Budget airline Ryanair (RYA.L) said consumers could face soaring prices for tickets for short-haul flights across Europe next summer, as the airline tries to recoup losses from a sustained grounding during coronavirus lockdowns.
The company's CEO Michael O'Leary told Reuters on Thursday that the price increase could set in as soon as October, "because there's about 20% less capacity in the short-haul market across Europe".
O'Leary said bookings over the coming months were "patchy", with some periods of extraordinary demand around school holidays in October and at Christmas, while current prices were low.
The news came as the airline upped its target for passengers, saying it would ferry an additional 25 million people through the skies per year by 2026.
It also said earlier this month that it was expecting to trump its pre-COVID passenger numbers by 2022. These hit 149 million in 2019.
Thursday’s increased forecasts equated to 50% growth over five years, compared with an earlier prediction of 33%.
Alongside growth in flight numbers comes a growth in staff — it said on Tuesday that it would look to hire 5,000 people including pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
Ryanair's AGM takes place in Dublin today. The company's stock headed more than 6% higher by late-morning in London.