Wednesday 13 December 2017

O'Leary rules out wifi on Ryanair flights

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary. Photo: PA
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary. Photo: PA

Rebecca Lumley

RYANAIR won't be offering wifi on flights any time soon, according to company chief executive Michael O'Leary.

He has ruled out introducing the technology because it would not turn a profit.

Mr O’Leary is reportedly reluctant to install the required satellites on board as they will create a 4pc fuel drag, increasing the fuel bill. He said he could see “no revenue upside” from the move.

“On average flight distance is still only an hour and 15 minutes and the vast majority of people now are getting on board our aircraft, they have already downloaded Netflix and whatever else it is. They don’t need wifi and they’re unlikely to pay the cost of it,” he told The Sunday Business Post.

“If it isn’t revenue generating, frankly, we wouldn’t be introducing it.”

Ryanair shares hit a high of €18.68 last week, while Mr O’Leary owns 51 million shares in the firm, according to the paper.

It was widely reported that Ryanair were considering the introduction of wireless internet in November last year, when company Head of Development David O’Callaghan said wifi could be expected “over the next year or two.”

This has since been shot down by Robin Kiely, the airlines communications chief, and most recently Mr O’Leary.

Currently only eight airlines worldwide offer free wifi; Emirates, JetBlue, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, Air China, Philippine Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Nok Air.

Ryanair has increased its capacity by 30 million seats over the past two years, translating to a 33pc expansion. Short-haul ticket prices in Europe have dropped due to the rise in Ryanair’s popularity, with the company continuing to undercut rival airlines and turning a profit.

The airline reported a 6pc increase in net profit to €1.32 billion profit last year, due to a 13pc increase in traffic. It currently stands as Europe’s largest airline, boasting 120 million passengers last year.

In 2014 the airline began a four-year plan to improve customer service, easing up on baggage allowances and improving online services. As part of the changes, customers will be able to book connecting flights on the airline for the first time this year.

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