By Padraic Halpin, Reuters
Ryanair expects average air fares during this year's summer peak season to be 5-10 per cent higher than pre-pandemic prices in the same period of 2019, group chief executive Michael O'Leary was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Lower capacity and increased passenger demand are already driving fares higher for those booking flights from June onwards, O'Leary told the Irish Independent newspaper, citing "very strong" forward bookings.
"What we're seeing at the moment is prices are slightly lower than they were in 2019, pre-Covid, through March, April and May. They're somewhere between 5 per cent and 10 per cent higher at the moment through June, July, August and September," O'Leary said.
"I think fares will be up this year in the peak summer months by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent."
The Dublin-based low-cost airline, Europe's largest by passenger numbers, on Monday reported that its passenger numbers topped pre-pandemic levels for the first time last month.
O'Leary, who told the newspaper he had no intention of retiring after nearly 30 years in charge, said it would be too optimistic to say that Covid-19 is over for the airline industry but he does not expect any "Covid scares" this summer.
"Travel is recovering strongly. I think people are fed up. We have been locked up at home for the last two years on Zoom calls. They want to go travel again. Families want to go on holidays again," he said.
"We see that very strongly this Easter and also this summer. The forward bookings are very strong, but I think there will still be some disruptions."