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Time for Ryanair to become more like Tesco, says O'Leary


Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary. Photo: Bloomberg News

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary. Photo: Bloomberg News

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary. Photo: Bloomberg News

Ryanair should be more like Tesco and won't always offer the cheapest fares to consumers, its chief executive Michael O'Leary has said.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr O'Leary said that there was no reason why Ryanair's fares should always be significantly cheaper than those of rivals, but said the changes are unlikely to happen until after he leaves the airline within the next two to three years.

"There's no reason why our average price should be 50pc cheaper than anybody else," he said. "I think it could easily be 25pc cheaper than everybody else, but that means a different kind of sales mission and a different kind of culture."

He said that he wasn't the right person to lead the carrier, where he's been chief executive for the past 17 years, into its next business phase. He added that Ryanair needs to become more rounded, as Tesco had done, rather than just sticking to a "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" strategy.

Speaking about wider issues, he said child benefit should be axed for children over the age of five and should also be taxed in an effort to plug the yawning budget deficit gap facing the government.

Mr O'Leary said it was absurd that people should receive the welfare payment once their kids reach the age of five.

"We should tax child allowance so that if you're rich like me and you're getting it you pay tax on it," he said. "I don't understand, why do you get children's allowance after the age of five when your kids start going to school? They're getting free education. This nonsense that the children would starve if they didn't get the allowance is bulls**t. You had the children, you pay for them."

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