Ryanair sees flight fares rise during the summer season

image source, Good pictures

  • author, Nick Etcher
  • stock, Business Correspondent, BBC News

No-frills airline Ryanair said fares during the peak summer period would remain unchanged or only “slightly” higher than last year.

The carrier said airfares have recently been growing more slowly than expected, while expecting “stronger” demand for flights in July and August.

Airlines boss Michael O’Leary said it was “a slowdown around Europe”.

His comments came as Ryanair said profits rose 34% to €1.92bn (£1.64bn) for the year to March after fares rose by a fifth.

The demand for air travel has been increasing steadily since the lifting of the Covid pandemic restrictions.

In the past few weeks, British Airways owner IAG and EasyJet have both forecast strong demand for flights this summer.

Ryanair said it carried 183.7 million passengers in the year to March, with average fares up 21% to €49.80.

It said it saw record trade last summer and strong traffic during Easter in March.

The airline said bookings for this summer were earlier than last year, although fares were not as high as expected.

“We’re still seeing reasonable strength in July and August bookings, the peak summer months, but April, May and June are a bit weaker than we originally expected,” Mr O’Leary said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that summer 2024 rates will be flat ahead of summer 2023,” he added.

Ryanair, whose expansion plans have been hampered by delays in the delivery of new Boeing planes, has said it could carry 198-200 million customers this year if the new planes are delivered on schedule.

It said there was a risk that deliveries could “slip further”, but O’Leary said he thought this was “unlikely”.

However, the airline said it will be short of around 23 Boeing 737s due by the end of July.

Mr O’Leary said Ryanair would receive compensation from Boeing for the delay, although it was “modest” and did not reflect the cost to the airline of having to curtail its growth plans.

The carrier said it will continue to work closely with the aerospace company to improve quality and speed up deliveries.

Boeing planes have come under renewed scrutiny after the company was plunged into crisis in January when a crew member exploded in mid-air on one of its planes.

Scrutiny of Boeing’s aircraft manufacturing processes led to a slowdown in deliveries.

Ryanair welcomed Boeing’s management changes, and Mr O’Leary said: “We are already seeing improved quality in our aircraft deliveries, but unfortunately there is still not enough progress in speeding up those deliveries”.

Ryanair gave no profit forecasts for the current year, saying it was “highly dependent” on avoiding adverse events such as the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, extensive air traffic control disruptions or Boeing delivery delays.

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