Ryanair’s boss is “really optimistic” about the European summer season, predicting that consumers are “going to demand to travel” as vaccination rates rise in the coming months.
Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair DAC, told the online World Aviation Festival there would be “a critical point” when holidaymakers want to travel around Europe as more people receive their Covid-19 vaccines.
“It’s going to happen very suddenly. There’s no doubt that once death rates go down and the pressure comes off hospitals, people will want action fairly quickly,” predicted Wilson.
“I’m really optimistic about Europe. Once we get into May and June, the pressure is going to build. People are going to demand to travel, but it will be later than last year. Europeans are going to get to the beaches one way or another.”
Wilson added there would be an “extended summer as people find a way of enjoying the sunshine”, particularly to destinations such as the Greek islands.
Ryanair is planning to run about 75% of its summer 2019 capacity for the coming season and would be “moving aircraft around” to take advantage of destinations opening up to tourists over the summer.
Wilson also called for any proposed vaccine passports or certificates to be “simple and honour-based”.
“You have to put in something that works and flows, and everybody knows what they are doing,” he urged.
He added that Ryanair was planning to add more airport bases for winter 2021 and would be “driving a hard bargain” in its negotiations with airports.
“Capacity in Europe is going to reduce over the next number of years – we’ve still not had the effect of Thomas Cook coming out [of the market],” said Wilson.