Michael O’Leary’s €6.5bn valued Ryanair has held “exploratory” talks with a number of Russian airports as the government has indicated that it may open up its domestic routes to foreign-owned low-cost airlines.

“We have had discussions with a number of airports, but they are more exploratory at this time,” according to Ryanair.

Mr O’Leary’s low-cost carrier may see the under-served Russian market, with its population of 140 million, as a potential growth rocket as it continues to expand. Ryanair expects to carry more than 80 million passengers this year.

Last week, the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service announced that the government was considering proposals which would allow low-cost carriers to fly domestic routes.