Industry views from Ryanair CEO O’Leary

While presenting news of Ryanair’s increased half-year profits in London, the airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary gave some quick comments on various topics relating to his airline and to the industry as a whole.

On the UK economy
“It’s wrong to assume that there won’t be a double dip recession. I see no sign of a full recovery. I’m cautiously pessimistic for the economy, which means I’m cautiously optimistic for Ryanair’s growth.”

On continuing traffic growth
“People don’t stop dying, marrying, having christenings or holidays during a recession. They just become much more price sensitive.”

On aircraft orders
“We are looking to get something arranged for deliveries between 2014 and 2017. We’re in constant dialogue with the manufacturers, but not in detailed discussions with any.”

On baggage charges
“Well they were introduced to change passenger behaviour. And they’ll keep going up until there’s no [hold] baggage carried. The next baggage increase will probably be in spring 2011.”

On Irish government’s Aer Lingus shares
“I think the Irish government will sell its Aer Lingus stake, but it probably won’t be to us. But it will have to be sold because the government is broke.”

On Ryanair serving Turkey
“Well, they’re not in the EU but they have an increasing range of bilaterals. And airports there are not particularly aggressive on costs. It’s a big tour operator market rather than O&D market at the moment. If we do go there, I think it will be mainly from Italy and Germany – the shorter sectors.”

On expanding into central and eastern Europe
“Three years ago I would have said you would have seen a strong Ryanair presence there. The main reason there hasn’t been is that there have been so many opportunities in Spain and Italy. But I believe we will move there and also increase our presence in Scandinavia as Lufthansa gets to work on SAS.”

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/
London, UK

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