BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE – AFP
Ryanair, famed for its no-frills approach to flying, will not be offering rock-bottom fares for several years in the wake of soaring fuel costs, chief executive Michael O’Leary said Thursday.
“There’s no doubt that at the lower end of the marketplace, our really cheap promotional fares – the 1 euro fares, the 0.99 euro fares, even the 9.99 euro fares – I think you will not see those fares for the next number of years,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
O’Leary said he expected the Irish carrier’s average fare to rise to about 50 euros ($52) over the next five years from roughly 40 euros in 2021.
Passengers lucky enough to have grabbed a promotional fare have tended to pay far more, however, with Ryanair charging additional fees for transporting luggage and extras such as fasting boarding.
Soaring energy prices, which have caused a cost-of-living crisis in Ryanair’s key market Britain, could in fact benefit the airline as passengers spurn more expensive rivals, O’Leary added.
“We think people will continue to fly frequently. But I think people are going to become much more price sensitive and therefore my view of life is that people will trade down in their many millions,” he said.
Airlines are seeing a strong recovery in passenger demand since countries lifted COVID-19 travel restrictions.
But they are struggling to recruit staff after having sacked thousands of workers at the height of the pandemic in 2020 as lockdowns grounded planes.
While many workers have found work in other sectors, O’Leary again blamed Brexit, telling the BBC that Britain’s departure from the European Union had proved to be a “disaster for the free movement of labor.”