Ryanair, the Irish economy airline, has announced it will go ahead with controversial plans to charge passengers for using toilets during flights. The charge, of between $1.40 and $1.60 depending on currency, would operate on flights of one hour or less, a spokesperson Stephen McNamara told the Irish Times.

That means it would affect most if not all flights between Britain and Ireland.

The airline’s inflight magazine says the introduction of coin-operated toilets would reduce fares by at least 5 percent. Ryanair also wants to reduce the number of toilets on the plane to make room for six extra seats.

The measure must still gain the approval of authorities.

“One toilet will discourage overdependence,” McNamara told the Times. “There is nothing in the rule book to say that an aircraft has to have any toilets at all, which might sound strange, but we believe three toilets are excessive.”

In a BBC interview in February last year Michael O’Leary first suggested he was considering charging people for using toilets on flights. The announcement caused a furore, and he later admitted it had been little more than a publicity stunt.

At the time, he told the BBC, “People might have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future.” O’Leary added, “We’re always, in Ryanair, looking for ways of making it affordable, and easier, to fly with us.”

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