Ryanair to save £20m with internet check in

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The Independent Online

Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, will allow passengers to check in on the internet next year to encourage them to travel light, estimating the move could save it up to €30m (£20m) a year.

Ryanair plans to trial a web check-in, allowing passengers to bypass long queues at the airport, in January on three routes, the Dublin-Cork route, an Irish-UK route and another European route. During the trials, which are expected to run for five to six weeks, the airline will assess whether the system works and is secure. If successful, the web check-in will be rolled out across other routes from next summer.

Michael O'Leary, the chief executive, said: "Part of our long-term aim is to get 80 per cent of passengers to fly without checked-in luggage. That would be a big cost saving for us."

He said it would shave up to 3 per cent off Ryanair's annual cost base of €1bn, generating savings of €25m to €30m, by cutting the number of baggage handling staff by half and check-in staff and desks by a quarter. At the moment, half of its passengers do not check in any luggage.

Mr O'Leary reckons the majority of passengers do not need to carry any more than hand luggage on short-haul flights, with the exception of families.

Mr O'Leary also renewed his attack on BAA's plans to spend £4bn building a second runway and new facilities at Stansted airport. Ryanair and the Stansted users' group claim it will double charges for users from £9 a passenger to £18.