Monday 10 December 2018

Ryanair warns on 'negative PR' as profits top €106m in three months

Airline to return €750m to shareholders

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary Photo: Bloomberg
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Ryanair has warned investors to expect "negative PR" as it finalises union discussions.

"While union recognition may add some complexity to our business and may cause short-term disruptions and negative PR it will not alter our cost leadership, or change our plan to grow to 200 million traffic per annum by March 2024," Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said.

During the three months to 31 December the airline reported a 12pc increase in profit to €106m, while revenue grew to €1.4bn, a 4pc increase year-on-year.

Traffic at the airline grew to 30.4 million in the three month period, a 6pc increase year-on-year, as average airfares fell by 4pc to €32 per customer.

Unit costs fell 1pc during the period, however, excluding fuel costs, then costs rose by 3pc at the airline due to what Ryanair said was higher staff costs, and costs arising from the September rostering failure and the airline’s decision to cancel flights in September and October.

Ryanair went on to say that it expects staff costs to rise by an additional €45m this year, as it rolls out pay increases of up to 20pc and raise its crewing ratios.

"Staff costs accounted for 10pc of total revenue last year and we will not allow our industry leading productivity to decline," Mr O’Leary said.

The company also used the update to announce that it will return €750m to shareholders through a share buyback programme.

Looking to the final three months of its financial year, the airline said that it was maintaining its full year guidance in a range of €1.4bn to €1.5bn.

"This guidance depends heavily on the absence of union disruptions, unforeseen security events and close-in Easter bookings," Mr O’Leary said.

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