When you hear the words “free flights” the saying ‘too good to be true’ immediately springs to mind. However, one budget airline has ambitious goals to make these two magic words a reality in the near future.
While there’s no doubt tickets have been getting progressively cheaper thanks to more competition within the aviation industry, flights are still nowhere near free, with what you pay for undoubtedly a case of what you get. Budget airlines may offer cheaper fares, but these come with a no frills condition attached. Forget food – water, checked baggage, reserved seating and, in some cases, even legroom has become a premium.
Speaking at the Airport Operators Association conference in London, the CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, said he hopes to offer zero-cost fares within a decade. With the ambition of giving away seats on his airline’s flights for nothing by 2026, according to Mr O’Leary “the challenge for us in the future is to keep driving air fares down.”
Mr O’Leary went on to say, “I have this vision that in the next five to 10 years the air fares on Ryanair will be free, in which case the flights will be full.”
While this equation does make sense, the logistics behind the seemingly outrageous statement are based on the deals that Ryanair has been offered by European airports in recent years. According to IB Times, this combined with a potential reduction of air passenger duty (APD) means that airlines would be able to make a profit without charging passengers for seats. This is based on the British Government being called upon to cut APD by 50 per cent in its Autumn Statement, a move that would, according to airlines, create 61,000 new jobs by 2020.
O’Leary added “we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues; all of the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenue at airports. Instead of promotional tickets being nine pounds or five pounds they will be free.”
Slightly mindboggling, we’re all for the idea of free flights!
Read more at IB Times
What do you think of the proposal of free flights? Will you be counting down the years or does the idea fill you with trepidation?