Ryanair boss says era of cheap flights is over – Airways Magazine
DALLAS – Michael O’Leary, the somewhat outspoken boss of Europe’s biggest low-cost airline, Ryanair (FR), says the era of €10 fares to Europe is now over, soaring fuel prices expected to drive up ticket prices.
Mr. O’Leary was interviewed on BBC Radio 4‘s Today Programme, on which he said he expects the airline’s average fare to drop from around €40 ($41.34) in 2021 to around €50 over the next five years.
“There’s no doubt that at the bottom of the market, our really cheap promotional fares – the one euro fares, the €0.99 fares, even the €9.99 fares – I don’t think you’ll see these tariffs in the next few years,” he said.
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Price sensitive passengers
As fuel prices rise, the cost of living is also eating into the disposable income of many households and worrying many. But O’Leary doesn’t think it will affect the number of passengers, but rather the choices passengers make when choosing which airline to fly.
“We think people will continue to fly frequently. But I think people are going to become a lot more price sensitive, and so my outlook on life is that people are going to trade in the millions,” he told the broadcaster.
Facing the Chaos of Travel
Although Ryanair has not been immune to the travel chaos of recent months, it has fared better than other carriers. Mr O’Leary said it was because they had been ‘partly lucky and partly brave’ after hiring new crew and pilots in November last year for this summer.
He also spoke about current industry pressures on its environmental impact. Ryanair is currently investing in more fuel-efficient planes, replacing its older Boeing 737-800s with the 737-8200, which still has 197 on order. But he said the intense focus on aviation was “misplaced” and that road and sea transport had a bigger impact on CO2 emissions.
Feature Image: Ryanair became the launch customer for the 737-8200 when it placed an order for 200 in December 2014. Picture: Brandon Farris/Airways