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Business

Ryanair Steps Up Pressure on Lufthansa

Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost airline, announced an expansion of its services to and from Germany, along with plans for further moves into the territory that's currently dominated by Deutsche Lufthansa.

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Ryanair's Michael O'Leary wants to expand low-cost network

Ryanair, Europe's largest low-cost airline, on Thursday announced an expansion of its services to and from Germany in a move that adds to the pressure on Germany's national carrier, Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The Irish carrier said it will from April 4 be flying from London to and from the town of Friedrichshafen in south-western Germany. It said it expects to attract over 100,000 passengers to this service in its first year.

In addition, it said it will be expanding capacities by 45% on its services between London and the north German port of Lübeck. Ryanair added that it also plans to expand its services to and from Frankfurt's Hahn airport, which is one of its two hubs in mainland Europe, the other being Charleroi in Brussels.

Caroline Baldwin, Ryanair's head of sales for Germany, said it would probably add a third continental hub, the current candidates being airports in Scandinavia, France and Italy.

Baldwin said that Ryanair had held talks with a further eight airports in Germany. In all cases, talks had broken down over the issue of price, but Ryanair still planned to add further German destinations to its network.

And she confirmed that it also planned to start offering domestic services within Germany. Here the earliest start date would be summer 2003, she said.

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