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

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.

Ryanair plans huge expansion in France in bid to double passenger numbers
Photo: AFP
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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Tell us: How strict are French border checks

We know there are a lot of rules in place right now for travel into France - but just how strictly are these being enforced in reality? If you have recently travelled to France, share your experiences with us.

Tell us: How strict are French border checks
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Depending where you are travelling from, entry to France can now require a vaccination certificate, negative Covid test, health declaration and proof of the essential nature of your journey.

Meanwhile for arrivals from the UK, post-Brexit rules are in place for everything from passports to pets, visas to sandwiches.

But just how strict are the checks being done on the ground?

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