As Michael O'Leary's company posts first half results and gets even more ambitious...
While it has long been a bugbear of travellers how the propensity of Ryanair flights to often land in remote airports, miles from your actual destination, has long been a bugbear for travellers, the low fares airline has revealed that soon that will no longer the case for the majority of its bases.
By the end of 2016, the company says it will be operating in a majority of primary airports, as opposed to secondary ones.
While it will still be in 95 secondaries, it will also have a presence in 105 primary airports, as it has muscled into the established likes of Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan in recent times. Ryanair added 73 new routes and opened six new bases in its first-half alone.
Along with that reveal, Ryanair announced half-year profit hike of 7% to €1.168 billion on the back of 12% traffic growth. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary called it "a creditable performance in difficult market conditions due to repeated ATC strikes, terror events, and the adverse economic impact of the Brexit vote in June which saw sterling weaken materially over the peak summer period."
It carried 65 million customers in the first half of 2016 and is now showing even more ambition.
Speaking on Breakfast Business, the company's chief commercial officer David O'Brien said:
"I think it's a function of the success of our 'Always Getting Better' programme, which is now steaming ahead into year three. We were amazed ourselves. When we look back to September '14, Ryanair was forecasting growth to 150 million passengers by 2024. We've now revised that upwards within two years to 200 million."
Ryanair currently carries 119 million people annually, making it Europe's largest carrier.
Despite this, pressure on the aviation sector remains intense, with average fares having fallen 10% to €50.
Ryanair also confirmed it is initiating another share buyback to help ease investor sentiment after sterling's slump caused the airline to issue a profit warning last month. The €550 million euro share-repurchase programme will be carried out in February 2017.