Ryanair to cut fares in bid to secure 5m more passengers this winter

Ryanair is aiming to fly an additinoal 5.3m passengers this winter.

Ryanair is aiming to fly an additinoal 5.3m passengers this winter. - Credit: PA

Budget airline Ryanair has vowed to cut average its fares by up to 10% as part of a bid to fly an additional five million passengers over the winter period.

The Dublin-based carrier, which is the biggest operator at Stansted Airport, believes there are “many opportunities” open to it, such as competing more vigorously at primary airports and in attracting business traffic which tends to peak during the winter period.

Its “ambitious” new forecasts for the six months to March 31 include a plan to fly an additional 2.2m passengers compared with its previous estimate, leading to a total rise of 16% or 5.3m customers on a year earlier.

It now expects annual profits of up to 770million euros (£602m), a rise of 18% on its previous guidance. Profits for the summer half-year were 32% higher at 795m euros (£621.6m), the company added.

The airline’s recent drive to improve its image is showing signs of paying off, having softened its stance on baggage charges and booking conditions and introduced allocated seating and a new business service.

Ryanair said average fares would fall by between 3% and 5% in the current quarter before an aggressive promotional drive which would cut fares by 6% to 10% in the new year. As a result, the airline expects to carry 89m customers in the year to March 31, a rise of 9% on a year earlier and its second such upgrade since September.