Ryanair adds 1.6 million seats over Christmas in response to demand

Ryanair is expanding its Christmas flying schedule with additional 1.6 million seats
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Ryanair announced it is “bringing customers some early festival cheer” by adding more than 1.6 million extra seats across its 660 routes between December 15 and January 8, 2023.

“Ryanair is delighted to announce an early Christmas present for our customers with the addition of 1.6 million seats for Dec 23 and Jan 24 in response to strong Christmas demand,” said Jade Kirwan, head of communications for the low-cost carrier.

Kirwan said Ryanair is “delighted” passengers are booking with the airline, which means travelers are confident the airline will “get them home to their loved ones safely, on time and at fares that won’t break the Secret Santa budget, as we have been doing for the past 38 years now”.

To celebrate the launch, the low-cost carrier also announced a sale for flights during the same period, with “cracker fares” starting at €29,99 ($32,16).

In December 2022, Ryanair carried a total of 11.5 million passengers, a 21% increase compared to 9.5 million travelers during the same month in 2021. The average load factor also grew by 11%, increasing from 81% in December 2021 to an average of 92% in December 2022.

When Ryanair announced its Q1 FY24 results in July 2023, Ryanair Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael O’Leary said the company still had “very limited Q3 visibility and zero Q4 visibility”, which was normal at that time of the year.

However, O’Leary pointed out that while in 2022 the airline enjoyed “a bumper Christmas and New Year travel period”, passengers might “require some fare stimulation to fill our 25% greater seat capacity this winter” compared to pre-COVID levels, as mortgage rates and inflation continue to chip away at consumer confidence.

“If this transpires, then Ryanair’s load active/yield passive strategy, coupled with our industry leading cost base, will uniquely position our Group to capture further market share, albeit at lower fares this winter,” O’Leary added.

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