Covid ‘will lead to a cheap holidays bonanza’: Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary says only way for tourism firms to recover is to slash prices to get people travelling again
- Michael O’Leary said the only way his airline can recover is by slashing fares
- As Ryanair resumed flights, he said lower fares would be funded by cutting pay
- O’Leary said up to 3,000 will be laid off if they do not accept temporary pay cuts
The coronavirus crisis will herald an era of ultra-cheap European holidays, says the boss of Ryanair.
Michael O’Leary said the only way his airline can recover is by slashing fares for the next year or two to encourage air travel.
As Ryanair resumed flights, O’Leary said lower fares would be funded by cutting pay for its 18,000 staff.
He said up to 3,000 will be laid off if they do not accept temporary cuts of between 5pc for the lowest-paid cabin crew and 20pc for the top captains.
Pilots’ union Balpa said 96pc of its Ryanair members had accepted the temporary pay cuts to ‘save jobs’.
Michael O’Leary said the only way his airline can recover is by slashing fares for the next year or two to encourage air travel
Rejecting concerns that airlines will raise prices to survive, O’Leary said the opposite was true among those offering short flights across Europe.
The chief executive told the Mail: ‘The only way we can recover is by setting much lower prices for 12 to 24 months. That’s why we need to cut costs and cut pay.’
As long as there is ‘no massive second wave of the virus’, he predicted ultra-cheap fares and bargains being offered by resorts, which will ensure passenger numbers will return to pre-crisis levels by next summer.
Several airlines, including British Airways and Easyjet, have announced plans to cut thousands of jobs, warning it will be several years before passenger numbers return to normal levels.
But O’Leary said: ‘The Spanish hoteliers and the Portuguese resorts are offering historically low prices for families in July and August.
They want to get people back moving again. So travel will never have been cheaper on short-haul around Europe.’
O’Leary claimed there was pent-up demand for travel and that huge numbers of people are simply ignoring the ‘idiotic’ 14-day quarantine imposed on travelling to the UK
Airlines have launched a massive summer sale with Ryanair offering one-way flights, before extra charges, for £9.99 to Vienna, £20.99 to Malaga in Spain and £33.99 to Biarritz in France.
Desperate tour operators have been offering record 70pc discounts for trips to France, Spain, Italy and Greece.
O’Leary claimed there was pent-up demand for travel and that huge numbers of people are simply ignoring the ‘idiotic’ 14-day quarantine imposed on travelling to the UK.
He said strict safety protocols would not put people off, and that its flights so far were 70pc full.
‘Hard-pressed families in Manchester or Liverpool or Glasgow have been locked up with their kids for weeks,’ he said.
‘Are we seriously suggesting they’re going to go to Blackpool in the rain for their summer holiday as opposed to the Algarve or Malaga? They are so conditioned to going to the Mediterranean resorts. I don’t see that changing.’
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