Ryanair CEO Criticizes German Airline Fees, Argues High Costs Hinder Industry Recovery



Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary criticizes Germany’s air travel policies, stating that high fees and taxes are causing the country to fall behind its European counterparts in terms of air traffic recovery post-COVID. O’Leary suggests that these policies are hindering growth, as Germany operates at approximately 75% of pre-COVID traffic volumes, while other countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece exceed 120%. He proposes that to double Ryanair’s traffic in Germany from 17 to 34 million passengers over seven years, the government needs to lower fees, scrap aviation taxes, and reduce airport fees. However, he indicates that Ryanair will focus growth in other European countries due to more favorable conditions.

  • Germany’s recovery of air traffic is lagging at 75% of pre-COVID volumes, while countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece are over 120%.
  • Ryanair proposes that with reduced fees and scrapped aviation taxes, they could double their German traffic from 17 to 34 million passengers in seven years.
  • O’Leary criticizes Germany for increasing air travel-related taxes and fees, claiming it stifles growth and tourism.
  • Ryanair will divert growth to other European countries with lower costs and fewer taxes, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Poland.
  • O’Leary mentions Eastern Europe’s attractiveness for expansion due to lower costs and growing economies.
  • Ryanair’s CEO discusses the challenges posed by the war in Ukraine and expresses a desire to return to Ukrainian skies when possible.
  • Despite having a 40% market share in Italy, O’Leary denies that Ryanair holds a dominant position, attributing growth to competitors’ decline.
  • O’Leary criticizes online travel agencies (OTAs) for inflating Ryanair’s fares and ancillary fees.
  • Ryanair faces delivery delays from Boeing, which may impact their growth plans, although they continue to work closely with manufacturers.
  • O’Leary warns that continued tax increases by governments could result in persistently high airfares.

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