Spirit Airlines (SAVE) versus Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) Critical Survey

Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ: SAVE) and Ryanair Holdings PLC (NASDAQ:RYAAY) are both mid-cap transportation companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, valuation, dividends and institutional ownership.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

97.1% of Spirit Airlines shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 40.3% of Ryanair Holdings PLC shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.3% of Spirit Airlines shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility and Risk

Spirit Airlines has a beta of 0.71, meaning that its stock price is 29% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ryanair Holdings PLC has a beta of 0.59, meaning that its stock price is 41% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Spirit Airlines and Ryanair Holdings PLC, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Spirit Airlines 1 8 3 0 2.17
Ryanair Holdings PLC 4 1 5 0 2.10

Spirit Airlines currently has a consensus price target of $41.00, suggesting a potential upside of 14.56%. Ryanair Holdings PLC has a consensus price target of $96.00, suggesting a potential downside of 14.55%. Given Spirit Airlines’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Spirit Airlines is more favorable than Ryanair Holdings PLC.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Spirit Airlines and Ryanair Holdings PLC’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Spirit Airlines $2.32 billion 1.07 $264.87 million $3.15 11.36
Ryanair Holdings PLC $7.30 billion 3.67 $1.44 billion $6.48 17.34

Ryanair Holdings PLC has higher revenue and earnings than Spirit Airlines. Spirit Airlines is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ryanair Holdings PLC, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares Spirit Airlines and Ryanair Holdings PLC’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Spirit Airlines 8.55% 15.86% 6.62%
Ryanair Holdings PLC 21.25% 32.39% 12.71%


Ryanair Holdings PLC beats Spirit Airlines on 9 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Spirit Airlines Company Profile

Spirit Airlines, Inc. is an airline company. The Company provides air transportation for passengers. As of December 31, 2016, its all-Airbus Fit Fleet operated over 420 daily flights to 59 destinations in the United States, Caribbean and Latin America. As of December 31, 2016, it had a fleet of 95 Airbus single-aisle aircraft, which are referred to as A320 family aircraft and include the A319, A320 and A321 models, which have common design and equipment but differ most notably in fuselage length, service range and seat capacity. As of December 31, 2016, its fleet consisted of 29 A319s, 45 A320ceos, five A320neos and 16 A321ceos. Its Bare Fares offerings are unbundled base fares that remove components included in the price of an airline ticket. It also offers Frill Control, which allows customers to pay only for the options they choose, such as bags, advance seat assignments and refreshments. As of December 31, 2016, its route network included 200 markets served by 59 airports.

Ryanair Holdings PLC Company Profile

Ryanair Holdings plc (Ryanair Holdings) is a holding company for Ryanair Limited (Ryanair). Ryanair operates an ultra-low fare, scheduled-passenger airline serving short-haul, point-to-point routes between Ireland, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Morocco and Israel. Ryanair provides various ancillary services and engages in other activities connected with its core air passenger service, including non-flight scheduled services, Internet-related services, and the in-flight sale of beverages, food and merchandise. Ryanair markets accommodation services and travel insurance through its Website. It provides hotel and accommodation services. Ryanair provides its own aircraft and passenger handling and ticketing services at Dublin Airport. As of June 30, 2016, Ryanair had a principal fleet of over 350 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and offered over 2,000 scheduled short-haul flights per day serving approximately 200 airports throughout Europe.

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