According to Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, the cost of flying this summer will reach a “single-digit percent” high above pre-pandemic levels.
European holidaymakers will face higher airfares due to “demand for the beaches of Europe” during the summer vacation months, O’Leary warned.
Ryanair chief also pointed to the war of aggression waged by Russia in Ukraine and its impact on the price of fuel this summer season.
An expected economic downturn, an inflexible post-Brexit labor market in the UK and ‘continuing uncertainty’ about the energy supply would lead to ‘inevitable fuel surcharges’ in all competing airlines, O’leary said.
Ryanair, Ireland’s largest airline and the premier low-budget carrier in Europe, managed to weather the pandemic due to high passenger demand, a result of its ultra-low-cost model. A very strong hedging position on jet fuel, 80%, allowed the airline to continue to offer lower prices to its customers.
O’Leary said that this high demand had caused ‘exuberant optimism’ in recent years, which had since been tempered by the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. He said the specter of a resurgent pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine could compromise the company’s strong recovery.
The Ryanair CEO said he expects the company to be ‘modestly profitable’ and aims to serve 165 million passengers by the end of this fiscal year, beating its pre-pandemic record of 149 million in the summer of 2019. The intervening period saw the advent of COVID-19, with its catastrophic impact on the air travel sector.
Ryanair reported annual losses of $370.11 million (€355 million) on Monday, a significant improvement over last year’s reported loss of $1.06 billion (€1.02 billion).