Business Irish

Monday 25 September 2017

More large European airlines face closure, says Ryanair executive Michael Cawley

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

RYANAIR'S deputy chief executive warned in Dublin yesterday that more large European airlines face closure.

Michael Cawley said Hungarian airline Malev and Spanish carrier Spanair will not be the last to go. There is a direct correlation between ticket prices and consumer demand and the only airlines who can offer the lowest prices will survive.

"Having the lowest costs per seat is the single most important thing about Ryanair," he said, describing the airline as disciplined.

"You improve quality if you have the discipline to produce something at the cheapest cost. The reason our flights are on-time and we have so few lost bags is because it saves money."

He denied that EasyJet poses a challenge to Ryanair and said it is not a low-cost company, with flights an average 71pc more expensive than his airline.

BRITISH AIRWAYS

He said competitor British Airways carries 750 passengers per employee, while Ryanair manages to carry 10,000. While praising BA boss Willie Walsh, he said that airline will survive but get smaller and focus on long-haul routes.

Mr Cawley added that tourism to Ireland is under threat from Dublin Airport charges. No one wants to pay a premium to come to Dublin.

He pointed out that Spain lost 35 million passengers just by adding tariffs to Malaga aiport.

"Tourists to Ireland spend an average €600 to €700 in the summer and €450 to €500 in the winter. Everyone else wants to bite our hand off for our business."

Despite Irish people travelling the most in Europe, with 5.9 flights per person per year compared to 3.2 in the UK and 1.9 in Germany, Mr Cawley said there is room for Irish air travel to grow by 50pc.

Ryanair has just ordered an additional 175 aircraft to add to its fleet and believes it will generate 40pc of all the growth in European air travel over the next five years.

Ryanair is aiming to transport a minimum 110 million passengers per year by 2019. Last year it carried 80m, though Mr Cawley pointed out that many of these were repeat passengers and so this figure represents only about 15m unique passengers.

Irish Independent

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