Holidaymakers face air fare hike this summer due to ‘lack of planes’, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary warns

26 February 2024, 07:06

O'Leary warns some airlines may struggle to cope with demand
O'Leary warns some airlines may struggle to cope with demand. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Holidaymakers face paying more for their flights abroad this summer due to a 'lack of planes', Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has warned.

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O'Leary said a lack of aircraft across the continent will mean European airlines will struggle to keep up with demand during the peak holiday season.

Ryanair's ticket prices are expected to increase by around 10 per cent as a result compared with last summer.

The Ryanair boss said the carrier's growth in passenger numbers will be lower than anticipated as the delivery of Boeing's new aircraft is delayed.

The Irish airline had originally expected to carry 205 million passengers for the year ending in March 2025, up from 183.5 million in the previous 12 months, but this figure will now be closer to 200 million.

Ryanair are expecting more Boeing planes by March next year
Ryanair are expecting more Boeing planes by March next year. Picture: Getty

"With less aircraft, maybe we'll have to bring that 205 million down towards 200 million passengers," he told reporters.

"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."

O'Leary went on: "Fares in summer 2024 are going to be up again on summer 2023. 'Our average air fares in summer 2023 rose 17 per cent. 

"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 per cent, 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."

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary. Picture: Getty

The airline is due to receive 57 new Boeing planes by the end of March next year, but the figure expected by Ryanair is between 40 and 45.

The Federal Aviation Administration (the US regulator) is "crawling all over" the planes after a Boeing 737 Max 9 suffered a mid-air blowout earlier this year.