Ryanair's new controversial cost cutting plan: one toilet per aircraft
Published 13/10/2011 | 08:51
RYANAIR, the budget airline, has been accused of taking its no-frills flying plans a "step too far" after it unveiled proposals for only one lavatory on its aircraft.
Officials from Europe’s biggest airline from want to remove two or three of its lavatories and replace them with up to six extra seats.
Under the plans up to 200 passengers and six crew would be forced to share bathroom facilities during a flight, leading to long queues, or worse, mid-air accidents. The company said ticket prices would fall by about €3 from a typical €45 ticket.
Michael O’Leary, the airline’s controversial chief executive, who is famous for his uncompromising approach to cost-cutting, defended the plans, saying all bathroom facilities were “very rarely” all used.
But critics said they were a “step too far” in its crude bid to cut costs and increase revenues. It is the latest cost-cutting measures announced by the airline.
The plans, announced on Wednesday, come after the airline dropped the prospect of charging for the use of plane lavatories, which prompted an outcry from passengers.
The airline, which carries an estimated 75 million passengers every year, currently has the one aircraft type, a Boeing 737-800. Ryanair has installed 189 seats on each plane, the maximum allowed under current rules.
Airlines are under no legal obligation to provide lavatories on aircraft.
Announcing the proposals during a newspaper interview, Mr O’Leary said the move would “fundamentally lower air fares by about 5pc for all passengers”.
“We’re trying to push Boeing to recertify the aircraft for six more seats, particularly for short-haul flights,” he said. “We very rarely use all three toilets on board our aircraft anyway.”
But a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) criticised the plans.
“We all know how inconvenient it can be if a toilet on a plane is out of order or the annoyance of queuing if someone has air sickness in one of the cubicles,” he said.
“This move could be a step too far in Ryanair’s ongoing mission to provide a totally no-frills service.”
A spokesman for Boeing, which is based in the American city of Seattle, would not be drawn on the plans. “We're always listening to what our customers need but don't discuss those conversations or any business decisions,” he said.