The age of cheap air travel is over! Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warns fares will rise for the next five years because tickets are ‘too cheap’
The cost of a plane ticket is ‘too cheap’ and prices must increase, according to the boss of Ryanair.
Michael O’Leary said fares that cost less than a train ticket to the airport are ‘absurd’.
He predicted that flight prices will rise for the next five years as soaring fuel costs and environmental charges take their toll.
Prices on many routes are cheaper than they were a decade ago. But according to a recent report in the US, fares rose 18 per cent in April – the biggest increase since 1963.
O’Leary said he took credit for the era of low- cost flying – pushing down prices with a no-frills service alongside other entrepreneurs such as easyJet’s Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
But he told the Financial Times: ‘It’s too cheap for what it is. I find it absurd every time that I fly to Stansted, the train journey into central London is more expensive than the air fare.
Michael O’Leary said fares that cost less than a train ticket to the airport are ‘absurd’. He predicted that flight prices will rise for the next five years as soaring fuel costs and environmental charges take their toll
‘It has been my doing [taking prices so low]. I made a lot of money doing it. But ultimately, I don’t believe air travel is sustainable over the medium term at an average fare of €40 (£34). It’s too cheap at that. But I think, you know, it will still be very cheap and affordable at €50 and €60.’
The 10.10pm flight from London Stansted to Milan Bergamo airport in Italy on September 13 was on sale yesterday for £9.99 on Ryanair’s website.
A return flight a fortnight later at 6am was the same price, taking the total cost to £19.98.
That is less than a one-way ticket from London to Stansted on September 13, arriving around two hours before the flight would depart, currently priced at £20.70.
But the sentiments are in contrast to comments he made in April to Ireland’s RTE.
‘For all the talk about taxing air travel and the end of air travel… the era of the cheap flight is not coming to an end,’ O’Leary said.
The 10.10pm flight from London Stansted to Milan Bergamo airport in Italy on September 13 was on sale yesterday for £9.99 on Ryanair’s website
He told the broadcaster’s Countrywide radio programme that he believed Ireland needed low-cost flights and ‘our tourism depends on people flying in here’. Airlines have seen a surge in demand since the end of lockdown restrictions in March.
But the impact of long periods of grounded flights, rising costs and savage air industry job cuts during the crisis have left some carriers struggling to meet the demand. Thousands of aviation jobs were cut during the Covid pandemic and many businesses in the sector have struggled to recruit enough new staff in time to cope with the summer peak.
Passengers at Heathrow and other airports last week complained of long queues, cancelled flights and lost baggage.
Meanwhile, planned strikes at airlines threaten to cause yet more travel chaos for British holidaymakers in the coming weeks. Staff at Ryanair are taking industrial action in disputes over pay.
British Airways staff at Heathrow airport have also voted to strike after the airline failed to reinstate a 10 per cent pay cut imposed during the pandemic.
The airline has offered a 10 per cent one-off bonus but not a return to the same pay as before.