Ryanair announces rise in profits
Low-cost airline Ryanair has boosted annual profits by 13% but warned that the recession across much of Europe will dampen growth this year.
The Dublin-based company, which operates on more than 1,600 routes, carried 79.3 million passengers in the year to March 31, an increase of 5% on a year earlier as revenues improved 13% to 4.8 billion euro.
Post-tax profits rose to 569 million euro and the airline is hopeful of another rise this year, albeit at a slower rate of growth as economic conditions put pressure on average fares across the industry.
Ryanair expects traffic to grow by another two million passengers to 81.5 million in the current year, helped by this summer's addition of more than 200 routes and seven new bases, including at Eindhoven, Krakow and Marrakech.
It said costs will continue to rise, with higher oil prices again the culprit after its fuel bill increased by 290 million euro in the last financial year. Fuel now represents 45% of all the airline's costs.
Ryanair's average fares increased by 6% in the year to March, although this was outpaced by a 20% jump in revenues from additional services such as reserved seating to one billion euro - representing 22% of all sales in the year.
With Ryanair hoping to carry more than 100 million passengers a year by the end of 2018, it recently announced plans for the delivery of 175 new Boeing aircraft.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair is now uniquely positioned to offer many of Europe's airports sustained traffic growth in return for low cost, efficient facilities.
"I am confident that in time this new order will enable Ryanair to extend its traffic leadership over Europe's airlines, and generate further returns for our shareholders."