Ryanair expects to be operating one in four European short-haul flights within the next eight to ten years.

The airline's growth will be driven by expansion in countries such as Germany where it is moving in to take advantage of retrenching by rivals, its chief executive said. 

Ryanair, which has around 380 planes on order, currently has a market share of about 14% in Europe. It serves about 100 million passengers a year and aims to increase that to 160 million passengers by about 2024. 

"We're going to grow across all the European markets. We'll go to a 25% market share over the next eight to ten years," Michael O'Leary said in an interview on the sidelines of the FVW travel conference in Essen, Germany.

Boosted by growing passenger numbers and the sale of its 30% stake in Aer Lingus, Ryanair is considering plans for another share buyback and a special dividend. 

Another share buyback, following one of €400m earlier this year, will likely be on the agenda at the carrier's annual shareholder meeting on September 24, Mr O'Leary said.