Ryanair’s trademark €1 and €10 fares will not be seen for a “number of years” due to soaring fuel prices, the budget airline’s boss has said.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Michael O’Leary said he expected Ryanair’s average fare to rise by about 10 euros over the next five years, from around 40 euros (£33.75) last year to roughly 50 euros by 2027.
It comes as fuel prices have increased around the world following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What did Michael O’Leary say?
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said: “There’s no doubt that at the lower end of the marketplace, our really cheap promotional fares – the one euro fares, the 0.99 euro fares, even the 9.99 euro fares – I think you will not see those fares for the next number of years.”
Although the soaring fuel prices which are impacting the airline’s fares are also wreaking havoc on people’s disposable incomes, Mr O’Leary is confident the number of customers will remain steady.
Instead, he believes travellers will flock en masse to lower-cost alternatives such as Ryanair and EasyJet.
“We think people will continue to fly frequently,” he said.
“But I think people are going to become much more price sensitive and therefore my view of life is that people will trade down in their many millions.”
Calls for return of freedom of movement
In his interview with BBC Radio 4;s Today programme, Mr O’Leary also said the next prime minister should have the “backbone” to secure a deal with the European Union to open up the free movement of labour.
He explained: “I think the first thing they should do to boost the British economy is prioritise a trade deal with the European Union – a good starting point for that would be to open up the free movement of labour between the UK and Europe once more.”
Mr O’Leary, who said he accepted the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum, added: “You have to accept that you’re not going to get elected by a very narrow 180,000 electorate of the Tory party membership if you advocate common-sense policies.
“But once you do become prime minister, you should have enough backbone to lead the UK economy forward and the starting point for that should be a free trade deal with the European Union.”
What strikes are affecting Ryanair flights?
Ryanair cabin crew across Spain will go on strike for five months, with walkouts to last until January 2023.
Cabin crew unions Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) and Sitcpla have called are staging the walkouts to demand better working conditions, including 22 days of holiday and two extra months payment to comply with Spanish legislation.
Lidia Aransanz, a leader for USO’s Ryanair section, said: “As the company has been unable to listen to the workers, we have been forced to call new strike days.”
Their demands also include a call for the immediate reinstatement of 11 cabin staff who were fired for striking in July, and an end of subcontracting through employment agencies, such as Workforce and Crewlink.