Ryanair Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: RYAAY) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) are both large-cap transportation companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, valuation, risk, profitability, earnings and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings for Ryanair Holdings PLC and Delta Air Lines, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ryanair Holdings PLC 2 2 8 0 2.50
Delta Air Lines 0 1 15 0 2.94

Ryanair Holdings PLC currently has a consensus target price of $96.00, indicating a potential downside of 15.89%. Delta Air Lines has a consensus target price of $62.31, indicating a potential upside of 27.21%. Given Delta Air Lines’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Delta Air Lines is more favorable than Ryanair Holdings PLC.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Ryanair Holdings PLC and Delta Air Lines’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ryanair Holdings PLC N/A N/A N/A $6.48 17.61
Delta Air Lines $39.88 billion 0.89 $7.48 billion $5.03 9.74

Delta Air Lines has higher revenue and earnings than Ryanair Holdings PLC. Delta Air Lines 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.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

40.1% of Ryanair Holdings PLC shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 86.5% of Delta Air Lines shares are held by institutional investors. 0.4% of Delta Air Lines shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


Delta Air Lines pays an annual dividend of $1.22 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Ryanair Holdings PLC does not pay a dividend. Delta Air Lines pays out 24.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Delta Air Lines has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years.


This table compares Ryanair Holdings PLC and Delta Air Lines’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ryanair Holdings PLC 21.44% 34.02% 13.43%
Delta Air Lines 9.30% 28.33% 7.06%

Volatility & Risk

Ryanair Holdings PLC has a beta of 0.61, suggesting that its share price is 39% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Delta Air Lines has a beta of 1.25, suggesting that its share price is 25% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Delta Air Lines beats Ryanair Holdings PLC on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ryanair Holdings PLC

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.

About Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines, Inc. provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States and across the world. The Company’s segments include Airline and Refinery. The Company’s route network is centered around a system of hub, international gateway and airports that the Company operates in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York- John F Kennedy International Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Tokyo-Narita. Each of these operations includes flights that gather and distribute traffic from markets in the geographic region surrounding the hub or gateway to domestic and international cities and to other hubs or gateways. The Company’s route network includes its international joint ventures, its alliances with other foreign airlines, its membership in SkyTeam and agreements with multiple domestic regional carriers that operate as Delta Connection.

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