One of Ireland’s most famous business men died last week. Tony Ryan, aged 71, founded Europe’s most successful budget airline Ryanair, died on Wednesday 3rd of October in Dublin after a long illness, the airline and his family said.
Ryan founded Ryanair in 1985 with just a single 15-seater plane. By the time he floated the company on the Irish and British stock exchanges, Ryanair Holdings was expanding across the European continent with eye-popping fares, new routes and trademark boastful marketing. Today it operates 557 routes in 26 countries and plans to carry more than 50 million people this year. Ryan, the son of a train driver, was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, in 1936. His first job was as a sales clerk at Aer Lingus, Ireland’s state-owned airline, which saw its monopoly status shattered by the launch and rapid ascent of Ryanair.
He died with a personal fortune estimated at more than $1.1 billion and was seventh on the 2007 Sunday Times list of Ireland’s richest people. He lived as a tax exile in Monte Carlo but maintained a country estate and horse stud farm in Tipperary. [source removed]