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Ryanair plans huge expansion in France in bid to double passenger numbers

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Ryanair plans huge expansion in France in bid to double passenger numbers
Photo: AFP
13:17 CET+01:00
Ryanair plans to open four new hubs in France by 2019 in a bid to double its traffic in the country over the next "three or four years", the company has announced.
The low-cost Irish airline aims to open the new hubs between winter 2018 and summer 2019. 
 
"We think we can reasonably double our traffic in France in the next three or four years" going from 10 to 20 million passengers per year, by basing "30 aircraft on four regional bases," the company's commercial director David O'Brien said during a press conference in Paris.
 
At the moment the plan is in its infancy, with the company still unsure where the bases will be created. 
 
However so far Paris Beauvais (where Ryanair flights account for 80 percent of the traffic), Nantes, Toulouse, Lyon and Marseille are all possible contenders, the company has said. 
 
Through this growth the company will create around 1,000 new jobs, including 300 for pilots, which will be local contracts, said the company's head of human resources Edward Wilson. 
 
So far, the plans have been discussed with representatives from France's major trade unions in an "informal" meeting. 
 
The low-cost airline says it currently holds a 6 percent market share in France, compared to 15 percent in Europe. The company has 87 bases in Europe but none in France at the moment.
 
According to O'Brien, the decision to open bases in France, which will increase the number of destinations served, is motivated by "a more favorable economic environment in France" due to the country's new government. 
 
On top of that, the company said that by "acknowledging" the country's trade unions, Ryanair had "new opportunities in France".
 
Until recently, Ryanair had a difficult relationship with France's trade unions but decided in December to work with them. 
 
Ryanair also urged the French government, which is considering the sale of the Aeroport de Paris monopoly, to sell Charles De Gaulle and Paris Orly airports to separate bidders in order to introduce “much needed” competition, adding that this would "benefit French citizens, visitors and workers.”
 
The Irish company also recently announced plans to open ten new routes in the winter of 2018 from Beauvais, Marseille, Nantes and Bordeaux. 
 
Paris Beauvais ranked one of the world's ten worst airports
Photo: AFP
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