Ryanair looks to cut costs with slower flights

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Ryanair is seeking to save fuel by flying its aircraft more slowly.

The Irish budget carrier has instructed its pilots to fly its Boeing 737-800s at an average speed of 540kt, adding 2min to average flight-time of 1h 10min.

The changes were introduced last year, and chief executive Michael O'Leary estimates that the tactic could save Ryanair between €80 and €100 million ($105-130 million) on its annual €1.3 billion fuel bill. "There is compelling evidence for it," he says. "If you are worried about fuel consumption in your car, generally speaking the best advice is... to slow down."

With the airline having fitted its aircraft with what O'Leary terms a "Formula 1 telemetry system", fuel accounts for 47% of Ryanair's total costs, he adds.