MADRID – Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary shared some of his predictions for European aviation. The look into the crystal ball of this CEO is considered relevant because his airline outside the US is the largest in the world
The manager believes the major aviation holding companies on the European continent – IAG, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM – are sharpening their claws to acquire two of the most attractive companies on the market. These are the Italian ITA and the Portuguese TAP Air.
O’Leary is convinced that the first will be owned by Lufthansa “in the next three or four months”, while the second will be absorbed by IAG (a group that brings together the Spanish companies Iberia, Vueling and LEVEL).
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O’Leary goes even further, claiming the purchases won’t end there. In that sense, he is betting that easyJet will eventually also integrate into IAG or KLM-Air France, while Lufthansa could also add the Hungarian Wizz Air to its portfolio. In other words, the Irish CEO believes that the phenomenon of air traffic consolidation will increase on the continent.
Higher prices, but demand remains ‘hungry’
On the one hand, the CEO of the Irish low-cost airline claims that short-haul ticket prices in Europe will generally be significantly higher for summer flights, forecasting single-digit growth. However, O’Leary believes there are no warning signs yet and demand remains high, especially in the UK.
Sun destinations are especially popular
To support this, the manager revealed that the airline recorded two million reservations for spring and summer travel during the weekend of January 14 and 15 alone. That is the highest number ever for the company. There is great demand for air travel to sunny destinations such as Spain and Portugal, according to the Ryanair CEO. Consequently, Ryanair is expanding capacity for the summer period to meet strong demand.
According to the Irish businessman, an explanation for the record sales can partly be found in the fact that people fear prices will only become more expensive towards the summer, so they book as early as possible.
Ryanair is Europe’s largest airline, the largest low-cost carrier and one of the world’s largest airlines by the number of international passengers carried. Ryanair’s largest hub is at London Stansted Airport, with the second largest base at Dublin Airport.