|Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 10):
don't worry STN-DUB will be the LAST flight they cancel, it effectively subsidises the other flights to those remote eastern european cities we've never heard of)
You need not recognise those Eastern European cities: they are used overwhelmingly by people from those countries. Let’s take one example: Poland.
The vast majority of people flying Ryanair's Polish routes will be Polish/of Polish origin. After all, there are at least 1m Poles now in the UK, and 200,000-300,000 in Ireland. That explains why on my Gdansk-Stansted flight the only English I heard was from my girlfriend and me (exceptions occur, primarily on flights to WAW and KRK). Truly, they are very popular routes for obvious reasons: they can now move away cheaply and can visit home cheaply, easily and frequently. Only the Chinese have emigrated more than Poles.
Ryanair presently flies to 10 Polish cities. The vast majority of those routes go to the U.K. and then Ireland. It presently has a very limited network of routes from Poland to countries other than the U.K. and Ireland; indeed, it only has 3. Thus far, the vast majority of flights to other countries in mainland Europe from Poland has been done by Wizz Air; indeed, it presently has 15 routes from Katowice; 5 from Gdansk; 4 from Poznan; 1 from Wroclaw; 11 from Warsaw. Note: I didn’t include Wizz’s flights to the U.K. and Ireland.
Pre-Ryanair (and Wizz Air), it would have been far too expensive for the average Pole to visit/move away and, if they had, to visit home much if at all. Now it's cheap, easy and convenient (no need to go via WAW or CPH or whatever to get to your nearest city). Again, pre-Ryanair (and Wizz Air), there were exceedingly few international flights from any Polish airport bar WAW and, to a much lesser extent, KRK. Now there's a good and growing number of routes from 10 Polish airports.
Remember that Ryanair, after its adaptation from failing full-frills airline, was at the beginning based on enabling the Irish to return home from the U.K. cheaply, frequently and easily. Pre-that, they would have had to travel by ferry - a long, tiresome journey - or paid a lot and flown Aer Lingus (or B.A.) or not gone.
A lot of Ryanair's routes are based on ethnic travel; indeed, more people fly Ryanair to visit family and friends than for any other reason.
[Edited 2007-06-28 20:26:02]
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."