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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 20:03 GMT 21:03 UK
Luggage 'ban' for Ryanair flyers
Ryanair aircraft on the tarmac
Even fewer frills on the way for Ryanair's passengers
Budget airline Ryanair says it plans to ban passengers from taking checked-in luggage on board its planes within a couple of years.

Passengers should buy or hire what they need when they arrive at their destination, the carrier said.

Banning hold luggage is the next stage of chief executive Michael O'Leary's campaign to drive down costs.

The Irish airline also plans to offer one million seats at 99p each as part of it winter sale.

The drive to reduce costs has been highlighted in recent months by the intensifying airfare war between Ryanair and its budget rivals.

Ryanair's boss admitted all the obvious moves to cut costs, ranging from internet booking to operating to secondary and regional airports, had already been exploited.

Mr O'Leary recently warned of a "bloodbath" in the low-cost airline sector this winter in the face of growing overcapacity, as existing competitors and new entrants seek to gain market share.

"Now we must be cleverer," he said.

Cost-cutting

Ryanair wants to simplify its airport operations in a fresh attempt to cut costs.

"The objective is to get rid of hold baggage altogether," said Mr O'Leary, with passengers restricted to carry-on baggage only. This could cut its airport costs by a third within two to three years, it said.

Already fewer than 50% of Ryanair passengers had check in baggage, Mr O'Leary said, with the average stay away being only two-and-a-quarter days.

"If you want to carry more, then fly with more expensive airlines," he said.

"But you can save so much with Ryanair you can buy your hair dryer when you arrive."

Earlier this year, Ryanair said that it was also hoping to cut costs by ordering new aircraft without window blinds, headrests, seat pockets or reclining seats.

Ryanair's latest attempt at financial aerodynamics has been rejected by its rival low-cost carrier EasyJet.

Ray Webster, chief executive, said "unlike some airlines, EasyJet is not working towards removing hold baggage.

"Airlines will always be restricted by the volume that can be carried in the overhead storage bins and EasyJet does not believe that such significant limitations would be attractive to passengers," he said.

But recently EasyJet said it was aiming to replace check-in staff with self-check-in kiosks at all its main airports.




SEE ALSO:
Ryanair rapped over 'giveaway' ad
23 Jun 04  |  Business
Q&A: Ryanair's Charleroi knock-back
03 Feb 04  |  Business
Ryanair vows fight over subsidies
01 Feb 04  |  Business
Ryanair to appeal over wheelchair
01 Feb 04  |  Business
Ryanair loses disability ruling
30 Jan 04  |  Business


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