Ryanair launched a new base of operation in Charleroi Airport in 2001.
Later that year, the airline ordered 155 new 737-800 aircraft from Boeing at what was believed to be a substantial discount, to be delivered over eight years from 2002 to 2010.
The new airline would be separate from Ryanair and operate under a different branding.
Under partial EU deregulation, airlines could begin new international intra-EU services, as long as one of the two governments gave approval (the so-called "double-disapproval" regime).
The Irish government at the time refused its approval to protect Aer Lingus, but Britain–under Margaret Thatcher's deregulating Conservative government–approved the service.
On 13 February 2006, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a documentary as part of its Dispatches series, "Ryanair caught napping".
The documentary criticised Ryanair's training policies, security procedures and aircraft hygiene, and highlighted poor staff morale.