Ryanair was the pioneer of low cost flying in Europe. As the result of a series of marketing innovations and stringent control of costs it enjoyed a decade of rapid and profitable growth. By 2004 it had become the most profitable airline in the world (in terms of percentage operating profit). However, it faced intense competition from a variety of traditional, charter and other low-cost carriers. In September 2004 its larger archrival, easyJet, announced that it was going to begin flying into Ryanair’s home market. Michael O’Leary and his management team had to decide how to respond to this provocative move.
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