O’Leary warns of ‘dramatically higher’ air fares next summer

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has warned that prices will increase as passengers rush to holiday in Europe next summer.

Mr O’Leary said this huge demand for holidays would coincide with fewer flights, meaning a price rise for flights and also for hotels.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said: “I think there will be a dramatic recovery in holiday tourism within Europe next year. And the reason why I think prices will be dramatically higher is that there’s less capacity.

“Take out Thomas Cook (six million seats), Flybe (eight million seats), Norwegian (nearly 24 million seats) – Alitalia’s reducing its fleet by 40 per cent. There is going to be about 20 per cent less short-haul capacity in Europe in 2022 with a dramatic recovery in demand.”

Ryanair prices will be cut this winter, to “grab market share everywhere”, Mr O’Leary said.

It comes as earlier in the week he said British airports will struggle to cope with Christmas traffic due to the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit border controls.

“Certainly [for] Europe’s airports Christmas volumes will be no difficulty. The one exception to that will be the UK airports where you have places like Heathrow and Gatwick struggling with … Brexit border controls and Covid,” Mr O’Leary said.

“The UK airports, I think will struggle.”

Mr O’Leary said Ryanair is willing to wait years for Boeing to drop its prices before placing a big new plane order with the US firm, while he also downplayed the chance of a deal with rival Airbus.

The airline, one of Boeing’s biggest customers, said on Monday it had ended talks over a new order of 737 MAX 10 jets worth tens of billions of euro after the budget carrier said the prices on offer were too high.


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