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Ryanair says it is readying for a summer air travel recovery

Europe’s biggest discount airline aims to get occupancy back to 95pc


Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson

Ryanair is gaining confidence that travel will make a strong comeback this year as concern about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 fades in Europe.

The region’s biggest discount airline will deploy more capacity this summer than in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, after cutting seats in January and February because of the new viral strain, said Eddie Wilson, head of the Irish group’s main Ryanair unit.

“Once restrictions at destinations have been lifted I think we’re going to see a snap back in travel,” Mr Wilson said in an interview.

People will conclude: “I’m vaccinated, I’m boosted, the airlines are back flying, let’s go on holiday,” he said.

Ryanair last month forecast a wider loss for the year ending in March, after the emergence of Omicron plunged European travel into renewed uncertainty. Mr Wilson’s comments suggest the company sees no carry-over into the vital summer season.

The UK, its biggest market, could drop all Covid tests for vaccinated travellers in time for school holidays next month, the country’s Times newspaper reported on January 15.

Mr Wilson said he also sees an increase in fares as flying resumes and an overall 10pc-15pc reduction in capacity across Europe’s airlines after pullbacks during the pandemic. Ryanair’s occupancy levels edged above 85pc in November before the new variant hit and the aim is to get back to 95pc, he said.

The executive, who announced new routes from Dublin, said expansion will be focused on those airports prepared to cut the best deals, citing agreements at hubs including London Stansted, Brussels Charleroi and Milan Bergamo and new bases in Turin and Venice.

Mr Wilson said there are no talks with Boeing on Ryanair’s next aircraft order after negotiations broke down last year, adding Boeing needs to make a more competitive offer after customers defected to Airbus.

“Boeing have got to get the pricing right,” he said. “They’re under pressure. They know exactly where we stand so we’ll wait to hear from them

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