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Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warns fares will rise over the next five years

The era of cheap air travel is over! Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warns fares will rise over the next five years because tickets are ‘too cheap’

  • Michael O’Leary said fares lower than an airport train ticket were ‘absurd’
  • He predicted that flight prices for passengers will increase over the next five years
  • According to a recent report in the United States, tariffs increased by 18% in April

The cost of a plane ticket is “too cheap” and prices need to rise, according to the Ryanair boss.

Michael O’Leary said fares that cost less than a train ticket to the airport are “absurd”.

He predicted flight prices will rise over the next five years as soaring fuel prices and environmental charges take their toll.

Fares on many routes are cheaper than a decade ago. But according to a recent report in the United States, fares rose 18% in April – the biggest increase since 1963.

O’Leary said he takes credit for the era of cheap flights – driving prices down with 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 I fly to Stansted, the train journey to central London is more expensive than the plane ticket.

Michael O'Leary said fares that cost less than a train ticket to the airport are

Michael O’Leary said fares that cost less than a train ticket to the airport are “absurd”. He predicted flight prices will rise over the next five years as soaring fuel costs and environmental charges take their toll.

‘It’s my fault [taking prices so low]. I made a lot of money doing it. But ultimately, I don’t think air travel is sustainable in the medium term at an average fare of €40 (£34). It’s too cheap at that. But I think, you know, it’s still going to 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 the Ryanair website.

A return flight a fortnight later at 6am was the same price, bringing the total cost to £19.98.

That’s less than a one-way ticket from London to Stansted on September 13, arriving around two hours before the flight departs, currently priced at £20.70.

But the sentiments contrast with comments he made in April to RTE in Ireland.

“Despite all the talk about taxing air travel and ending air travel…the era of cheap flying 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 the Ryanair website

The 10.10pm flight from London Stansted to Milan Bergamo Airport in Italy on September 13 was on sale yesterday for £9.99 on the Ryanair website

He told the broadcaster’s Countrywide radio program that he believed Ireland needed cheap flights and that “our tourism depends on people getting here”. Airlines have seen a surge in demand since lockdown restrictions ended in March.

But the impact of long periods of ground flights, rising costs and savage job cuts in the airline industry during the crisis have left some carriers struggling to keep up with demand. Thousands of aviation jobs have been cut during the Covid pandemic and many companies in the sector have struggled to recruit enough new employees in time to cope with the summer peak.

Last week, passengers at Heathrow and other airports complained of long queues, canceled flights and lost luggage.

Meanwhile, planned airline strikes threaten to cause even more travel chaos for British holidaymakers in the weeks to come. Ryanair staff are taking industrial action over pay disputes.

British Airways staff at Heathrow Airport also voted to strike after the airline failed to reinstate a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic.

The airline offered a one-time 10% bonus but not a return to the same salary as before.

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