resim 635
resim 635

Flying is becoming more and more expensive. Nevertheless, low-cost airlines such as Easyjet or Ryanair manage to offer flights with bargain prices starting at 10 euros. We explain how such cheap flights come about and why this could soon come to an abrupt end.

For 12.99 euros from Nuremberg to London. The Irish airline Ryanair recently tried to attract customers with this tempting offer. The airline’s offers have lured almost one in three Germans and turned them into customers of low-cost airlines. But how can it be that the flights are so cheap?

The most well-known budget airline is Ryanair and its sales strategy is simple: always be cheaper than everyone else. A documentary by “Galileo” takes a closer look at the airline. The airline saves money in detail and consistently. In the past, a large part of its income came from additional payments, extra baggage allowances and as many paid additional services as possible. But now guests are conditioned to this and know where the price traps are lurking. Thanks to the smooth check-in processes, which are largely thanks to the app, the airline can save a lot on on-site staff.

If you take a closer look at the planes themselves, you’ll notice that the budget airline’s aircraft models all look the same. This is also a major cost-cutting measure. The more you order, the bigger the discount from the aircraft manufacturer – and if all models are the same, mechanics only need to be familiar with one model for maintenance or repairs. Ryanair ordered a record number of 180 Boeing 737 800s at once, probably getting a good deal compared to the competition. The model has a simple interior and, on average, newer turbines, which also use less kerosene, which also saves money.

One of Ryanair’s most important cost-saving tricks is to keep the aircraft at the airport as short as possible, which is why the airline does not offer its own connecting flights. The longer the stay, the more expensive the fee. On average, there are just 25 minutes between two flights.

To make this work, the plane has a staircase at the front that extends and another at the back. This means that passengers can get out and back in at the same time at the front and back – this saves time. The flight crew, who are trained to be time efficient, take care of the cleaning in between. To make this as easy as possible, the seats have pockets so that as little rubbish as possible is left in the plane.

But these are not the only cost-cutting measures that directly affect Ryanair staff: crew and pilots have to pay their own insurance and anyone who is absent gets no money. In an interview with “Spiegel”, a flight attendant reports on poor working conditions and pay. According to the Ver.di union, most flight attendants are between 18 and 30 years old and come from economically troubled crisis countries in southern or eastern Europe.

Despite the extremely effective cost-saving methods that have made cheap flights possible in the past, flight prices are rising again. After the pandemic and the resulting increased demand, high inflation and energy costs, flight prices have risen enormously. According to a comparison by HolidayCheck, international flights were around 25 percent more expensive in the first half of the year compared to the previous year, and flights within Europe even rose by around 32 percent.

In the autumn, prices started to fall again and were once again incredibly cheap. This continued until recently, but since May, passengers have been paying more to airlines due to the so-called air traffic tax.

This will make it difficult for Ryanair in particular to continue offering low prices in Germany. In an interview with the “Frankfurter Rundschau”, Eddie Wilson, one of Ryanair’s managing directors, criticizes German airports: they are simply too expensive. Wilson says that during the pandemic, the government did not help regional airports, but kept the major airports operating.

This is particularly bad because Ryanair often prefers smaller airports with cheaper prices. At the same time, the government had to rescue Lufthansa. The consequence: Lufthansa has grounded more than 100 aircraft and concentrated its capacity on Frankfurt and Munich. Airports in Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Hamburg have not yet recovered from the effects of the pandemic. There are fewer airlines and fewer aircraft there, and therefore fewer seats. This is why prices are rising.

Von Lara Feser

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The original of this article “Ryanair lures passengers with cheap flights – documentary reveals how this is possible” comes from nordbayern.