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Ryanair eyes 1 million extra Irish passengers after tax scrapped

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair (ISE:RY4B) said on Wednesday that it will expand its Irish capacity by 1 million passengers per year after the government pledged to ditch an air travel tax from April next year as part of its budget for 2014.

The Irish-based airline, which carries more international passengers than any other carrier, said its traffic at Ireland's main airports fell to 23.5 million last year from 30.5 million before the tax was introduced in 2009 and that it believed much of that can now be recovered.

"The repeal of the air travel tax helps restore Ireland's competitiveness and attractiveness to overseas visitors from the UK and Continental Europe in particular," Ryanair's Deputy Chief Executive Michael Cawley said in a statement.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin, editing by William Hardy)