Should society be questioning the ethics or wisdom of dirt cheap, or “free” flights by Ryanair etc?

The low cost of air travel encourages extra demand, which not only increases people’s carbon footprint, but also raises the amount that Brits spend abroad – known as the tourism deficit (the difference between the amount UK residents spend on trips abroad, over what residents abroad spend on trips to the UK). The deficit was £16.9 billion in 2015.  Air travel is so cheap because it is not charged VAT and there is no fuel duty. The only tax is Air Passenger Duty, that is £13 for any return fight to a European country, and free for children. Fearing loss of profit due to Brexit and the lower value of the £ against other currencies, Ryanair is making ever more crazy offers of cut prices. To try to keep passenger numbers up, he hopes to offer “free” flights in due course. The catch would be that Ryanair would want to get a share in retail income (shopping and car parking at airports), so there would be profit per passenger. This dotty system, of charging so little for something that emits so much carbon, and sucks money out of the UK, is something society should take a long, hard look at.  Is it really desirable, looking towards the longer term, that flying is so dirt cheap? And that the aviation sector is not included in either the UK’s carbon targets, nor has a proper global mechanism to deal with rapidly rising CO2 from the sector?


“Ryanair could introduce free flights in five years’ time”


Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the company, said on Monday that he was looking at plans to cut fares completely in a bid to increase passenger numbers.

He claimed airports should share revenue from retail outlets with companies which attract the biggest footfall.

Ryanair already offers seats for as little as 1p but Mr O’Leary said the company is making a loss after paying £13 air passenger duty for every seat sold in Britain.

Speaking to the Airport Operators Association, he said that Ryanair wanted to abolish fares in five to ten years to boost its passenger numbers to 200 million.

He admitted that huge airports like Heathrow would not be able to share retail profits, but suggested the company could target smaller sites, The Times reported.

He said: “I have this vision that in the next five to ten years that the air fares on Ryanair will be free, in which case the flights will be full and we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues.

“I’m doing seat sales this week at £4 and I’m paying the £13 APD; I’m paying you to fly with me. Instead of promotional tickets being £9 or £5, they will be free.”


Ryanair and easyJet have around the same numbers of air passengers in the UK – around 50 – 60 million per year.  It is not easy to find the number of Ryanair passengers from the UK, as it is not a UK airline and figures tend to be for all passengers.  The total number of air passengers at UK airports in 2015 was about 250 million.

Ryanair launches US election flight sale offering 1 million seats for €9.99
According to Ryanair, nobody ‘Trumps’ their fares

By LIZ CONNOR (Standard)
9 November 2016

Low cost airline Ryanair has launched a sale to coincide with the US election result, offering flights for just €9.99.

The company launched the bargain flight bonanza with a series of tongue-in-cheek Tweets, designed to mock both US President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Tweets sent out by the airline with the hashtag #VoteLowFares poked fun at Trump with the message “Down with high fare, down with high walls.”

Another advert for the cut-price flights included the gag “even she wouldn’t delete our email offers” – in reference to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, which became the subject of an FBI investigation.

The Irish airline later tweeted ‘No one Trumps Ryanair fares!’, in reference to the news that Donald Trump had achieved a shock defeat of rival Clinton to become the next President of the United States.

Included in Ryanair’s flash flight sale are cheap tickets to destinations in Ireland and Spain – including Alicante, Cork and Shannon.

But if you want get involved in the deal, you’ll have to be speedy – as the sale, which is currently available to book on the Ryanair website, ends at midnight tonight.


Ryanair profits to be hit by fall in pound.  Budget airline expects full-year profit growth of 7%, against earlier expectations of 12%

By Angela Monaghan (Guardian)
Tuesday 18 October 2016

Ryanair has said its full-year profits will be lower than expected because of the sharp drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote in June.

The budget airline said an 18% fall in sterling since the referendum was the main reason it was downgrading its expectations for full-year profit growth, from 12% to to 7%.

Profits are now expected to be between €1.3bn (£900m) and €1.35bn. The Dublin-based company warned, however, that the outlook for profits would worsen in the event of a further drop in the pound or weakness in ticket prices.

Fares in the second half of the year are expected to fall by 13-15%, more than the 10-12% previously expected.

Michael O’Leary, the chief executive, said lower fares would be partially offset by cost savings, with costs expected to fall by 3% in the full year, more than the 1% given in previous guidance.

“The recent sharp decline in sterling will weaken second-half yields by slightly more than we had originally expected,” he said.

O’Leary is one of several senior business figures to criticise the government in recent weeks for a lack of clarity on its Brexit strategy.

“Whether the UK leaves the EU or stays, I couldn’t care less. The issue for us is whether we stay in the single market,” he said in September.