Cheaper flights on the way as Ryanair annual profits top the €1.3bn mark
Ryanair has reported a 6pc increase in full year net profit to €1.316bn.
The increase in profits was driven by a 13pc increase in passenger numbers, with 120 million people flying with the airline last year, according to the company’s annual returns.
Unit costs at the airline fell by 11pc, largely driving by a reduction in fuel costs.
Ryanair ceo, Michael O’Leary said that he was pleased with the profit, despite what he described as “difficult trading conditions”.
Revenue at the airline was up 2pc to €6.6bn, while the company’s net margin increased 1pc to 20pc.
Average fares at the airline, which recently announced that it would sell long haul flights with Air Europa on its website, fell 13pc to €41.
The company also confirmed that the Board has approved a further €600m share buyback, which it said would start this week and be completed by the end of October, subject to market conditions.
Net debt at the company was just over €200m at year-end.
The airline recently announced the launch of Ryanair Sun in a move to significantly boost their presence in Poland. The company said that it expects Ryanair Sun to become Poland’s number one charter airline by the summer of 2019.
The company said that it had actively campaigned for a remain vote in the UK referendum on Brexit last year, and warned that a “hard” Brexit could cause significant disruption to UK/EU flights for a period of months after March 2019 – when the UK is officially due to leave the EU.
“We have contingency plans and will adapt to changed circumstances in the best interests of our customers,” the airline said.
Ryanair said that it expects its “load factor active” policy will grow traffic 8pc to 130m in the year ahead. However the robustness of future bookings would depend on the security situation in European cities or airports.
Ryanair also said that it expects average fares to decline by 5pc to 7pc due to weaker sterling, and continuing excess capacity in Europe.
The airline confirmed that it expects its fuel bill to fall by €70m in the year ahead, savings it said it would pass on to consumers in lower air fares.
Net profit is expected to increase 8pc in the year ahead to a range of €1.40bn to €1.45bn. However the company cautioned on the risk of negative Brexit developments, or a repeat of last year’s security events at European cities, which it said could damage consumer confidence.