While Ryanair is a low-cost no-frills airline that caters to the low budget passenger, Virgin Atlantic operates in the long haul market with all its resources being concentrated on major transatlantic routes and others from Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport in London.While the two carriers have very little else in common except the European roots, they play a pivotal role in the European air passenger transport sector. Management structures and styles too differ with Ryanair concentrating greatly on the domestic inter-European market segments and Virgin Atlantic on diverse destinations such as North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia among others. Management structures at Ryanair essentially facilitate a more concentrated businesslike approach in which there is very little freedom for the subordinate staff to make decisions or act independently. On the other hand at Virgin Atlantic, such structures essentially support an easy-going friendly atmosphere. Such divergences in management styles serve as the catalysts of great change.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic, has been more amenable to change than O’Leary the Chief executive Officer (CEO) of Ryanair. However, it’s difficult to draw broader conclusions on these preliminary suggestions without an in-depth analysis of the respective management styles of both.
It’s necessary at the outset to focus attention on the impact of structural constraints on management styles at these two airlines due to the fact that management structures are primarily determined by the nature and the size of the business organization. Virgin Atlantic is a Full-Service Carrier (FSC) and its management structure is much more complex and thus requires a more detailed analysis in order to understand the implications of the management style.
Both Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair have had a checkered history of operations in intra-continental and inter-continental markets in the world.