Ryanair to cut all airport check-in desks

LONDON Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:21pm GMT

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LONDON Feb 21 (Reuters) - Europe's largest low-fare airline Ryanair (RYA.I) said on Saturday it planned to save costs by closing all its airport check-in desks by the end of the year and have passengers check in online instead.

"All we will have is a bag drop where passengers can drop off their luggage, otherwise everything will be done online," Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told the Daily Telegraph.

He said the savings would be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara told Reuters that 75 percent of the airline's passenger already used its online check-in services.

"We are trying to encourage the remaining 25 percent to do the same," he said.

"Hopefully by the end of the year we will have bag drop-in areas instead, which will be manned."

The airline would continue to have staff running ticket desks at airports, he said.

The change would lead to layoffs but the airline used many third-party staff at airports and would attempt to limit the effect of the reduction.

"We are hoping the job cuts will be minor," McNamara said.

(Additional reporting by Carmel Crimmins in Dublin)

(Reporting by Tim Castle; editing by Chris Pizzey)

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