Baggage, credit card charges driving Ryanair’s €663m ancillary revenue haul

BAGGAGE charges, priority boarding and credit card fees helped Ryanair take in €663 million in ancillary revenues last year, more than any other European airline.

The figure puts Ryanair in a top five list of airlines around the world when it comes to ancillary or extra charges.

The top three airlines on the ancillary list are US airlines United, American and Delta, according to a study by airline consultancy IdeaWorks and Amadeus, a clearinghouse for airline transactions.

In total, airlines globally collected €11 billion in ancillary charges last year, a 43% increase on 2008, according to the study of financial filings made by 96 airlines worldwide.

Ryanair was overtaken by Qantas to appear fifth in the table. Last year Ryanair was fourth on the list, raking in €625m.

Aer Lingus failed to make the main list but was placed seventh on a list that considered ancillary revenue as a percentage of total revenue. Ancillary revenues accounted for just over 14% of the former Irish state airline’s revenues last year and for 22% of Ryanair’s, which was third on the list.

On a per passenger basis, Aer Lingus rakes in €16.72, putting it in seventh spot on another list but Ryanair failed to make the top 10 on this ranking.

Ryanair charges its passengers extra for checking in luggage, priority boarding and credit card use. It does claim, however, that these charges are avoidable on all its flights.

United Airlines generated the most fee income of any carrier in the world, with €1.5bn in ancillary revenues last year. That’s about double the €783m in fees taken in by Australia’s Qantas Airways, the highest-ranking carrier outside the US in the study.

The proliferation of checked bag fees in Europe and the US accounted for the sharp jump in ancillary revenues, according to IdeaWorks president Jay Sorensen.

He also believes that airlines won’t be scrapping baggage charges any time soon.

“The fees are here to stay,” he said.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus said yesterday trading for the month of June was stronger than expected due to higher than forecast yields and long haul load factors.

The airline said it expects that its 2010 operating result, before exceptional items, should be no worse than breakeven. It added that it is too early to provide guidance for 2011.

Meanwhile, Ryanair is ploughing ahead with its expansion plans with the announcement of its 44th base at Seville, which will open in November with two aircraft based at the airport and 29 routes, including 10 new routes.

Ryanair will offer over 250 weekly return flights to and from Seville in an investment worth over €109 million in the airport, it said.


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