Ryanair Holdings PLC Updates
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Ryanair expects to return this winter to the number of passengers ahead of the pandemic, as the largest airline banks in Europe have a ‘very strong recovery’ in travel.
The low-cost carrier has launched 14 new routes from London for this winter and will lower the prices of its flights to encourage passengers to board.
“The recovery has been very strong,” said Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary. He claimed that “no airline has recovered as fast as we have” after estimating that Ryanair carried just over 10.5 million customers in August.
He expected the airline to maintain numbers in September and October, with the introduction of new routes from Stansted and Luton airports to places such as Grenoble, Turin, Naples and Helsinki, which would help create 500 new jobs.
Between November and March, O’Leary expected Ryanair to reach monthly pre-pandemic passenger levels on a monthly basis. Monthly numbers currently run at 85 percent of pre-Covid levels.
The airline is then expected to exceed its annual level ahead of the pandemic of approximately 150 million travelers in the year to March 2023.
Ryanair is planning an aggressive expansion: it will receive 55 Boeing 737 Max aircraft this winter and the same number each year until 2025. By the end of the 2026 financial year, the fleet will expand to 600 aircraft, more than 450.
Jet2, another UK low-cost airline, is also showing increasing confidence in the recovery in air travel when it entered into an agreement to buy dozens of Airbus A321 NEO aircraft to meet expected growth and refresh its fleet.
The order is for 36 aircraft worth $ 4.9 billion – although the Leeds group has said it has negotiated significant discounts – which will be delivered between 2023 and 2028. Jet2 has the option to extend the transaction to 60 aircraft.
However, O’Leary predicted that it would take until the summer of next year before prices returned to normal levels. “There is a lot of accumulated demand there,” he said. “The accumulated demand will benefit from low prices, and prices will then return to pre-pandemic levels.”
He added that the British traffic light system prevents more travelers from going abroad due to the uncertainty. “The UK is lagging behind,” he told the Financial Times. “The traffic light system has no purpose anymore.”
The Irish airline came out of the pandemic in a relatively robust position due to the lower cost base as well as the collapse or financial problems of competitors such as Thomas Cook and TAP Air Portugal.
O’Leary estimated that Europe would have 20 percent less short-haul flight capability due to the pandemic devastation to the aviation industry. He added that Ryanair is not experiencing staffing problems for pilots and cabin crew like some of its competitors.
In response to reports that British Airways is considering replacing its short-haul operations cheap people at Gatwick, O’Leary said it was “the definition of insanity” and that “no heritage airline has ever succeeded” in producing a successful low-cost airline.
O’Leary said Ryanair was in talks with Boeing to buy its 737 Max 10 aircraft for delivery after the current arrangement expired, but there was a “significant gap” between the aircraft manufacturer and the airline over the price.
He said disruption on transatlantic flights because EU ministers were reinstating travel restrictions to the US would benefit short-haul benefits but suppress prices.