Ryanair has announced a major recruitment drive as it plans to add 50 new aircraft in the coming year and aims to grow its overall numbers from 355 to 500 over the next five years.
To prepare for the expansion, the airline will be hiring 2,000 new members of cabin crew, 1,000 pilots and 250 aircraft engineers. It is also promoting over 300 First Officers on its command upgrade programme.
Ryanair told City A.M. the staff would be spread throughout its 84-base European network, though it is still planning to cool off UK relations following the Brexit vote. A spokesperson confirmed there will not be any additional aircraft in the UK next year (they will be allocated to EU airports instead), and Ryanair's growth rate will reduce from 15 per cent this year to six per cent next year.
"We're being very cautious about the amount of capacity we're allocating to the UK over the next two or three years until we get some kind of indication of what Brexit will look like," chief executive Michael O'Leary has previously said.
It comes as Ryanair's September traffic stats recorded traffic up 13 per cent to 10.8m customers, while load factor was up one per cent to 95 per cent. Rolling annual traffic to September grew 16 per cent to 113.2m customers.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs credited the rise in figures to the airline’s tactics of offering lower fares, as well as the ongoing success of its “Always Getting Better” customer service programme.
“As our recent guidance confirmed, we expect average fares to fall between ten per cent to 12 per cent in the six months to March 2017,” he added.
Not the best news for rival EasyJet – with analysts forecasting a dip in pre-tax profits for the budget airline in its upcoming full-year results in November. The drop – expected to be in the range of £497m-£517, compared to £686m for 2015 – was attributed to a number of reasons, including the fierce price war Ryanair is waging.