Ryanair raises passenger forecast on ‘very strong recovery’

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Ryanair Holdings PLC (LSE:RYA) has raised its estimate for the number of passengers it expects to fly over the rest of the year after a “very strong recovery” recently in short-haul demand.


Michael O’Leary, chief executive, said the airline expects to fly 10.5mln passengers a month in September, October and November, against his previous estimate of 10mln.


“As long as there are no adverse COVID developments, things are set fair for a very strong recovery,” O’Leary told Reuters ahead of a briefing in Brussels.


Flights should return to pre-covid -19 levels in October, he added, from close to 90% in September and 80% in August.


Though the airline will likely fly with 15-20% empty seats this winter compared with 7-8% before the pandemic.


“Through the winter, pricing will continue to build, but it will still be below (pre-)COVID,” he said. “We don’t expect pricing to go back to pre-COVID levels until the summer of 2022.”


Ryanair also announced it was launching 14 new routes from UK to places in Spain, Italy, France, Finland and Sweden.


O’Leary also reiterates his support for Boeing and said it was looking at a new order for Max-10 planes, but only when the timing was right.


Other airlines echoed Ryanair’s comments about the recovery in flying.


EasyJet has announced it will fly to more destinations, while British Airways is mulling a new short-haul operation based at Gatwick.


Ryanair shares eased 3.3% to EUR15.81, easyJet PLC dropped 1.8% to 794p while British Airways owner IAG shed 3.6% 157.6p.


Talk of a new Covid variant C.1.2, emanating from South Africa seemed to be the cause even though the World Health Organisation said that this strain was not yet one of concern.

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