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Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizz Air: Low cost giants to see another bumper summer

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Europe’s low cost airlines are expecting another bumper summer for travel with consumers set to flock abroad despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop.

Pent-up demand for travel following years of Covid restrictions saw most airlines post record results last summer. Analysts were concerned that consumers would now tighten their belts into 2024 amid economic troubles and persistent inflation.

However, Easyjet, Ryanair and Wizz Air have all forecast demand would stay strong into the warmer months.

Johan Lundgren, Easyjet’s chief executive, said: “We see positive booking momentum for summer 2024 with travel remaining a priority for consumers,” after losses at the orange-liveried carrier narrowed year-on-year.”

Analysts at Bank of America said summer booking momentum had “picked up” significantly for the airline, which is now targeting filling 42m seats in the first half of 2024, up 11 per cent year-on-year.

According to figures from aviation analytics firm the OAG, reported by the Financial Times, European airlines will have a record 817.5m seats available between April and October.

Ryanair is forecasting a 9 per cent rise in full-year traffic to 183.5m, despite delivery delays at Boeing and conflict in the Middle East.

Wizz Air boss József Váradi said recent trading had been “positive,” with load factors at similar levels to last year and revenues up. The firm’s stock surged on Friday after it unveiled bumper January passenger figures.

January is often seen as a bellwether for how demand will play out over the year and is one of the busiest months for forward-looking holiday bookings.

Trends seen among the low-cost carriers are also being reflected in the wider industry. Jet2 recently announced thousands of extra seats would be going on sale to Sardinia, Sicily and Verona next summer in response to rising demand.

Package holiday provider On the Beach said in December it would bring back its dividend in 2024, with forward bookings at record levels.

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