LONDON – The Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has said that if Russia doesn’t invade Ukraine, it plans to base up to 20 aircraft in the region.
O’Leary has continued with the message that Ukraine is an area of potentially a major growth market.
“We remain committed to Ukraine. As long as Ukraine is looking westward there are huge … flows of people traveling to and from Ukraine working in central and eastern Europe”.
“If it is not invaded by Russia, it is a country where we would expect to open a couple of bases .. sometime in the next two or three years subject to agreements on costs,”
“We hope the situation in Ukraine gets resolved diplomatically. And if it is, it remains a very exciting growth opportunity for us,”
“Our growth will always be opportunistic. It’s not some Napoleonic invasion of Russia here. Whoever comes up with the best deals will get the next four or five aircraft.”
It is understood that Ryanair route teams visited Ukraine earlier this month to discuss such an expansion but were not in a position to do so “as they were somewhat otherwise distracted.
Ryanair is looking at markets to expand in, especially with the airline struggling to fill capacity at this time.