Friday 22 February 2019

O'Leary tips Ryanair Sun charter service to lead way in Poland as it triples jets to 15

Ryanair has about 400 Boeing aircraft in its fleet, a figure that will hit 600 by 2023 as it expands its capacity. Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair has about 400 Boeing aircraft in its fleet, a figure that will hit 600 by 2023 as it expands its capacity. Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair will triple the size of its new Poland-based charter service between 2018 and 2019, it has confirmed.

The charter business - Ryanair Sun - will launch next year with five jets. But in its newly-published annual report, Ryanair said it plans to add 10 more aircraft to the service in time for summer 2019.

"This will significantly boost our presence in Poland where Ryanair is already the number one scheduled airline," Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary told shareholders in the annual report.

"We expect Ryanair Sun to become Poland's number one charter airline as it grows to over 15 dedicated aircraft by summer 2019," he added.

Releasing first-quarter results earlier this week, Ryanair said it had extended leases on 10 aircraft, which will provide it with three additional jets for the summer 2018 and 2019 seasons. Ryanair also ordered 10 more aircraft in June, five of which will be delivered in spring 2019.

The airline noted that the extra aircraft orders coupled with lease extensions would address a temporary capacity shortage in summer 2019.

The annual report also shows that Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary saw his pay rise marginally to €3.26m in the airline's last financial year, from €3.16m a year earlier.

Mr O'Leary, is on a five-year contract that expires in 2019. Last year he earned a base salary of €1.05m, a €950,000 bonus, and share-based payments of €1.25m.

Ryanair has made Mr O'Leary a billionaire. His shares in the airline are worth more than €800m and he has sold €300m worth of shares in the carrier over the past 15 years.

He's been chief executive of the airline since 1994, having joined the board not long after the airline's 1985 launch.

The latest annual report also shows that Ryanair's staff numbers rose to 13,026 at the end of last March from 11,458 a year earlier. Of those, 4,058 are pilots and 7,684 are flight attendants.

The figures include thousands of staff who are actually employees of contract firms, primarily Dublin-based Crewlink.

Ryanair cabin crew typically earn about 40pc of their annual earnings from productivity-based incentive payments, while pilots earn an average of 31pc of their remuneration from such payments.

Mr O'Leary also warned again in the annual report about the possible negative impact of a hard Brexit on the airline.

"We remain worried at the continuing uncertainty which prevails over the terms of the UK's departure from the EU in March 2019," he told shareholders.

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