Business travel is projected by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary to make a full recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The low cost airline group’s chief executive provided the most optimistic forecast on a return of corporate travel amid wider industry concerns over the timing of a rebound.

O’Leary told a Financial Times forum that he expected travel on business to return to pre-Covid levels by 2022 unless the pandemic unexpectedly worsened and vaccines did not allow people to travel freely again.

He said: “All of these predictions business travel is dead…they general always prove to be wrong.”


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O’Leary said he expected a “small decline” in travel by company executives for internal meetings, which will be lost to video conferencing.

“But there is going to be a dramatic, I think, recovery in what I would call short-haul business travel, people out there meeting suppliers, visiting suppliers they haven’t seen for a year, out there making sales calls, getting conferences back and going again.”

Less than a third of Ryanair’s passenger fly on business in normal times, with another 30% visiting friends and family and 40% on leisure trips.

O’Leary’s comments came as Iata warned that global airlines were on course to lose a worse than expected $48 billion this year, despite being an improvement on the $127 billion hit in 2020.


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