O'Leary's Ryanair mulls over entering Russian airspace
Michael O'Leary's €6.5bn valued Ryanair has held "exploratory" talks with a number of Russian airports as the government has indicated that it may open up its domestic routes to foreign-owned low-cost airlines.
"We have had discussions with a number of airports, but they are more exploratory at this time," according to Ryanair.
Mr O'Leary's low-cost carrier may see the under-served Russian market, with its population of 140 million, as a potential growth rocket as it continues to expand. Ryanair expects to carry more than 80 million passengers this year.
Last week, the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service announced that the government was considering proposals which would allow low-cost carriers to fly domestic routes.
While low-cost carriers such as Germany's Air Berlin, Spain's Vueling and Turkey's Pegasus Airlines already fly to Russia, Ryanair has not entered the market.
"Ryanair will always meet with airports that are interested in bringing Ryanair's low fares to their market. However, we are currently in discussions with over 50 airports, so competition for Ryanair growth is fierce," according to a spokesman. "We talk to many airports -- but that does not mean we will fly there -- However, we always keep the door open, and the best way is by meeting them."
Despite its massive population, low-cost airlines have failed to make an impression on the Russian market. Avianova and Sky Express, the last two low-cost airlines that attempted to break into the market, failed to make an impact before pulling out.
Sunday Indo Business