Ryanair price warning as chief executive says Dublin Airport passenger cap "devastating"

Passengers boarding a Ryanair flight
-Credit: (Image: No credit)


Christmas and winter air fares to and from Dublin Airport are expected to soar over a limit on the number of passengers allowed to pass through the state’s biggest airport, Ryanair has warned.

Ryanair and other airlines have long called for the removal of the cap limiting Dublin Airport to 32 million passengers a year.

The airline said the restrictions will leave it unable to provide more than one million seats during peak periods, including Christmas, midterm break and St Patrick’s Day, as well as sporting events.

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Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair, warned that air fares could rise to 500 euro to travel between Dublin and London. Speaking in Dublin on Thursday, Mr Wilson said the passenger cap will force air prices back to the 1980s.

The airline boss also said that despite an increase in its aircraft fleet, there is “no real growth” in Dublin.

“The issue of winter slots means that we are going to have one million less passengers than we would have planned at Dublin airport for this winter,” Mr Wilson said.

“This is repeated DAA (Dublin Airport Authority) mismanagement. They already put in an extra runway that cost 300 million (euro) and you would think that when you had one runway and now you’ve got two runways that you’ll double the capacity, but only in Ireland, having put all that in, we actually have less passengers than before.

“The traffic cap means that Dublin is closed for business and it will have a devastating effect on tourism, jobs and the economy. Airlines put in for extra flights for peak periods during the winter but the cap is now stopping us from … we can only put in the routes that we had last year subject to the cap.

“We put in approximately 300,000 extra seats on the Dublin to London route over Christmas over and above what we already have but we can’t provide any of those this year.

“With those 300,000 seats not on sale, price on the Dublin to London route is going to go through the roof this Christmas. They’re going to go through the roof in the midterm and to a lesser extent for sporting events.

Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson seated looking relaxed
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson -Credit:Cate McCurry/PA Wire

“We won’t be able to put on extra flights for Lapland and it’s not just Ryanair, nobody will be able to do this in Dublin, all because of the passenger cap.”

He called on transport minister Eamon Ryan to make a special ministerial order to remove the passenger cap.

“We are also calling on the Minister for Transport to ensure that the winter 2024 traffic isn’t lost,” he added.

“We want them to scrap that and the cap and lower Dublin charges. The high fares that are coming is at Eamon Ryan’s door this Christmas. People at the last minute will be paying up to 500 euros, we estimate, because of an artificial cap.

“It’s going to bite this winter and it’s going to get worse. We want to grow. This needs urgent action right. The big ones that are going to be affected by air fares this winter are the midterm break, Christmas and Paddy’s Day.”

Kenny Jacobs, DAA chief executive, the operator of Dublin Airport: “We fully agree with Ryanair regarding the need to raise the 32 million passenger cap and the planning process is in play which will hopefully lead to that happening soon.

“However, we absolutely refute the manifestly false comments made regarding DAA mismanagement, we have just announced a record financial performance and record passenger satisfaction scores up by 37%.”

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