Ryanair won’t be offering flights at rock bottom prices any more thanks to the soaring cost of fuel, the budget airline’s boss has admitted.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary says the era of the €10 ticket is over.
The airline’s average fare would rise from around €40 last year to roughly €50 over the next five years, he told the BBC.
But he says he believes people will continue to fly frequently, despite the rising cost of living.
“There’s no doubt that at the lower end of the marketplace, our really cheap promotional fares – the one euro fares, the €0.99 fares, even the €9.99 fares – I think you will not see those fares for the next number of years,” O’Leary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The rise in fuel costs that is pushing up air fares, is also raising household energy bills, eating into people’s disposable incomes. But the airline boss said, despite that, he expects customers to seek out lower-cost options rather than cut back on flights.
“We think people will continue to fly frequently. 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.”
As airfares have become cheaper in recent decades, the number of flights taken has risen, with more people taking short breaks abroad, on top of an annual holiday. Airlines like Ryanair, Easyjet, Vueling and Wizz Air have competed to offer low-cost no-frills services.
Commercial flights now account for around 2.4% of global CO2 emissions, and the sector is facing pressure to reduce its impact on the climate, including campaigns to persuade people to switch to rail and road travel.
However, O’Leary argued road transport and shipping were bigger contributors of CO2 overall, and said the focus on reducing emissions from air travel was “misplaced”.
He said Ryanair was investing in more fuel efficient aircraft, but that greater reductions in fossil fuel use would come from the switch from petrol and diesel to electric road vehicles. (BBC)