Ryanair currently operates 32 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport and bases four aircraft in Liverpool with average fares of around £39. Tony McDonough reports.
People could be flying out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) for free on Ryanair within five years, according to the airline’s chief executive.
In a speech to the Airport Operators Association conference in London, Michael O’Leary said revenue-sharing deals with airports could see ticket prices reduced to zero.
However, he warned that the Government must scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD) to allow UK airports to be part of this next possible evolution on budget flying.
LJLA has long lobbied for APD, which is currently £13 per passenger per short-haul flight out of the UK, to be scrapped saying it gives mainland European airports a competitive advantage.
Ryanair currently operates 32 routes out of LJLA and bases four aircraft in Liverpool.
Mr O’Leary said: “The challenge for us in the future is to keep driving air fares down.
“I have this vision that in the next five to 10 years that the air fares on Ryanair will be free, in which case the flights will be full, and we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues from all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues at airports.
“I think it will happen. It just won’t happen at Heathrow or those big hub airports.
“But most of the other airports who are looking for big traffic growth, that process is already starting to happen, lowering airport fees and some of the charges.”
On APD he added: “At many airports I’m paying more than £20 already with APD and fees.
“If I start getting that back, why not? I’m doing seat sales this week at £4 and I’m paying the £13 APD – I’m paying you to fly with me.
“Instead of promotional tickets being £9 or £5 they will be free.”
Average fares on Ryanair last year were £39, including one checked bag, and Ryanair has said they will fall by 10% to 15% this year.