Ryanair expects summer air fares to be higher than in 2019

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FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair aircraft lands on the southern runway at Gatwick Airport in Crawley

LISBON -Ryanair expects average air fares during this year’s summer peak season to be significantly higher than pre-COVID ticket prices in the same period in 2019, Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said on Wednesday.

O’Leary told reporters in Lisbon that the airline still expected prices to be lower than 2019 levels from March to May but said they would increase starting from June, when schools will shut for holidays and families travel abroad.

“After that it will depend on what happens with the world economy, the price of oil and if there are any COVID developments,” he said.

O’Leary said two weeks ago he expected huge pent-up demand to lead to record summer passenger numbers if the recovery is not thrown off course by a new COVID variant.

Last month, Ryanair reported a loss of 96 million euros for the final three months of 2021.

“We think we will be back to our pre-COVID traffic volumes by March or April this year,” he said in Lisbon.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony in Lisbon and Padraic Halpin in Dublin; editing by Jason Neely and Bernadette Baum)