‘Never a better time’ to book a winter break – Ryanair

There will “never be a better time” to book a winter break, according to the boss of Ryanair.

Michael O’Leary said air fares will be “much lower” than before the coronavirus pandemic while demand recovers.

He told reporters at a press conference in central London: “There has never been a better time to go away on winter breaks, (visit) Christmas markets, city breaks, than there will be this winter because there’s going to be lots of capacity at very cheap prices.”

Mr O’Leary said the airline has seen a “very dramatic recovery in traffic” over the summer.

It expects annual passenger numbers to reach “close to 100 million” this year compared with 149 million before the virus crisis, and exceed pre-pandemic levels next summer.

Ryanair announced that it will operate 14 new routes from London airports this winter.

From Stansted it will serve Helsinki and Tampere in Finland; Oradea in Romania; Stockholm, Sweden; Trapani and Treviso in Italy; and Zagreb, Croatia.

The locations which will be served from Luton are Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria in Spain’s Canary Islands; Grenoble, France; Naples and Turin in Italy; and Shannon, Ireland.

A new link to Malaga in Spain will open at Gatwick.

Ryanair said the announcement will create more than 500 jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers at its London airports.

Mr O’Leary said the airline is “committed to rebuilding London’s tourism industry, jobs and connectivity as we grow across Europe and recover air travel to pre-Covid levels”.

He urged the Government to abolish the “stupid” requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals to take PCR tests.

“I would strongly call for the scrapping of any traffic light systems and move to a much more simplified system,” he said.

“If you’re fully vaccinated there should be no restrictions, if you’re not fully vaccinated you should have a negative PCR prior to arriving.”