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Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Flying for 'free' on Ryanair
Ryanair Boeing 737-200
Ryanair: no frills and no fares?
Budget carrier Ryanair plans a radical departure from the norm by offering some of its airfares for free.

The company's chief executive Michael O'Leary told the UK Sunday Times newspaper that he would not charge a fare for some seats on off-peak flights.


The other airlines are asking how they can put up fares. We are asking how we could get rid of them

Michael O'Leary
Ryanair
The Irish airline would make up the fares from inflight services such as pay-per-view television, shopping, internet gambling, car hire and hotel bookings.

Mr O'Leary said the company is exploring ways of eliminating fares by capitalising on revenue from passenger entertainment.

"The cost of the film at a multiplex cinema is low," he said. "But it can get 5 a head selling popcorn and Coke, which cost only 50p to produce."

Passenger spending

Currently, spending on inflight services makes Ryanair about 4 per passenger. The introduction of onboard satellite television could make enough money to allow the airline to offer more than one million free seats.

He told the newspaper that 10% of passengers would get free flights on off-peak flights within three years.

"The other airlines are asking how they can put up fares. We are asking how we could get rid of them," he added.

But the airline would continue to charge for peak time flights.

In February, Ryanair reported record traffic and profits.

The firm, which attracted 29% growth in passenger numbers during the last three months of 2000, said it had broken into the league of Europe's top 10 scheduled international carriers.

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