Passengers could be flying on the Irish low-cost airline for free in the very near future. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary says it could happen in “the next five to ten years”.
Ryanair chief executive said he hopes to offer zero fares if airports and carriers share revenue from concessions sold in flight and on the ground. Speaking at the Airport Operators Association conference in London on Tuesday (22 November), Michael O’Leary revealed that increasingly attractive deals being offered to Ryanair by European airports, as well as a potential reduction or abolition of air passenger duty (APD), would eventually allow his airline to sell some tickets with a €0 base fare.
The challenge for us in the future is to keep driving airfares down. I have this vision that in the next 5 to 10 years the airfares on Ryanair will be free, in which case the flights will be full, and we will be making our money out 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, said O’Leary.
In 2015, the average price of a Ryanair ticket including a checked bag was €45/£39. The airline promised to cut the cost by 10 to 15 percent in 2016. The Irish carrier expects to carry 119 million passengers this year and is growing its aircraft fleet rapidly. The company wants to increase this number to 200 million by 2024. According to O’Leary, most of that growth would come from “taking price sensitive passengers off incumbents like Air Berlin in Germany, LOT in Poland and Alitalia in Italy”.
Ryanair chief executive added:
I think it will happen. It just won’t happen at Heathrow or those big hub airports. But most of the other airports who are looking for big traffic growth, that process is already starting to happen, lowering airport fees and some of the charges.
Instead of promotional tickets being £9 or £5 they will be free, O’Leary said.