Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has warned that flight prices will be higher this summer due to rising demand for European bank holidays, saying it would be “challenging” for passengers to get through the airports.
Holidaymakers should expect prices to rise by a “high single digit percentage” in peak season as demand for breaks at European beach resorts picks up again thanks to the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
Mr O’Leary said there were likely to be prolonged delays at airports such as Heathrow and Manchester too, blaming staff shortages.
He said there were “shortages” at Heathrow and Manchester, where he claimed “too many people” had been made redundant, but added he hoped the delays would ease in time for the busy summer season.
It seems to us that this peak summer season there will be higher prices because the demand for Europe’s beaches is so great and these price increases will continueMichael O’Leary, Ryanair
He added: “There is no doubt that getting through airports will be challenging this summer and we encourage all our customers to show up earlier to allow more time to get through airport security, especially in Manchester.”
The comments came as Ryanair reported a lower annual underlying loss of €355m and said it hopes to return to “reasonable profitability” in the current financial year.
Mr O’Leary said it was “impractical, if not impossible” to provide guidance for 2022-23 due to the risk to holiday bookings from Covid and the Ukraine war.
The group’s full-year loss as of March 31 was lower than expected, narrowing from the €1.02 billion loss a year earlier, when trading was badly hit by the pandemic.
Ryanair said traffic recovered sharply as it carried 97.1 million guests, up from just 27.5 million a year earlier, thanks to the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
It hopes to increase the number further to 165 million passengers this year – ahead of the record 149 million pre-Covid levels – but has yet to cut prices to secure bookings amid ongoing uncertainty in the first quarter.
He signaled that prices would rise over the next few months.
He told the Today programme: “I think capacity will go down 10 per cent, 15 per cent generally over the summer.
“For the September quarter, based on around 50 percent of all bookings, we currently expect prices to increase in the high single-digit percentage range.
“It seems to us that this peak summer season there will be higher prices because there is so much demand for Europe’s beaches and these price increases will continue.”
The group said its peak fares for this summer could be higher than they were before the pandemic.
It warned of rising fuel costs due to rising oil prices amid the Ukraine war.
With one-fifth of anticipated fuel needs not secured in advance, “this will result in some unplanned cost increases,” the group said.
Despite a rebound in passengers and bookings, Mr O’Leary said “however, this recovery remains fragile”.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/ryanair-boss-warns-of-higher-flight-prices-theres-so-much-demand-for-the-beaches-of-europe-41653596.html Ryanair boss warns of higher fares – ‘there is so much demand for Europe’s beaches’