Ryanair expects plenty of ups and downs when it comes to its fares

The Irish carrier believes it will be the airline best placed in Europe to cash in on a recovery in air travel

Ryanair says it expects to lose between €100m and €200m  in this financial year

Ryanair says it expects to lose between €100m and €200m in this financial year

 

“Book early for Christmas or you’ll end up paying very high fares,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary warned industry analysts on Monday. He wasn’t joking, one-way trips to some popular destinations in the days before Christmas are already selling for three-figure sums.

Seats on the sole Dublin-Malaga flight on December 23rd were €402 on Monday night. A trip to Rome from London Stansted, Ryanair’s biggest base, on the same day cost between £139 sterling and £160. Those prices are before any extras, such as cabin bags or check-in luggage. Booking a month later you could fly from Dublin to Malaga for €26.99, or from Stansted to Rome for £26.99.

Ryanair expects some peaks and troughs between now and the end of its current financial year on March 31st, 2022. Last month’s mid-term was busier than expected, according to O’Leary. Forward bookings indicate demand at Christmas, Easter and possibly spring breaks in February will be strong.

But there are lulls in between during which the airline expects to spend to stimulate demand. For passengers that should mean cheaper fares at those times. For the airline it means less money. Consequently, in its half-year results on Monday Ryanair said it expected to lose between €100 million and €200million in this financial year. Previously it had guided “break even or a small loss”.

In contrast, though, it is revising up passenger numbers to 100 million-plus from an original 90 million to 100 million.

But overall, assuming Covid forces no further restrictions on air travel, Ryanair believes the recovery that began with the launch of the EU’s digital vaccine certificates at the start of July will gain momentum into next year.

The Irish carrier also believes it will be the airline best placed in Europe to cash in. It will have taken delivery of 65 new Boeing jets by June, on time for peak holiday season.

Consequently, as it mops up territory ceded by struggling rivals in the wake of Covid, Ryanair expects to fly 165 million people in its next financial year ending March 2023.

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