Ryanair projects 22% rise in UK carryings by end of decade

Ryanair expects UK passenger numbers to grow by more than 10 million a year to 65 million by 2030.

The forecast rise from 53 million last year – 20% of the UK total – was outlined by chief executive Michael O’Leary as he repeated criticism of air traffic control provider Nats and increased levels of Air Passenger Duty.

He spoke out as the airline issued an independent report by York Aviation showing that Ryanair contributes £14 billion a year to UK economic growth and development, including 98,000 jobs supporting a fleet of 115 aircraft based in the UK operating 600 routes in and out of the country.

The low fares carrier expects to create more than 1,000 new jobs for UK pilots, cabin crew, and engineers by 2030 and plans to open a new engineering training facility opens at Prestwick,

Twenty new fuel efficient Boeing 737 Max 10 aircraft are due to be based at airports in the UK by the end of the decade out of a projected total of 135. 

O’Leary said: “Today’s York Aviation Report quantifies the substantial contribution made by Ryanair, our people, and our passengers each year to the UK economy, including a £14 billion annual contribution in Gross Value Added while our traffic supports over 98,000 jobs across all regions of the UK.

“From modest beginnings with our first 14 seat aircraft flying from Gatwick to Waterford in 1985, Ryanair has grown to become Europe’s largest airline.

“We plan to deliver more growth and investment in the UK over the rest of this decade, during which we expect to grow our UK traffic by 22% from 53 million in 2023 to 65 million by 2030 and create another 1,000 UK jobs across our 22 UK airports. 

“These new passengers will travel on a fleet of new Boeing 737 Max 10 aircraft, which cut fuel and CO2 emissions by 20% and reduce noise by 50%.”

He added: “As an island economy on the periphery of Europe, it is vital that Ryanair continues to deliver low-cost air access to/from Europe for our UK citizens/visitors.

“In 2023 alone, Ryanair’s European visitors spent over £4.7 billion in the UK, and we will continue to bring millions of European visitors to the UK for the benefit of UK tourism and job creation across all regions of the UK.

“While halving APD on domestic flights from April ‘23 allowed Ryanair to add more domestic routes and bases to our UK schedule, UK airports and passengers are still suffering an enormous penalty when UK APD imposes £13 tax on all UK tickets for 2024.

“Ryanair can continue to grow UK traffic, jobs, and tourism but the government must scrap this unfair and unjustified tax for all travel and instead pursue air travel growth policies to promote low-fare connectivity to/from Europe, including an urgent reform of UK Nats inefficient but expensive ATC system starting with a clean out of the incompetent leadership of Nats.”

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