Holidaymakers To Face Higher Fares In Summer Due To Lack Of Planes Says O'Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said that holidaymakers are to face increased air fares in the Summer due to the lack of planes.

According to Mr O'Leary, ticket prices are to rise by 10% this Summer, compared with last year. He said that issues limiting the number of available aircraft means that the number of European airlines will struggle to meet the demand for travel during the peak season.

O'Leary also added that the carrier's growth in passenger numbers will be lower than originally forecasted due to delays over the arrival of Boeing's new aircraft.

According to Ryanair's original forecast, 205 million passengers were to be carried by March 2025, an increase of 183.5 million from the previous year.

"With less aircraft, maybe we'll have to bring that 205 million down towards 200 million passengers", Mr O'Leary said in a recent interview. "It might be a scratch below 200 million, we just don't know at this stage". 

"That probably means that even our growth this year is going to be constrained in Europe, and I think that leads to a higher fare environment across Europe for summer 2024". 

The CEO added, "Our average air fares in summer 2023 rose 17%". 

Ryanair has a contract with Boeing for 57 new planes to be delivered by the end of March. However, Mr O'Leary now expects 40 to 45 to be delivered by then. 

According to O'Leary, the US manufacturer "has the Federal Aviation Administration (the US regulator) crawling all over them". This comes after a Boeing 737 Max 9, which was operated by Alaska Airlines suffered a mid air blowout in January.

"feels kind of reasonable"

Elsewhere, Michael O'Leary did reveal that it is unlikely that these figures would be repeated for this year, putting this down to a drop in growth. 

"We don't think we'll see that kind of double-digit fare increase this year", stated O'Leary. "We're doing our budgets based on a fare increase of 5-10%, which to me feels kind of reasonable". 

"If capacity was growing, I think fares would be falling". 

Production of this new Boeing aircraft has stymied recently amid concerns over the quality of the new aircraft, with Mr O'Leary also predicting that airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France, and Wizz Air "will be grounding upwards of 20% of their A320 fleets" because of this.

"If we could get all 57 aircraft deliveries from Boeing in advance before the end of June we would make out like bandits all summer long because we have airports at the moment beating the door down to us", he added. 



More from National News