Ryanair expects the passenger numbers to grow to more than 225 million by March 2026, which is significantly above the past target of 200 million. The airline increased its growth projection for the coming five years to 50% from 33% previously, in the wake of opportunities created by the new Gamechanger aircraft.
The Irish airline commented in its AGM statement that it now anticipates passenger numbers to grow to more than 225 million. Ryanair is taking delivery of 210 B737 Gamechanger aircraft in the coming five years that is anticipated to lower the costs and reduce emissions.
Michael O’Leary, the airline’s chief executive, stated:
“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 mentioned that Ryanair will open an additional ten bases across Europe in 2021 and take up slot opportunities that are currently being vacated by different competitor airlines who have reduced their fleet sizes or collapsed entirely. The airline now expects to create at least 5,000 new jobs for cabin crew, pilots, and engineers in the coming five years. 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 5 years.”
In that context, UBS said that in case the profitability per passenger is maintained, it expects to see some upward pressure develop to forecasts.
“Indeed a c11% upgrade to passenger numbers vs our passenger forecasts for 2026 at similar levels of profitability would all else being equal also increase our net income from c€2.3bn to c€2.5bn. There is the potential for improved profitability per passenger given the gearing.”
O’Leary expects that more passengers will travel to different European destinations next summer.