Ryanair Boosts UK Economy with £14bn Annual Contribution

Close-up of a Ryanair Boeing 737
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Ryanair, Europe’s leading low-cost airline, unveiled an independent report by York Aviation highlighting its significant impact on the UK economy.

The report reveals Ryanair’s annual contribution of £14 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) and its support for a staggering 98,000 jobs across the UK.

Key Findings of the York Aviation Report

  • £14 Billion Annual Contribution: Ryanair injects a substantial £14 billion into the UK economy every year.
  • 98,000 UK Jobs Supported: The airline’s operations directly and indirectly support nearly 100,000 jobs throughout the UK.
  • Dominant UK Presence: In 2023, Ryanair carried over 53 million passengers on routes to and from the UK. This accounts for a significant 20% share of all UK air traffic. The airline operates across 22 UK airports, serving over 600 routes.
  • £11.5 Billion Investment: Ryanair invested a staggering $11.5 billion in its fleet of 115 UK-based aircraft.

Ryanair CEO Outlines Ambitious Growth Strategy

At the report’s launch, Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, announced further ambitious plans. He detailed the continued growth in the UK throughout the remaining years of the decade. These plans include:

22% Passenger Increase: Ryanair aims to significantly increase its UK passenger traffic by 22%. This represents and increase from 53 million to 65 million passengers annually by 2030.

Over 1,000 New Jobs: This growth translates to job creation, with Ryanair planning to generate over 1,000 new positions for UK pilots, cabin crew, and engineers by 2030.

Investing in the Future: Ryanair’s commitment to the UK extends beyond job creation. The airline plans to establish a new engineering training facility at Prestwick.

It will also base 20 new, fuel-efficient Boeing MAX-10 aircraft at UK airports, bringing the total to 135. These new aircraft deliver a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and a 50% decrease in noise pollution.

A line-up of Ryanair aircraft at sunset.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

Importance to the UK Economy

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, highlighted the critical role the airline plays in the UK’s economic well-being:

“The York Aviation Report quantifies the substantial contribution Ryanair, our employees, and our passengers make to the UK economy each year. We generate £14 billion annually in GVA, and our operations support over 98,000 jobs across the UK.”

O’Leary continued, stressing the significance of Ryanair for the UK’s island nation status. “As an island nation on Europe’s periphery, affordable air access to and from Europe is vital for UK citizens and visitors.”

“In 2023 alone, Ryanair’s European passengers contributed over £4.7 billion to the UK economy. We remain committed to bringing millions more European visitors to the UK, benefiting tourism and job creation across the country.”

Calls for Government Support for Continued Growth

While acknowledging the positive impact of the halved Air Passenger Duty (APD) on domestic flights, O’Leary emphasized the need for further government support.

“The halved APD on domestic flights allowed us to expand our UK domestic routes and bases. However, UK airports and passengers still face a significant burden with the current £13 APD tax on all tickets in 2024.”

“To continue fostering UK traffic, jobs, and tourism growth, the government should consider scrapping this unfair tax.

Additionally, reforms are needed to improve the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) system, promoting cost-efficiency and growth in air travel.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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