Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary is to remain at the airline for another five years, having previously said he would leave "in a couple of years".

The company's chief executive told Bloomberg news in London that Ryanair's fleet will go above 400 jets by 2018 and that he aims to double the company's €8.65 billion market value over the same period.

Mr O'Leary said Ryanair will seize on the "likely failure" of its competitors as Air France-KLM Group fails to earn profits on short routes and the "withering networks" of Alitalia in Italy, Iberia in Spain and SAS in Scandinavia.

He said that could pave the way for a shift into low-cost trans-Atlantic flying, as demand for wide-body planes eases, making them cheaper.

"The next five years look very interesting and exciting and therefore there is no reason for me to leave," he said. "There's going to be a push for the legacy carriers to walk away from the loss-making, short-haul business, handing over more and more market share."

Ryanair's strategy of offering low-cost flights to secondary airports with a minimum of customer service has seen passenger numbers grow from 1.7 million in 1994 to 79 million last year. The airline wants to fly 100 million passengers a year by 2019.

Ryanair shares have posted a 110% price gain since May 2008 and traded at €6.04 this morning in Dublin.