A Ryanair jet
A Ryanair jet. Photo by Bloomberg
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Low-cost airline Ryanair wants to launch an “Israeli version” of the Irish company and turn Israel into one of its hubs, CEO Michael O’Leary told the Irish Independent newspaper.

Ryanair is Europe’s largest low-cost airline, and it has already said that it intends to start flying to and from Israel. O’Leary says the company has great aspirations for Israel, and promised Israel’s tourism minister last year that the company would bring Israel 4-5 million tourists a year.

Apparently the latest round of fighting in the region has not changed Ryanair’s plans.

Yet in an interview with the Independent, published Monday O’Leary expressed disappointment with Israel’s regulatory authorities and blamed them for the delay in Ryanair entering Israel’s market. Ryanair is still determined to launch flights to and from Israel, but the authorities are striving to protect El Al from competition, he noted.

The company has great aspirations for Israel, he added – it hopes to turn Israel into one of its hubs. From Israel it would fly to Russia, central Europe, Britain, Germany and many other destinations, he told the Irish newspaper.

Ryanair, founded in 1985, operates flights on 737-800s throughout Europe, generally landing at secondary airports in order to reduce costs.

The Transportation Ministry stated in response that Ryanair has yet to file for a permit to operate an airline in Israel.