Ryanair lays out ambitious growth plans

City A.M. Reporter
RYANAIR is preparing for take off with ambitious growth plans, including almost doubling its passenger numbers over the next decade.

Colourful chief executive Michael O’Leary says he is ready to buy up to 300 new aircraft in a bid to fly as many as 130m passengers a year, up from the current 70m, according to the Financial Times.

The Irish carrier is understood to be in talks with manufacturers from China and Russia over the potential orders, which would be due for delivery in the next few years.

The ambitious plans would make Ryanair, the airline famous for its no frills approach, one of the biggest carriers in Europe.

Earlier this month O’Leary proposed cutting costs on his airline by removing some of the toilets and replacing them with extra seats, causing an outcry – and a flood of publicity.

He has also been involved in a bitter spat with fellow Irish carrier Aer Lingus, in which Ryanair has a 29 per cent stake.

O’Leary is furious Aer Lingus has decided not to pay a dividend, prompting the rival airline to say Ryanair should not maintain its stake in the long run.

Ryanair has twice had attempts to take over Aer Lingus rebuffed on competition grounds and chairman Colin Barrington said Ryanair should sell its stake, which is valued at around €113m (£98.4m).

Ryanair has said it would consider selling its stake if the government sells its 25 percent shareholding.

● Ryanair flew 72m passengers last year, making it one of Europe’s largest carriers.

● It has been involved in a bitter dispute with Aer Lingus, in which it holds a 29 per cent stake, over its dividend and pension deficit