People flying on one of the 30-plus Ryanair routes out of Liverpool Airport face rising fares next year, warns Michael O’Leary. Tony McDonough reports
Ryanair passengers will see fares rise next year as soaring fuel prices push up the airline’s costs.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary is warning that the price of aviation fuel and higher staff and environmental costs will push up fares in 2023. The low-cost carrier operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool.
In a piece of good timing, Ryanair agreed a hedging deal for its fuel before the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a spike in oil prices. Hedging is where airlines agree a set price with fuel suppliers months in advance.
Ryanair is hedged until the end of this year. But Mr O’Leary believes the price of oil will stay high for the next few years. It will take time for the world to wean itself off Russian oil, he explained.
Speaking to the FT about the current price of plane tickets, he said: “ It’s got 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.”
Mr O’Leary predicts higher fuel prices, along with rising staff and environmental costs, will see the average Ryanair fare rise from £34 to between £43 and £51 in the medium term.
Ryanair has fared better than its rivals in the current aviation cancellation crisis. Carriers such as easyJet and Tui have taken more bookings than their current capacity can handle. This has led to countless cancellations and delays at UK airports.
However, the Irish carrier had stolen a march on its rivals by ensuring it had enough staff to cope with the surge in post-COVID demand for air travel.
There was also stinging criticism for the UK Government over its departure from the European single market. Mr O’Leary said the “disaster” of Brexit had exacerbated the aviation staffing shortage.
He added: “Withdrawing from the single market, just so that they can say ‘we got Brexit done’ was the height of idiocy. But then they are idiots.”