Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary reveals acquisition of Newmarket stables

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, right, with hosts from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce at the c

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, right, with hosts from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce at the chamber networking lunch in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has paid a visit to Suffolk to talk to local business leaders – and disclosed that he has bought a horse racing stables near Newmarket.

Speaking to 200-plus guests at a Suffolk Chamber of Commerce networking lunch in Bury St Edmunds, Mr O’Leary said Ryanair aimed to become the number one airline in the UK, with a target to achieve growth of 40% over the next decade.

A quarter of this, he said, would involve Stansted Airport, where Ryanair has reached a new agreement with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which acquired the site last year from the former BAA group.

“I am a passionate believer in providing the lowest price, having the lowest costs and listening to your customers,” Mr O’Leary said. “That is what Ryanair does and they are some of the reasons why we are so successful.”

He continued: “Stansted will be the engine of growth for this region and for Suffolk in the year’s ahead”, adding that he was now an investor in Suffolk himself, having recently bought a racing stables “near to Newmarket”.

Mr O’Leary is already a successful owner in horseracing – he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2006 with War of Attrition – and owns a stables in County Westmeath, Ireland, where he lives. Last year, he was reported to have missed out in the bidding for the £4million Plantation Stud near Newmarket.

Sarah Howard, president of Suffolk Chamber, said: “We are delighted that Michael, with his incredibly busy schedule, could find the time to meet with Suffolk Chamber members and share his expert views.

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“The business world is becoming smaller and smaller and more of our firms than ever are needing to travel across the EU to do business and therefore Ryanair are a potential important part of their plans.”

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, added: “Our members and local businesses were especially pleased to hear about the new Business Plus service Ryanair are offering.

“Exporting drives a growing number of firms across Suffolk and the need to have a low-cost business-friendly airline available locally is paramount and which is why Michael was received well in Bury.”