By Conor Humphries
RYANAIR’s chief executive said on Wednesday the Irish low-cost airline plans to pursue a takeover of Cyprus Air, with the aim of setting up a hub to serve the Middle East.
But Michael O’Leary said he thought Greek rival Aegean was more likely to succeed in its bid to use the airline to feed traffic to Athens.
“On balance it’s more likely to go to Greece, but we’ll make it difficult for them by offering very rapid growth,” he told reporters in Dublin after the first delivery of an order of up to 380 Boeing jets over the next decade that could lift the airline’s passengers from 82m a year to 150m.
O’Leary said Ryanair has completed all the paperwork required to start its first routes to Russia, with proposed flights from Dublin to Moscow and St. Petersburg, O’Leary said.
But he said the project was on hold because Ireland’s tourist board has refused to contribute to the marketing budget on what would likely be a loss-making route for the first three years. If an agreement can be reached, flights could begin in the summer of 2015 at the earliest, he said.