Ryanair issues message to passengers flying in 2024 and says 'we didn't expect it'

Ryanair says its tickets will be cheaper than expected this summer. The budget airline’s boss Michael O’Leary blamed “a recessionary feel around Europe” for holding back how much it was able to hike prices so far this year - in a boost for holidaymakers.

Ryanair, which flies from Birmingham Airport, is rivalled by the likes of Easyjet, TUI, Jet2, Wizz Air and more. The firm had warned earlier this year that fares could be rise by 10 per cent but now says “recent pricing is softer than we expected”.

Peak summer fares will now be “flat to modestly ahead of last summer”. Danni Hewson, market analyst at AJ Bell, said: “Even if people are beginning to feel a little better off as inflation falls, they are remaining cautious, which could have an impact on the number of bums on seats once the summer surge is over.

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“Ryanair needs to keep planes as full as possible to maintain margins, so keener pricing could be a requirement in those leaner winter months.” Mr O'Leary announced that summer fares would be likely to be lower than the 5%-10% rise predicted in late April.

"It is a bit surprising that pricing hasn't been stronger and we're not quite sure whether that's just consumer sentiment or recessionary feel around Europe but we still see peak travel demand certainly through July and August being strong," O'Leary said in a presentation to investors.

"And if we have to discount or cut fares to fill to 94% load factor in April, May and June then so be it," he added. “Where Ryanair always seems to have an edge is cost management—it has a fierce reputation for keeping a lid on costs, such as having more efficient planes to lower fuel consumption and being quick at disembarking customers and then loading up for the next flight and back in the sky,” Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell, told Fortune.