Show up at airport early and expect higher fares, Ryanair boss tells passengers

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Passengers on Europe’s biggest low-cost airline this summer should arrive at the airport early, the Ryanair boss has said.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary told the BBC Today: “There is no doubt: crossing the airport this summer is going to be difficult.

“We encourage all our customers to show up earlier, to allow more time to clear airport security, especially in Manchester.”

In recent weeks, some passengers have missed flights at Manchester Airport and some departures have been delayed due to long queues.

The Ryanair boss blamed what he called ‘pinch points’ on airports for laying off too many staff.

“We hope to see these pinch points cleared by the end of June in time for the peak summer period,” he said – adding that pressure was less intense at airports such as Bristol, Glasgow and London Stansted .

Summer airfares will be “single digit ahead” of pre-pandemic levels, Mr O’Leary said – in other words, around 8 or 9 per cent higher than in 2019.

The airline is offering 15% more capacity for summer 2022 compared to the same period in 2019 – which was a record summer for Ryanair.

Mr O’Leary said: ‘There are so many pent up requests from families for the holidays. They have been locked up for 18 months or two years. There will certainly be a very strong return to the beaches of Europe this summer.

Flying from Manchester to Malaga on the morning of Saturday July 30, returning in the evening a week later, Ryanair still has a seat for a total fare of £277 – with just a small piece of hand luggage. A 20kg bag costs an additional £80.

Looking ahead to winter, the airline’s chief executive said: “If there is any further adverse news or adverse developments on Covid or on Ukraine, this recovery could be at risk again.

“We don’t just know what next winter will look like. We think it will be strong, but it can be strong at lower prices.

“There is clearly going to be an economic slowdown, there is some fear of recession.

“In a recession, the cheapest provider – which in the UK and Europe is Ryanair – will do better, but we will do better because we can keep prices lower.”

Meanwhile, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has called for the “huge sacrifices to help the business” during the coronavirus pandemic to be recognized by Ryanair.

Pilots union general secretary Martin Chalk said: “Our members now need to see management recognize their loyalty.

“Balpa is in negotiations with management to end the Covid mitigation measures put in place over the past two years.” Michael O’Leary said: “We have, I think, a loyal, well-paid workforce here in the UK and across Europe.”

Ryanair promised service improvements later in 2022, “including self-check-in and airport express to facilitate faster journeys through airports”.

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