HOLIDAYMAKERS booking flights with Ryanair this year have been warned that they could end up either paying more for their tickets, or missing out.
The airline has claimed that there was “strong pent-up travel demand” between October and December when it recorded profits of €211million (£185m).
The demand resulted in fares being 14 per cent higher than they were in 2019, before the pandemic effectively shut down the travel industry.
Airline boss Michael O'Leary has explained that fares will remain high due to "robust demand" for flights for both Easter and summer 2023.
The need for flights is coming from both American and Asian tourists who are planning trips to Europe following the scrapping of Covid restrictions.
O'Leary said he is expecting the lowest fares to "sell out early" and that people should book sooner rather than later.
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It's not the first time O'Leary has warned that passengers will have to pay more for their travel this year.
Earlier this month, he warned that holidaymakers won't find fares as low as £9.99 for the next year or two because of high oil prices.
He said: "I don’t think you’ll see £9.99 flights for a long time."
The low-cost airline had a record-breaking two million bookings in one weekend at the start of the year – without having to launch a buy one, get one free promotion.
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The airline boss said: "Yes, there's lots of cheap seats out there, but it's not on the back of a seat sale."
Instead of flights under a tenner, Ryanair's spring flight prices are starting at £29.99.
Over the next three years, the average cost of a Ryanair flight will rise from €40 (£35.20) to €50 (£44.00).
These prices could even rise to €53 (£46.64) once passengers have included optional extras onto their booking.
O'Leary added: "This year we’ll see high single-digit price increases for the second year in a row, which hasn’t happened in a very long time.
"That’s largely because the demise of Thomas Cook, Flybe, and IAG and Lufthansa has not put as much capacity back into the market."
Last year, O'Leary warned that prices could also rise due to other airlines cutting capacity.
He believes a widening gap on airfares makes rivals easyJet and Wizz takeover targets for bigger companies, meaning there could be fewer budget airlines to choose from.
He said: "Europe is inexorably moving towards having three very large, somewhat higher cost, high-fare connecting carriers, and one very large low cost carrier" in Ryanair.
O’Leary also told the Guardian airfares were likely to continue to rise into this year, unless Covid or an escalation of war prevented people from travelling again.
He said that while Ryanair was growing, “the competition are all cutting capacity because they are exposed to higher oil prices.
"If capacity keeps falling we’ll see fares rise again by somewhere between 5 per cent and 10 per cent.”
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Meanwhile, Ryanair passengers have been warned about a "booking rip off" that could see them pay more.
And this mum saved money on her holiday by flying there just for one day.
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