CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, has announced and predicted that his airline could potentially be offering free flights to passengers within five years.
‘The challenge for us in the future is to keep driving air fares down. I have a vision that in the next five to ten years that the air fares on Ryanair will be free.
‘In this case, the flights will be full and we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues; of all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues at airports’.
Speaking at the Airport Operators Association, O’Leary expressed his hope to make the move to boost passenger numbers to 200 million. The Irish airline expects to carry 119 million passengers this year.
The budget airline already offers seats for as little as a penny, but it makes a loss by paying £13 in air passenger duty (APD) for every seat sold in Britain.
O’Leary continued: ‘If air passenger duty is gone, at many airports I’m paying more than £20 already with APD and fees, so if I start getting that back, why not?
‘I’m doing seat sales this week at £4 and I’m paying the £13 APD, I’m paying you to fly with me. Instead of promotional tickets being £9 or £5, they will be free’.
Ryanair employs over 4,000 people across all 15 of its UK airport bases. The no frills carrier has courted controversy with certain policies since charging passengers to re-print their boarding passes, use toilets, and with O’Leary floating more daring ideas like standing room only planes.
‘I think it will happen’ says O’Leary. ‘It just won’t happen at Heathrow or the big hub airports, but at most of the other airports who are looking for big traffic growth instead. That process is already starting to happen, lowering airport fees and some of the charges’.
So, what are your thoughts on today’s news? Are you a frequent flyer with Ryanair? Do you think free flights for the airline are a good idea? Who’s your favourite line to fly with? Leave us your comments!// END - About the Author ?>