‘Flight ticket prices could increase by 10% this year,’ says Ryanair CEO

‘Flight ticket prices could increase by 10% this year,’ says Ryanair CEO
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary pictured during a press conference of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, Tuesday 17 January 2023 in Brussels. 
Credit: Belga / Eric Lalmand

The price of plane tickets across the European aviation sector could increase by 10% this year, warned Michael O’Leary, CEO of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, during a press conference on Tuesday.

Rising fuel prices, the influx of American tourists, and a lower supply of flights for most European airlines will make plane tickets 5-10% more expensive this year, O’Leary specified.

During the press conference, the Ryanair boss also announced that the airline would station one more plane at its hub at Charleroi airport next summer travel season, bringing the total there to 16 aircraft.

Five new destinations will be served from Charleroi. Ryanair will not operate new routes from Brussels Zaventem Airport, with the airline deciding against reopening its base there last week.

Despite several meetings about the fate of the airport hub in recent months, Ryanair and Zaventem Airport were unable to reach an agreement to ensure the low-cost airline’s continuation in Brussels. This decision will likely lead to the loss of 59 jobs. Ryanair complained of extortionate airport taxes at Zaventem airport, which they claim disproportionately targeted low-cost carriers.

“Brussels Airport is the 3rd most expensive airport among all our bases,” O’Leary complained at the press conference. The CEO reportedly asked the airport to reduce its changes. The airport, however, refused. The Irish airline boss hopes that Ryanair will be able to return to the airport sometime in the future.

Fast growth in Wallonia

Despite this, Ryanair will still operate flights from the Zaventem Airport this summer to 12 destinations, down from 16 last summer, using aircraft based abroad. From Charleroi, the number of routes operated by Ryanair will grow to 109.

Ryanair enjoys significantly lower airport taxes at Charleroi airport, allowing the carrier to expand significantly. Airport taxes are roughly 50% less than at Zaventem. This allows Ryanair to expand at its Charleroi base while maintaining profitability, O’Leary said.

In the space of a few years, Charleroi airport has quickly become one of Ryanair’s main European bases. The Charleroi base grew by 116% in 2019-2022, higher than the Ryanair average of 108% for other locations.

In Belgium, Ryanair expects to grow 3-4% this year thanks to holding the rights to 121 destinations this summer. It also hopes to reach 8.6 million passengers in 2024, including 7.6 million at Charleroi and 1 million in Zaventem.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.