(Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc said ticket prices in the peak European travel season may be flat to modestly higher, with the carrier having to discount fares in the three months through June to spur bookings.

The Irish airline said Monday that with visibility limited, it was too early to be able to provide guidance for its financial year that began April 2024. Still, Ryanair said that demand is positive with European short-haul travel capacity constrained. 

“Recent pricing is softer than we expected,” said Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary on a call with analysts. “I can’t really explain why other than there’s a little consumer resistance out there, and most airlines are engaged in price promotion through April, May and June.”

Airlines in Europe expected fares to surge this summer as aircraft manufacturers struggle to deliver their large backlogs and issues with Pratt & Whitney engines ground hundreds of Airbus SE A320neo jets. But with low consumer confidence and high interest rates, Ryanair said it is instead having to discount fares to stimulate demand.

Ryanair shares were down 1% at 11:19 a.m. in Dublin. The stock has declined 4.9% this year. 

The carrier also announced a €700 million ($762 million) share buyback, after reporting profit after tax for 2024 rose 34% to €1.92 billion. Passenger numbers in the 12 months rose to 184 million, 23% higher than pre-Covid levels.

Rival EasyJet Plc said last week that it was still too early to determine fares as only 39% of its peak summer seating had so far been sold. O’Leary said that Ryanair was less than 50% booked for the period meaning that pricing “could go either way.”

Ryanair said it will be short 23 new Boeing Co. 737 Max jets this summer, and warned deliveries could slip further. The airline is pleased with Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s new head of commercial aircraft, and her team in Seattle, Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

The airline has struggled to get all of its higher-density Max 200 jets as Boeing faces intense scrutiny from regulators, lawmakers and customers after an airborne 737 Max suffered a structural failure in January. Those delays forced Ryanair to cut its annual passenger forecast and flight frequencies across its network. 

“There’s always the risk that something could happen in the factory and that could slow things down,” he said. “We have to have an abundance of caution having had a lot of delays to date.”

Hungarian rival Wizz Air Holdings Plc is next to report results on Thursday.

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