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Ryanair expects to carry more passengers this fall than in summer, raising its target for the next three months as it forecasts “a very strong recovery”.

The low-cost short-haul airline, Europe’s largest carrier, said it would carry around 10.5 million passengers per month until November, around 5% more than its target announced there at one month.

Ahead of a press briefing to launch new routes, chief executive Michael O’Leary told Reuters he expected passenger numbers to return as the airline downsized its flight capacity to typical pre-pandemic levels for October.

“As long as there is no unfavorable development of Covid, things are set for a very strong recovery,” he said.

O’Leary said Ryanair likely surpassed its 10.5 million passenger target for August.

“During the winter, prices will continue to rise, but they will still be below (pre-) Covid,” he said. “We don’t expect prices to return to pre-Covid levels until summer 2022.”

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In July, the airline announced it would carry 100 million passengers in the fiscal year through March 2022 after bookings increased with the relaxation of travel restrictions after vaccination programs in Europe, although that she continued to predict losses.

He said he would need to recruit 2,000 pilots over the next three years to rebuild after the pandemic, and began taking delivery of his first Boeing 737 Max, which O’Leary called a “game changer. “for its improved energy efficiency. and costs per seat.

O’Leary said the airline is well positioned to take advantage of the crisis, which he says will hit weaker rivals the hardest.

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