Ryanair passengers facing higher flight prices this summer – but fewer French strikes expected by airline boss

British passengers face higher fares on Ryanair flights this summer, the airline’s boss has said.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Europe’s biggest budget airline, said rises of 5–10 per cent are likely.

He told The Independent: “I think that’s probably likely given the reductions in capacity across Europe this summer – with the grounding of a 20 per cent of the Airbus fleet.

“We’re short of aircraft because Boeing delivery delays. But I don’t think people, if they get a better service, will mind paying more than they did this time last year.

“In terms of inflation elsewhere in the UK or the European economies, it’s still a great deal. And if you look at the weather here in the UK for about the last three or four months – people are desperate to go to the beaches in the sunshine destinations of Europe for a well-earned holiday.”

Despite a number of strikes pending in the aviation industry, including by French air-traffic control (ATC) staff, the Ryanair boss said that he expected less disruption in the coming summer.

“I think it’s going to be a much better summer for Ryanair passengers this year.

“The French had 53 days of strikes last year. They won’t have that this summer.

“I don’t think they’ll be any French ATC strikes during the Olympics because I think the unions have been warned ‘no strikes’. So I think it will be a better summer this year.”

Mr O’Leary was speaking to The Independent at the launch of a new report setting out Ryanair’s expansion plans – and the airline’s claimed annual contribution to the UK economy of £14bn.

By 2030, Ryanair intends to be flying 65 million passengers a year, up from the 53 million in 2023.

He called on an incoming Labour administration to cut or scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD), which would accelerate growth.

“We could do it faster, but only if the new incoming government reduces or scraps APD, which is a tax on air travel which only the UK imposes.

“We’ve been campaigning to reduce those taxes which are very unfair on UK citizens and European visitors.

“We think our growth to 65 million pastors a year would take place by 2027 or 28, rather than 2030, if the new incoming Labour government scraps APD.”

A year ago Rishi Sunak halved Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights, leading Ryanair to add more links in the UK.

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