Ryanair has announced plans to move to a group structure similar to that of International Airlines Group over the next 12 months.

In a statement, the budget carrier said a small senior team would oversee the development of four airline subsidiaries – Ryanair DAC, Ryanair Sun, Ryanair UK and Laudamotion, each with their own CEOs and management teams. Ryanair completed a 100 per cent takeover of Austrian carrier Laudamotion at the end of January.

International Airlines Group (IAG) formed in January 2011 with the merger of BA and then-struggling Iberia, and now also includes Aer Lingus, Vueling and low-cost brand Level.

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary will move to become Group CEO, with his successor at Ryanair DAC appointed later this year. He and his team will oversee capital allocation, cost reductions, aircraft acquisitions and M&A opportunities.

O’Leary, known for his blunt comments on everything from his customers and competition to climate change, joined Ryanair as CFO in 1988 and took over as chief executive in 1994.

The announcements came today as part of Ryanair’s Q3 results, which showed revenue up 9 per cent to €1.53bn but a net loss of €20m, excluding Laudamotion. Over the same period last year it made a €106m profit after tax.

Traffic growth of 8 per cent to 33 million was offset by a 6 per cent decline in average fares due to excess winter capacity in Europe, the airline said. Meanwhile ancillary revenue growth of 26 per cent was offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 costs.

It was Ryanair’s first quarterly loss since March 2014 amid trying times for low-cost carriers. Primera Air and Cobalt Air both folded in 2018, after which O’Leary predicted “more and larger failures this winter.”

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air made €1.7m in Q3, down from €14m over the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile Norwegian, popular for its low-cost long-haul flights, is fighting for survival as it faces rising debt, with IAG announcing it would sell its 3.93 per cent stake.