Free airfares in the future? It could happen, says airline CEO

Free airfares in the future? It could happen, says airline CEO

LONDON — Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary says fares on his airline could be free in the not-so-distant future, arguing that airports looking for growth could share their revenues in return for huge traffic boosts.

The Guardian reports that Ryanair’s average fares were 46 euros (about Can$65) in 2015, and Ryanair has said it expects its prices will drop by 10 – 15% in 2016.

“The challenge for us in the future is to keep driving air fares down,” said O’Leary at the Airport Operators Association conference in London. “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; of all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues at airports.”

O’Leary said some airports, chiefly those looking for traffic growth, have started to lower their airport fees and other charges.

“If [air passenger duty] is gone, 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.”

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