Ryanair looks east as it takes on Wizz in the growing Polish market

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Ryanair is considering entering the charter market in Poland, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said, predicting that the number of passengers in the country could triple to 100m by 2022.

Michael O’Leary of Ryanair

Ryanair is a market leader in Poland – ahead of Hungarian low-cost rival Wizz Air and state airline LOT – with roughly 30pc of the market. “I think the Polish market is probably going to be the fastest growing market in Europe if you take the next five to 10 years,” O’Leary told a news conference announcing new connections from Modlin airport near Warsaw.

Plans to expand Modlin  Ryanair’s main base – have been slowed down by a LOT-backed idea to build a large new airport in central Poland, roughly 100 km from Warsaw. “Don’t waste another day, week, month on a central airport, because central airport is a stupid plan,” O’Leary said. “They will waste too much money on it and will build a very inefficient airport.”

For its part, Ryanair rival Wizz Air is planning to eventually enter the Dublin market, but doesn’t plan to engage in a frontal assault on the Irish airline just yet, founder and ceo Jozsef Varadi told the Irish Independent last month.

Ryanair estimates it will transport about 11m passengers on the Polish market this year, around 20pc more than in 2016. The airline announced five new routes from Modlin _ to Eilat, Seville, Venice and the German airports of Baden-Baden and Memmingen.

O’Leary said Ryanair could enter the Polish charter market as early as next year, and double charter passenger numbers from 3m to 6m. “We think tour operators are suffering very high fares. We could offer them much lower prices as Ryanair,” O’Leary said.

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