May 16. Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary thinks the UK brought its travel staffing issues on itself with an “inflexible” labor market since the country left the EU in 2020.
While the discounter itself does not face staffing issues, O’Leary said during the airline’s 2022 fiscal year-earnings call on May 16 that there is a shortfall in airport and catering employees across the country. Especially tough spots where the airline flies include Glasgow, Bristol, and Manchester.
The UK exited the EU in January 2020 following a vote in 2016. That ended the relatively free movement of labor between countries in the bloc and the UK. The situation did not become acute for the travel industry until restrictions were eased and demand came roaring back this year. British Airways, EasyJet, and the operator of London’s Heathrow Airport have all felt the pinch and taken measures to alleviate issues this summer following overcrowded airports and cancelled flights in April.
The situation in the UK comes as demand looks robust for the summer. Ryanair maintains plans to fly roughly 15 percent more capacity during the peak travel period than it did in 2019. In addition, O’Leary said pricing is a “modest single-digit [percentage] above where it was pre-Covid” for the September quarter. Pricing in the June quarter is slightly below levels seen three years ago.
Source: Airline Weekly