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Coronavirus: Ryanair to slash fares by half in flight price war

Lily Canter
·2-min read
Ryanair is preparing to slash fares this summer. Credit: Getty.
Ryanair is preparing to slash fares this summer. Photo: Getty

Budget airline Ryanair (RYAAY) has announced plans to slash fares in half to lure passengers from rivals.

Boss Michael O'Leary told The Mail on Sunday he was prepared to operate at a loss over the next year to recover bookings lost during the pandemic.

The chief executive has declared a price war by launching a "pile them high, sell them cheap" sale including flight routes left empty by other airlines.

The aggressive recovery plan is a bold attempt to attract nervous customers after 99% of flights were grounded in March.

Around 1,000 Ryanair flights per day will resume on 1 July, some 40% of its usual capacity.

The price "dump" is aimed at families hoping for a European getaway this summer.

O'Leary said he aims to negotiate with airports and aerospace giant Boeing to secure big savings on landing fees and orders for new planes.

READ MORE: Coronavirus, dire data, geopolitical unrest: Markets brace for turbulence

If successful, the sale will limit the airline's losses to a few hundred million euros.

Irish multi-millionaire O'Leary, told The Mail of Sunday: "We will dump prices to get people moving again. Once we start flying in July, we will sell at whatever price we can to fill as many of those seats as we can."

Last July the average Ryanair fare was £54 ($66.65) to £63 ($77.76) one way with the airline carrying 14 million passengers.

O'Leary said his firm would be "lucky" to carry five million passengers this July and the average fare will be £22 to £27.

Ryanair will fly customers without social distancing on planes and instead passengers and crew will have to wear face masks.

The company, which expects to make a loss of £180m between April and June, has furloughed 80% of its 18,000 staff and received a £600m government backed loan. But it is still set to make 3,000 workers redundant from July and will be asking pilots and cabin crew to accept pay cuts.

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