Thursday 23 November 2017

Pól Ó Conghaile: Fares will keep falling despite Ryanair fiasco

Travel Insider

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Photo: Mark Condren
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary. Photo: Mark Condren
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary at a press conference in London on August 31, 2016. Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Ryanair’s latest attempt to resolve its "rostering failure" isn't all bad news.

In a sprawling, 3,000-word press release yesterday, the airline outlined its plans to fly 25 fewer aircraft over winter in a bid to "slow its growth” and “eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations”.

The collateral damage? 400,000 further customers disrupted by flight scheduling changes between November and March of 2018.

It’s not all bad news, however.

Ryanair also flagged that it would release one million seats from €9.99 this weekend, the first in a series of winter sales.

That’s the bigger picture. Disruptive though the cancellations are (and for many of our readers, they have been deeply disruptive), the one thing we don’t have to worry about is a return to the sky-high airfares of old.

Ryanair’s flight cancellations fiasco comes at a time of economic growth, surging air travel and low fuel prices.

Air fares have never been so low, and there is more competition among airlines and across busy air routes than ever. 

Last week, we saw Aer Lingus swoop with a “rescue sale” offering European flights from €29.99. This summer, Norwegian had direct flights to the US from €99.

As I write, WOW air is selling fares to Reykjavik from €39.99.

We’ve also seen IAG launch Level, a new low-cost carrier, and Air France is shaping up to debut Joon, a new airline aimed at millenials, in December.

Whatever about losing reputation and face amidst this horror show, Ryanair is not going to lose customers.

€9.99 flash sales, 400+ aircraft and a peerless European route network will see to that.

One day, as Michael O’Leary has said, you could even fly for free.

Let’s just hope those flights aren’t cancelled.

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