Ryanair wants to make flights free

© Andrew Yates
Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ireland's Ryanair, has plans to make some of it's flights free in a decade’s time, according to the company CEO. Michael O'Leary says it's possible if the airline shares revenue with airports.

“The challenge for us in the future is to keep driving airfares down. I have this vision that in the next five 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, as quoted by the Guardian.

“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,” he added.

“If air passenger duty (APD) is gone: at many airports, I’m paying more than £20 already with APD and fees 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.” O’Leary said.

In 2015, the average price of a Ryanair ticket including a checked bag was £39. The airline promised to cut the cost by 10 to 15 percent in 2016.

Ryanair has expanded its fleet boosting its annual passenger numbers by more than 65 percent in eight years. In 2016 Ryanair plans to carry 119 million people, and the company wants to increase this number to 200 million by 2024.

According to O’Leary, the growth would come from “taking price sensitive passengers off incumbents like Air Berlin in Germany, Lot in Poland and Alitalia in Italy.”