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Ryanair Raises Hold Baggage Charges By 66%

(c) Sky News 2013

Ryanair has raised the cost for passengers taking luggage in the hold of its planes from 30 euros to 50 euros (£43.60) for the summer.

The no-frills carrier's chief executive Michael O'Leary, who made the announcement at the height of the holiday getaway, also told a news conference in London it intended to increase baggage charges until no-one took its flights with hold luggage.

He confirmed that Ryanair had increased its charge for hold luggage by 20 euros until the summer's end because "that's when they are likely to bring more bags".

Mr O'Leary went on: "We will keep increasing charges until we get rid of (hold) bags."

He said Ryanair had reduced the number of its passengers who checked in hold baggage from 80% to 19% and that this was saving the airline "a fortune in money".

Asked if Ryanair would consider charging for hand luggage, Mr O'Leary said: "At some point in the future I think it's likely that airlines will do it but I can't get my head round how you would do it. I think it's unlikely that we will do it."

Ryanair announced earlier this week that it would get its pilots to increase flight times by two minutes to save fuel, saving the airline around £70m a year.

Asked on Wednesday if he was considering reducing the amount of air conditioning on his flights, Mr O'Leary said: "No. Even I would not do that."

Mr O'Leary was speaking just 48 hours after the airline confirmed a first quarter year-on-year profit fall of 21%, despite a growth in passenger numbers.

Ryanair blamed the timing of Easter and impact of a French air traffic controllers' strike in June while its fuel costs rose 6%.

In addition to the announcement on hold baggage charges, Ryanair also confirmed that from the end of October it was adding one extra daily flight to its five main Ireland (Other OTC: IRLD - news) -UK routes - from Dublin to Stansted, to Manchester, to Birmingham, to Edinburgh and to Bristol.

It said this was in direct response to similar flight increases recently announced by Aer Lingus (Other OTC: AELGF - news) .

Ryanair's efforts to take over the Irish national flag carrier have been repeatedly blocked on competition grounds and Mr O'Leary described the Competition Commission's inquiry into the proposal as "misguided" and "a political farce which has no case, no evidence and no credibility either".

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