Ryanair accumulated $3.3 billion in revenue through add-on fees last year, a new report reveals.
The revenue figure for ancillaries such as reserved seating, hold bag charges and priority boarding was up by 18% on 2018.
This put Europe’s largest low cost carrier fifth in the top ten of global airlines for total ancillary revenue.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic impact on flights this year means that Ryanair revenue from extras is forecast to fall back by more than 50% to $1.6 billion.
The figures are disclosed in an annual report into the sector by US travel consultancy IdeaWorksCompany.
US carriers American Airlines, United, Delta and Southwest top the list for the largest proportion of ancillary revenues, with British Airways parent IAG in ninth place with almost $2 billion in 2019 – a figure projected to fall by 58% this year.
The study analysed income from 81 airlines, with Ryanair’s add-on revenues representing an average of $22.28 per passenger and accounting for 34.5% of the airline’s income.
IAG made $16.34 per passenger while EasyJet made $1.7 billion, or $18 per passenger. Budget rival Wizz Air made more than 45% of its money through extras last year at $1.4 billion.
Overall, ancillary revenue as a percentage of total airline revenue was 12.1% for 2019, which was a significant increase above the 10.7% for 2018, according to the report.
Seat location has become an important feature, as passengers want to be in the front of the cabin for a quicker exit upon arrival. Extra leg room, which provides more personal space, is also popular with consumers, the research found.
Aileen McCormack, chief commercial officer at report sponsor CarTrawler, said: “Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on the travel industry but there is also cause for optimism.
“The travel industry has work to do to regain the losses caused by the pandemic, but we have strong foundations on which we can recover and thrive. By working together we can drive recovery into the next decade.”
A Ryanair spokesperson said: “All of Ryanair’s ancillary products are optional choices for consumers and our product offering and prices are fully transparent.”
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