Ryanair boss says hand luggage charges "inevitable" and pushes for new runways at existing airports

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has said the introduction of charges for hand luggage on planes is “unlikely in the short term but it’s probably inevitable”.

Speaking at a news conference in London, the budget airline boss said it’s likely that companies would see the charges as a new revenue stream to be exploited, but said he was unsure of how his company could do it without disturbing its 25 minute turnaround times.

When asked what the logic was behind Ryanair’s €20 increase in charges for hold luggage over the summer period, he said that this is “when people bring more bags. We don’t want the bags. We will keep increasing charges until we get rid of [hold] bags”.

The airline has managed to reduce the number of passengers checking in hold baggage from 80 per cent to 19 per cent and said it was saving them “a fortune in money”. He hopes to get this figure down to ten per cent.

O’Leary assured journalists he would not be reducing air conditioning on his planes, but said that the decision to get its pilots to increase flight times by two minutes to save fuel would save the company around €80m per year.

Commenting on the Competition Commission’s inquiry into the attempted takeover of Irish airline Aer Lingus, he said it was “a political farce which has no case, no evidence and no credibility either”.

However, he would take an advert for them on his planes and even rival budget airline easyJet if they wanted to buy space.

O’Leary also gave his opinion on Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission tasked with deciding where to build new runways in Britain.

I don’t think it will come up with anything. The Commission is just a way for [prime minister David] Cameron to avoid making any decision on this until after the next election….

The commonsense decision would be to build new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, where you’d just have to build a runway, not new roads and railway stations. That way you’d also drown out all the Nimbys bleating in their tented villages about why are they building a runway here. They’d be building a runway at all the main London airports.