Ryanair in Talks to Add Seven Spanish Cities as It Seeks Fee Cut

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said he’s in talks about adding routes to seven more Spanish airports.

Potential for growth in the Spanish market, where Ryanair serves 23 locations, would increase if airports operator Aena cut fees, to the benefit of local carriers Iberia Express and Vueling SA, as well as the Irish company, O’Leary said.

The Ryanair chief predicted that International Consolidated Airlines Group SA will “gradually close” Iberia’s European mainline operations over the next few years as discount specialist Vueling, which London-based IAG is buying, expands operations beyond its Barcelona base to the Madrid hub.

Ryanair has no plans for flights between the Spanish and Catalan capitals, the CEO said.

Europe’s No. 1 discount operator will consider the Boeing Co. 737-7 Max model as it seeks to add more planes, O’Leary said in the interview in Madrid.

The 737-7 variant, which won its first order -- from Southwest Airlines Co. -- yesterday, is smaller than the 737-800 around which Ryanair’s fleet is currently based.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Madrid at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Jasper at cjasper@bloomberg.net