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Ryanair CEO Predicts Summer Airfare Increase Due to Aircraft Issues and High Demand

The cost of air travel is expected to rise this summer, with potential increases of up to 10 percent, according to Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.
The airline attributes the anticipated surge in prices to ongoing issues with Boeing and Airbus passenger aircraft as well as a capacity shortage amid high demand for flights.

Ryanair has signaled that ticket prices could climb by as much as 10 percent during the peak summer season due to problems with both Boeing and Airbus planes, The Guardian reported.

The news comes on the heels of last year's price hikes, which followed the rebound in travel demand after the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines struggled to match the resurgence in travel interest with sufficient seating availability.

O’Leary stated that Ryanair might also be forced to scale back on its flight schedule this year if there are further delays in the delivery of the ordered Boeing Max 737-8200 aircraft. Quality issues with this model have made headlines, an alarming example of which was an incident involving an Alaska Airlines Max-9, which experienced a section of its fuselage ripping open.

"If we only receive 40-45 aircraft by March, we may need to reduce flight frequency, particularly on busy routes," O'Leary explained. "Even our company's expansion could be limited, potentially leading to higher airfares across Europe this summer," The Guardian quoted the Ryanair CEO as saying. He noted that last summer saw an average fare increase of 17 percent, although he does not anticipate such a high rise this year, expecting a 5-10 percent hike in ticket prices.

O'Leary also mentioned that it's not just Boeing aircraft facing challenges; Airbus has encountered issues too, particularly with the A320’s Pratt & Whitney engines needing more maintenance than planned, leading to operational disruptions for several airlines. He suggested that throughout the summer, capacity for short-haul flights in Europe may be tight.

However, O’Leary remains hopeful: "If we receive all 57 Boeings before June, we would be in a strong position, as airports are already knocking on our door offering incentives, seeing as other carriers are taking their aircraft away."

This is not the first time the Ryanair CEO has warned of potential fare increases.

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