Ryanair is predicting an increase in prices following “surprisingly strong” bookings, according to chief executive Michael O’Leary.
O’Leary said that – despite recent forecasts of 3-4 per cent growth – air fares “will rise by a mid to high single digit figure for the full year” unless alarming reports on Covid and Ukraine come out.
“At the moment they (bookings) are surprisingly strong, we thought they would begin to ease off but actually forward bookings into the mid-term and into Christmas are stronger in terms of volume and pricing than they were pre-Covid,” he told Reuters on Thursday.
According to the chief executive, demand was sustained by people’s savings that were racked up during the pandemic.
“So far everything seems to indicate that people are switching to the lowest cost airline and in all markets that’s Ryanair,” he explained.
Nevertheless, the low-cost carrier expects customers’ pockets to be hit by rising inflation rates and the cost-of-living crisis.
Compared to rivals such as Easyjet – which is set to post a loss for the third consecutive year – Ryanair is confident about the year ahead, predicting growth amidst the volatile environment.
The airliner recently made the headlines when it reported that 15.9 million passengers flew aboard its planes last month – making September the second-busiest month ever.
The carrier’s load factor also increased, going up 13 per cent on pre-pandemic levels to 94 per cent.
It expects to carry 166.5 million passengers in the year to the end of March.