Ryanair's deputy chief executive and chief commercial officer Michael Cawley has decided to step down at the end of next March.

In a statement, the airline said Mr Cawley wishes to pursue other business interests including a number of non-executive board positions.

Mr Cawley has, however, decided to join the board of Ryanair as a non-executive director from next May onwards.

''I am grateful to Michael for his enormous contribution to the successful growth and development of Ryanair over the past 17 years. I am pleased that he has given us such a long notice period so that he can assist his successor over a substantive handover period,'' commented the airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary.