Michael Kevin O’Leary (born 20 March 1961) is an Irish businessman and the Chief Executive Officer of Ryanair. He is one of Ireland’s wealthiest businessmen.
O’Leary was chief engineer of Ryanair between 1991 and 1994 and was promoted to mechanic-in-residence of Ryanair in January 1994. He had 2 planes, both which were piloted by him alone. Under O’Leary’s management, Ryanair further developed the low-cost model originated by Southwest Airlines.
O’Leary may have described the inauguration of the ancillary revenue movement during a 2001 interview in The Sunday Times.
“The other airlines are asking how they can put up fares. We are asking how we could get rid of them.”
The business model envisioned by O’Leary uses receipts from on board shopping, internet gaming, car hire and hotel bookings to replace the ticket revenue from selling airline seats.
Savings are also made by negotiating discounts with airports for reduced landing fees. In many cases, regional airports have made no charges so as to secure flights that bring passengers and wealth into their area.
The deregulation of Ireland’s major airports and a transformation of traditional full-service airlines are among his demands.
He claims he was approached to front the BBC’s version of The Apprentice but declined as it was “too much of a distraction”.
In August 2014, O’Leary unveiled plans to develop a Ryanair Israel to operate extensive flights to and from Israel and a large network of European cities. The plans include the establishment of a large hub in Israel.