Shortly after O’Leary spoke, however, news emerged of an entirely different development on the financial front for the airline – with the fraudulent removal of almost USD 5 million from one of its bank accounts.
Ryanair added that it understood the funds had been frozen and would be repaid shortly. The fraud came to light last Friday and the Criminal Assets Bureau in Dublin was asked to assist in its recovery, the Irish Times newspaper said.
The fraudsters are believed to have targeted dollar funds that Ryanair uses to buy fuel, the newspaper added.
On a happier front, when O’Leary was asked by French newspaper Le Journal Du Dimanche whether fares could fall from current levels, he said: “Absolutely, by at least 10%-15% over the next two years. In 2016 our average airfare could be at EUR 40.” (That’s just AUD 55.60.)
“This will come as we pass on lower oil prices. We will also continue to grow passenger numbers and cut our costs.”
O’Leary said the average price of a Ryanair ticket was currently EUR 46, compared with around EUR 170 for a short-haul flight within Europe on other airlines.
Ryanair would overtake rival EasyJet within five years in the European market, he forecast.
Written by Peter Needham