Ryanair boss issues warning over ticket prices amid plane shortage

Michael O'Leary has warned that holidaymakers face higher costs simply because there aren't enough planes.

Ryanair boss issues warning over ticket prices amid plane shortage
LISBON, PORTUGAL - FEBRUARY 07: Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary gestures while making a point during a press conference on the future of the company's operations in the Portuguese market, and to announce 14 new routes in its major summer program for Portugal, allowing a 22 percent increase during 2024 in Portuguese traffic, on February 07, 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal. Michael O'Leary complained regarding the lack of action by the Portuguese government regarding opening of Montijo airport, and ANA's increase in airport taxes that is forcing airlines to reduce regional flights to and from Portugal. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary reckons his airline’s ticket prices could go up by up to 10% (Picture: Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Bad news for people hoping to jet away on holiday as air fares are set to increase this summer.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of budget airline Ryanair, has warned that holidaymakers face higher costs simply because there aren’t enough planes.

He says Ryanair’s ticket prices could work out up to 10% more expensive this summer, compared to last year.

But this isn’t solely affecting Ryanair – all airlines across Europe will struggle to meet demand during the peak summer season because there simply aren’t enough planes to go around.

Boeing has delayed deliveries of its new aircraft after an emergency door on one of its 737 Max planes fell off at 16,000ft.

The planes have been embroiled in controversy – and Mr O’Leary says that Ryanair will only receive up to 45 of the 57 new planes it had ordered from Boeing by the end of March.

File photo dated 02/09/22 of a Ryanair Boeing passenger airliner coming in to land at Stansted Airport in Essex. UK airports are being put at an
Ryanair ordered 57 new planes from Boeing but may only receive up to 45 of them (Picture: Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Wire)
FILE - This image taken Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, and released by the National Transportation Safety Board, shows a section of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 that is missing panel on a Boeing 737-9 MAX in Portland, Ore. Federal officials are recommending that airlines inspect the door plugs on more Boeing 737s after one of the panel blew off a Boeing jet in midflight. The Federal Aviation Administration says airlines should also inspect the panels on an older model, the 737-900ER. Those planes have door plugs that are identical in design to the one that flew off the Alaska Airlines jetliner. Boeing said Monday, Jan. 22, 2024that it supports the FAA action. (NTSB via AP, file)
Boeing has been the subject of more criticism after a door blew out during an Alaskan Airlines flight at 16,000 ft (Picture: AP)

Ryanair’s original forecast for the year to the end of March 2025 was that it would carry 205 million passengers, up from 183.5 million during the previous 12 months.

Mr O’Leary said: ‘With less aircraft, maybe we’ll have to bring that 205 million down towards 200 million passengers.

‘It might be a scratch below 200 million, we just don’t know at this stage.

‘That probably means that even our growth this year is going to be constrained in Europe, and I think that leads to a higher fare environment across Europe for summer 2024.

‘Fares in summer 2024 are going to be up again on summer 2023.

‘Our average air fares in summer 2023 rose 17%.

‘We don’t think we’ll see that kind of double-digit fare increase this year.

‘We’re doing our budgets based on a fare increase of 5-10%, which to me feels kind of reasonable.

‘It could be higher than that, it could be lower than that, we don’t really know. If capacity was growing, I think fares would be falling.’

As well as the ongoing Boeing controversy,  more than 1,000 Pratt & Whitney-built engines had to be removed from Airbus aircraft due to a safety recall last July.

Mr O’Leary predicted that airlines such as Wizz Air, Lufthansa and Air France ‘will be grounding upwards of 20% of their A320 fleets’ because of this.

He added: ‘If we could get all 57 aircraft deliveries from Boeing in advance before the end of June we would make out like bandits all summer long because we have airports at the moment beating the door down to us.’

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