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Ryanair: 199-seat aircraft would hit capacity 'sweet spot'

Ryanair chief financial officer and deputy CEO Howard Millar would snap up a 199-seater aircraft because it hits a "sweet spot" in terms of staffing levels.

"The largest aircraft that we would be interested in is 199 seats," said Millar, speaking to ATI at Ryanair's Dublin headquarters. "That would mean that we could go up 10 seats without adding any more cabin crew. Our sweet spot is a 199-passenger aircraft,"

He says this would make sense in terms of incremental costs because when an aircraft goes over the 200-seat mark, another member of cabin crew is required.

"We think we could still do our turnarounds in 25 minutes with 199 passengers. If someone made this aircraft, we would operate it," says Millar.

Today Boeing offers the 737-800 and -900, both of which are limited to a maximum of 189 seats, while the Airbus A320 carries a maximum of 180 passengers.

Boeing's most recent offering - the 737-900ER - is available with additional passenger doors and is capable of accommodating up to 215 passengers. However, Millar rejects this as an option because it would be inefficient to operate the 737-900ER below its maximum capacity.

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