Published on : Saturday, September 18, 2021
Ryanair has aimed to fly an extra 25 million passengers a year by 2026, as the airline is trying to make the best of the industry’s slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Irish airline said it hoped to carry 225 million passengers annually by March 2026, 25 million higher than its previous target of 200 million, as it prepared for its annual meeting in Dublin.
Airlines have been among the sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic amid extended restrictions on international travel, even as domestic economies including the UK have opened up and striving towards the recovery. Earlier this month, Ryanair said that it expected to exceed pre-Covid passenger numbers by 2022.
The airline has also planned to expand rapidly while taking up airport slots vacated by collapsed or struggling rivals. The expansion will also mean an increase in staff. The carrier recently announced that it would hire 5,000 people, including pilots, cabin crew and engineers, across Europe over the five-year period.
It will also take delivery of 210 Boeing 737 Max aircraft over the next five years. It even calls the 737 Max a “gamechanger” because of increased reliability and lower fuel consumption. The 737 Max only returned to service at the end of 2020 after being grounded for almost two years after a fault caused two crashes, killing 346 people.
Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive, Ryanair said in a statement that highlighted lower carbon emissions from the newer planes. However, the company has not set a target to reduce overall emissions, meaning its carbon footprint could rise significantly as it expands.
He mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented blow to Europe’s aviation and tourism industries. He stated that Ryanair has used the crisis to place significantly increased aircraft orders, to expand airport partnerships and to secure lower operating costs so that it can pass on even lower fares to guests, so that together with airport partners, the company can recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher than expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next five years.