Then, in light of the u-turn, Ryanair reverses the base closures and adds 10 aircraft and 44 new routes to its Italian operations. Punishment and reward in action.

This isn’t the first time Ryanair has used its sizeable powers of persuasion, as demonstrated by its long list of law suits and determined battles of will with regulators and airports across Europe.

Ryanair has also been bold enough to use its carrot and stick strategy on passengers – risking the passenger ire (which it is now busy reversing with its Always Getting Better initiative).

Just take checked luggage and online check-in as examples. Way back when, before the birth of low-cost carriers, passengers used to travel with everything, including the kitchen sink, and check it in at the airport desk. Now almost everyone uses online check-in and carry-on. Why? Because of the steep fees (not just from Ryanair).

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has been very open about the fact that these moves were designed to change behavior, rather than make money (although I am sure the extra revenue was more than a nice bonus).

“Husbands around the world should build a statue to me because I've relieved them from having to convince their wives to pack less,” O’Leary said during one of his press briefings.

Love them, or hate them, Ryanair has impact.

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