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The Traveller's Magazine
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Ryanair’s big boss Michael O’Leary is gearing up his airline for European domination of the skies. The chief executive has plans to take over Europe’s short-haul routes and fly 120 million passengers a year. Big dreams or our new reality?

The goal: 120 million annual passengers in 10 years

Currently Ryanair is flying 79 million passengers a year so it seems like O’Leary has a bit more work to do if he wants to reach that golden number but it may not be as far off as we think. Smaller rival airlines are going belly up every year and major regular airlines are cutting their domestic routes in hopes of saving money.

At 79 million passengers, Ryanair currently has a 12% hold on Europe’s short-haul travel market but apparently that’s not enough for this low cost giant. As bmibaby shut down this summer and airlines like Air France-KLM, British Airways, Lufthansa and other cut back their short-haul routes, other charter airlines like Thomas Cook are cutting their fleet sizes.

This is the chance Ryanair has been waiting for and they plan to do it over the next ten years.

In the meantime Ryanair waits for the European Commission to rule on its bid to take over Aer Lingus in a deal that’s worth more than £500 million. O’Leary will have to wait until mid-February to find out if the deal (the airline’s third attempt) goes through or not.

In other Ryanair news: O’Leary claims seatbelts are useless

Michael O’Leary claims that seatbelts on planes are a complete waste as he pushes to make his “standing room only” flights a reality. As he considers an aircraft to be just a bus with wings, he further goes to rationalise his point by saying,

“If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you.”

If he gets his way, Ryanair will soon be offering standing room on flights for only £1 a ticket by removing the back 10 rows of seats to make room for “students and budget travellers.” As far as we’re concerned, Ryanair won’t be too successful at convincing the European Safety Authorities if O’Leary keeps calling them “plonkers.”

Do you think seatbelts are a waste? Would you pay £1 for standing room on a flight?

Img: mikelo / Flickr cc.

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