Airline says passenger traffic in period rose 24pc to 38.4 million
RYANAIR made a €211m profit after tax in the three months to the end of December, boosted by strong demand in the period.
The performance compared to a €96m loss in the corresponding period in the previous financial year, when it was weighed down by the impact of the Omicron variant of the Covid virus.
Ryanair had flagged in recent weeks that it had experienced strong demand over the Christmas period and previously upgraded its profit forecast for the current financial year.
Releasing third-quarter results this morning, the carrier said that its passenger traffic in the period rose 24pc to 38.4 million and was 7pc higher compared to the corresponding period in its 2020 financial year.
Third-quarter fares rose 14pc compared to pre-Covid levels, it said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent this morning, chief financial officer Neil Sorahan said that last summer and into the autumn, Ryanair had grabbed market share in Ireland as Aer Lingus was slower to ramp up its services following the pandemic.
He said Ryanair accounted for 70pc of passenger traffic at Dublin Airport at one stage during last summer.
“We continue to grow at Dublin, we’ve got Cork lined up as a base, Knock, Shannon and down in Kerry as well, so we’ve got a fairly big book across the island of Ireland and there’s a fair bit of inward flow as well,” he said.
Ryanair’s revenue from scheduled services in the third quarter was up 85pc at €1.45bn. Total revenue for the quarter was 57pc higher at €2.31bn as ancillary revenue delivered a “solid performance”.
Mr Sorahan said that passengers will be paying more for to travel in the summer.
“We’ve had very strong bookings over the month of January, particularly for Easter and summer – we’re not having to stimulate fares as much as we typically do,” he said. “So my expectation is that fares will continue to rise into the summer.”
Operating cost at the carrier rose 36pc to €2.15bn, spurred by higher fuel costs, crew pay restoration and traffic growth. Fuel costs were 52pc higher in the period, at €900m. Non-fuel costs were 26pc higher.
“With Asian tourists now returning and a strong US dollar encouraging Americans to explore Europe, we’re seeing robust demand for Easter and summer 2023 flights,” according to Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary.
He said Ryanair secured “strong market share gains” in key EU markets during the third quarter. The airline was operating 112pc of its pre-Covid capacity during the first nine months of its 2023 financial year, which ends in March.
The most notable gains, he said, were achieved in Italy, where its market share rose from 26pc to 40pc; Poland, where it went from 27pc to 38pc; Ireland, from 49pc to 58pc; and Spain, where its share went from 21pc to 23pc.
Mr O’Leary said that Ryanair has “reasonable visibility” for the remainder of its financial year, with passenger traffic for the 12 months to the end of March expected to be 168 million.
It has already flagged that it expects to make a loss in the final quarter of its financial year because Easter does not fall in March.
Ryanair expects to make a profit after tax of between €1.32bn and €1.42bn in the current financial year.
“This guidance remains heavily dependent upon avoiding adverse events in Q4, such as Covid and/or the war in Ukraine,” according to Mr O’Leary.