Saturday 20 December 2014

Michael O'Leary promises to increase luggage price until no-one uses the hold

Airlines are even likely to charge for hand luggage at some point

Published 31/07/2013 | 15:03

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

RYANAIR intends to increase baggage charges until no-one takes its flights with luggage that needs to go in the hold, the airline's boss said today.

And Michael O'Leary added it was likely that "at some point" airlines would start charging even for hand luggage.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Mr O'Leary said that Ryanair had increased its charge for hold luggage by €20 for the summer period.

Asked what was the logic behind charging people more for the summer period, he replied: "That's when they are likely to bring more bags."

Mr O'Leary went on: "We will keep increasing charges until we get rid of (hold) bags. " He said Ryanair had reduced the number of its passengers who checked in hold baggage from 80% to 19% and that this was saving the airline "a fortune in money".

But he accepted that some passengers would always want to bring big bags that needed to go in the hold. He said: "We will never get rid of (hold) bags but I would be disappointed if we don't get our figure for (hold) bags down from around 20pc to 10pc."

Asked if Ryanair would consider charging for hand luggage, Mr O'Leary said: "At some point in the future I think it's likely that airlines will do it but I can't get my head round how you would do it. I think it's unlikely that we will do it."

Mr O'Leary said that Ryanair's decision, announced earlier this week, to get its pilots to increase flight times by two minutes to save fuel, would save the airline around €80m a year.

Asked if he was considering reducing the amount of air conditioning on his flights, Mr O'Leary said: "No. Even I would not do that."

On Ryanair's plans to offer advertising space on its planes, Mr O'Leary was asked if he would take an advert from rival airline easyJet.

He replied: "I would take an advert from anyone, even the UK Competition Commission (CC).

Ryanair has been battling the CC and other regulatory authorities since 2006 in his efforts to take over Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

Today, Mr O'Leary described the CC's inquiry into the proposed takeover as "misguided" and "a political farce which has no case, no evidence and no credibility either".

Ryanair said that from the end of October it was adding one extra daily flight to its five main Ireland-UK routes - from Dublin to Stansted, to Manchester, to Birmingham, to Edinburgh and to Bristol.

This is in direct response to similar flight increases recently announced by Aer Lingus.

Mr O'Leary repeated his call for new runways to be built at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports and said this concentration of new runways would "eliminate all the f****** nimbys for the next 20 years".

He described the Government-appointed Airports Commission headed by former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies as "an irrelevancy".

Mr O'Leary said the commission was dominated by environmentalists and economists and that he did not think they would "come up with anything" when they make their final report on airport capacity in summer 2015.

Peter Woodman, Independent.co.uk

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