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Low-cost Ryanair set to surpass Air France in passenger numbers

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-01-08

Irish airline Ryanair has revealed that its passenger numbers jumped 13 percent last year to 65.3 million, placing the low-cost flight company on track to overtake Air France-KLM, Europe's biggest carrier.

AFP - Irish airline Ryanair revealed on Thursday that passenger numbers jumped 13 percent last year to 65.3 million as more cash-strapped customers chose the low-cost carrier.

Ryanair also said in a statement that the number of passengers rose 12 percent to 4.9 million in December 2009, compared with the same month of the previous year.

"As our December traffic shows, Ryanair is growing strongly and remains on course to carry over 66 million passengers in the current fiscal year," said Chief Executive Michael O'Leary. The group's financial year runs until March.

Ryanair will meanwhile return cash to shareholders after it ended discussions with Boeing last month to buy 200 aircraft from the US plane maker because of a disagreement over pricing, O'Leary added.

"With the unsuccessful termination of our talks with Boeing for a 200 aircraft order in December, planned capital expenditure will now decline from 1.2 billion euros in the current year to as little as 100 million euros in fiscal year ending March 2013," he said.

"We expect our current cash reserves of 2.5 billion euros to grow substantially by March 2013 and we plan to distribute surplus cash to shareholders from that date."

Date created : 2010-01-08

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