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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 16:52 GMT
Ryanair 'to cut frills further'
Ryanair is to remove all luxury fittings from its new fleet
Ryanair has confirmed it is taking "no-frills" flying a stage further by ordering a fleet of planes without reclining seats or window blinds.

The budget airline could make savings of more than 1.3m a year by removing all remaining "non-essential" items.

A Ryanair spokesman said: "We have made the decision to save costs that we can then pass on to our passengers."

It is also looking at the possibility of asking passengers to carry on their luggage, cutting baggage handling fees.

The airline spokesman said the carrier has ordered all luxury fittings to be taken from a fleet of Boeing aircraft.

"After looking at a number of different options, Ryanair is to go ahead with these adjustments.

"The order has been made to take out all non-essential items, which include the reclining seats, head rests and window blinds."

Advertising space

Seats will become non-adjustable, to cut down on replacements needed for reclining models, and there will no longer be a seat pocket, to reduce cleaning costs and turn around time.

Removing Velcro headrests could save the firm around 100,000 unless the items are used as a space for advertising.

The spokesman said the airline is considering changes to what type of luggage passengers will be permitted to carry.

This could save the firm 20% of costs, chief executive Michael O'Leary told the Sunday Times.

"Most of the space in airports is devoted to baggage handling. It's not just a question of staff. It would mean smaller airports, simpler facilities and lower charges," the paper quoted him as saying.

Subsidy payments

Independent airline analyst James Halstead told the BBC that the move was unlikely to save "a huge amount of money."

"But what it does is keep the costs down. In this type of business, the passengers are going on board because of the price.

"The price is everything."

The carrier has expanded rapidly and made big profits in recent years.

But its share price recently tumbled after it issued its first profit warning, following a drop in passenger numbers.

The announcement came a day after the airline said it must repay millions of pounds in subsidies that the European Commission had found to be illegal.

Its full-year profit is forecast to drop by about 10%, but still be 215m euros (148.4m; $271m).

James Halstead, airline analyst.
"Cleaning is an expensive part of the turnaround."

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