Ryanair Is Going To Start Plastering Ads On Its Planes To Make Money

Ryanair Michael O'LearyRyanair CEO Michael O’Leary pretending to ride a plane.

From the notoriously cheap European airline that once considered charging passengers for using the toilet, Ryanair has come up with a new money-making scheme: Paint other companies’ logos on its 303 planes.

With four possible ad locations to choose from — Ryanair will keep its own logo on the tail fin — spokesperson Robin Kiely told potential partners this offer “ensure[es] their brand is featured on Europe’s largest – and cheapest – outdoor advertising medium.”

Air Nation reports that a 12 month placement, the lowest unit, would cost “a fraction of the price of a newspaper advert.”

“Air billboards” aren’t entirely unheard of. Air New Zealand placed a temporary “Hobbit” decal on a Boeing 777-300ER to promote the locally shot film franchise — there was also a “Lord of the Rings”-inspired in flight safety video and a terrifying 43-foot sculpture of Gollum floating in New Zealand’s Wellington International airport — but that was just one plane.

Ryanair has a history of finding strange ways to save a buck. Most of them never ended up coming into fruition and seem to be said strictly for publicity purposes. O’Leary once publicly asked Businessweek, “Why does every plane have two pilots? … Really you only need one pilot. Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it.”

Other cost cutting proposals include:

  • Offering standing room only seats starting at  £1. Regulators nixed the idea in spite of Ryanair founder Michael O’Leary’s statement, “if there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid a seatbelt won’t save you.”
  • Making flyers pay to use the bathroom during a flight. (The coin-operated toilet idea was dropped in 2011)
  • Cutting down to one toilet per plane to make room for more seats
  • Considering offering more expensive in-flight porn
  • Creating planes with just one big door allowing two people through simultaneously to cut down on boarding and deboarding time
  • Charging a “fat tax” for overweight passengers. This was rejected by Ryanair in the end “because it is not collectible” and would cut down on its quick turnaround service.

Still, Ryanair sent an email to journalists asking not to be referred to as a “no frills” airliner anymore.

While these proposals didn’t go through, the exterior advertising is a far likelier scenario. In fact, economically struggling American cities have begun putting ads on fire trucks. Ryanair also offers advertising on boarding cards and on board — as you would see ads inside a subway train or bus.

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