Ryanair Group airlines expect to deliver more rapid traffic growth over the next five years and has raised growth forecasts from 33% to 50%.
Ryanair’s annual pre-Covid traffic of 149 million passengers is expected to grow to more than 225 million by March 2026 – 25 million higher than the previous target of 200 million.
The accelerated expansion will be fuelled by the delivery of 210 Boeing 737 Max aircraft over the period “subject to no adverse Covid developments, and vaccinations remaining at 90%-plus across Europe”.
The revised projection came ahead of the European budget airline giant’s annual meeting in Dublin today.
Ryanair Holdings chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The performance of the B737 ‘gamechanger’ aircraft this summer has exceeded our expectations.
“Operational reliability, fuel consumption, and lower CO2 emissions have so far exceeded guidelines with very positive passenger and crew feedback to these new, more fuel efficient, quieter aircraft.”
He added: “With these new deliveries, Ryanair will open ten new bases across Europe this year as we work with airport partners to help them recover traffic and jobs post-Covid, and take up slot opportunities that are being vacated by competitor airlines who have collapsed or significantly reduced their fleet sizes.”
Ryanair expects to create more than 5,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers over the next five years.
The group opened a €50 million aviation training centre in Dublin this week, with two further training centres planned for Spain and Poland.
O’Leary said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented blow to Europe’s aviation and tourism industries.
“Only Ryanair has used this crisis to place significantly increased aircraft orders, to expand our airport partnerships, and to secure lower operating costs so that we can pass on even lower fares to our guests, so that together with our airport partners, we can recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher than expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next five years.”