Expatica news

Post-Charleroi Ryanair pledges even fewer frills

16 February 2004

BRUSSELS – In the wake of a recent European Commission ruling that it must pay back millions of euros received from the Belgian authorities, low-cost airline Ryanair says it plans to remove even more creature comforts from its already famous no-frills service.

In all the airline hopes to be able to shave a further EUR 1.9 million from its operating costs by getting rid of non-essential comforts in its aircraft.

Ryanair Chief Michael O’Leary said he was planning to fit fixed-back seats into all of his aircraft to replace the more expensive reclining kind.

The airline chief also says he is considering scrapping baggage handling for Ryanair flights.

“Think about it. People are happy to carry a bag on to buses so why not on to airlines? This could be revolutionary,” O’Leary told the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper.

Such a move would allow the company to use even smaller airports and make further savings, he added.

“Most of the space in airports is devoted to baggage handling,” he said. “It would mean smaller airports, simpler facilities and lower charges. It could deliver savings of up to 20 percent for the airline.”

Other planned cost-cutting measures include scrapping blinds on aircraft portholes and removing magazine pockets from the back of aircraft seats.

Earlier this month the European Commission ordered Ryanair to pay back part of a multi-million euro handout it received from the government of Wallonia, Belgium’s French speaking regions. The payment was designed to encourage the Irish airline to develop its operations at Charleroi airport in the south of Wallonia.

O’Leary branded said the ruling marked “a bad day” for low cost air travel in Europe and vowed to fight it at the European court of justice in Luxembourg.

Subject: Belgian news