The boss of Ryanair has warned holidaymakers that prices are set to increase as passengers rush to holiday in Europe next summer.
Michael O’Leary said the huge demand for holidays would coincide with fewer flights, meaning a price rise for flights and also for hotels.
The travel industry has been hard hit by the Covid pandemic, with foreign holidays made more difficult by lockdowns and restrictions.
With confidence in traveling abroad slowly returning the budget airline company announced in July it was hiring 2,000 more pilots.
It said that while the captain vacancies would be filled by its current more junior staff, it will hire more lower-level employees as they move up.
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In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mr O’Leary said: “I think there will be a dramatic recovery in holiday tourism within Europe next year.
“And the reason why I think prices will be dramatically higher is that there’s less capacity.
“Take out Thomas Cook (six million seats), Flybe (eight million seats), Norwegian (nearly 24 million seats) – Alitalia’s reducing its fleet by 40 per cent. There is going to be about 20 per cent less short-haul capacity in Europe in 2022 with a dramatic recovery in demand.”
Ryanair prices will be cut this winter, to “grab market share everywhere”, Mr O’Leary said.
The firm recently announced it was launching 11 new UK flight routes for winter 2021 including popular destinations in France, Italy and Spain.
The budget airline unveiled the new routes which include flights from London airports, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol and Cardiff.
This will include four new routes from Birmingham to destinations including Bucharest, Milan Bergamo, Turin and Vilnius.
Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness, said of the new routes: “As Europe’s largest airline, we are delighted to announce 11 new Winter routes from UK cities Bournemouth, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and London for those who are looking to enjoy a sunny winter getaway or take in the sights on a city break to the likes of Barcelona, Budapest, Dublin or Milan.
“UK families / visitors can now book a well-earned winter getaway safe in the knowledge that if their plans change, they can move their travel dates with a zero-change fee up until the end of December 2021.”