Ryanair set to expand in Germany, says chief

Low-cost carrier Ryanair plans to expand in Germany, its chief said in an interview Wednesday, also predicting that budget airlines would continue to steal market share from their older rivals.

"We want to service five or six more airports in Germany," up from 13 now, Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in its issue to be published Thursday.

The airline was in talks with some 20 German airports now, he said.

On airlines such as Germany's Lufthansa and British Airways competing on European routes, he was quoted as saying: "They'll have no choice but to scale back in the next three to four years because we will expand and take over markets."

He also predicted that Lufthansa's low-cost division Germanwings was "doomed to fail," in remarks published in German.

He labelled Berlin's indefinitely delayed new airport project "a disaster" and said Ryanair would likely not fly to the German capital anymore in future, citing high airport charges.

O'Leary said his airline aimed to boost annual passenger numbers to 130 million within a decade from about 80 million now.