O'Leary says Ryanair autumn bookings 'higher than expected'

Airline flew 15.9m passengers in September, its third busiest month ever and up 13% on pre-Covid levels
O'Leary says Ryanair autumn bookings 'higher than expected'

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said the sustained demand appeared to be supported by savings built up during the pandemic.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary says bookings with the airline remain strong through autumn, despite a cost-of-living crisis.

Mr O'Leary said the sustained demand appeared to be supported by savings built up during the pandemic.

"They are doing more than holding up. They are growing faster than we expected,” said Mr O’Leary.

“We thought bookings would level off after August into September, October, November. They are still remarkably strong. Each week from the last eight, 10 weeks bookings have been higher than we expected,” he said.

The airline flew 15.9m passengers in September, its third busiest month ever and up 13% on pre-Covid levels.

Countries across Europe have been grappling with soaring prices brought on by factors such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, global supply shortages, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, some European airlines have recently said demand for travel was holding up, calming worries that pressure on household budgets could stall aviation's recovery.

The cost-of-living crisis has hit Britain and the rest of Europe hard, but Mr O'Leary said inflation was "very good" for his company because "people don't stop flying" but choose cheaper airlines.

"In a recession people become more price-sensitive," he said. "They shop in Lidl and Aldi, they spend more on furniture in Ikea, and when they want to fly, they fly with Ryanair."

Meanwhile, Mr O’Leary hailed the appointment of Rishi Sunak as British prime minister, saying he was glad the "Brexiteer wing" of government was on its way out and calling for a trade deal with Europe to end post-Brexit turmoil.

"Brexit is done but at least have the best free trade deal you can have. Europe is still the UK's largest trading partner,” said Mr O’Leary.

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