Ryanair reports strong financial figures despite pilot turmoil

Ryanair reports strong financial figures despite pilot turmoil

Ryanair has reported an 11 per cent increase in half one profit to €1.29 billion.

Traffic grew 11 per cent to 72 million passengers over the period thanks to a strong Easter and a five per cent reduction in airfares.

The positive figures bring to end a torrid few weeks for the carrier, which has been forced to cancel thousands of flights and slow expansion after failing to address a shortage of standby pilots.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “These strong half one results reinforce the robust nature of Ryanair’s low fare, pan-European growth model even during a period which suffered a material failure in our pilot rostering function in early September.

“Prior to this event, we were on track to deliver strong half one results during which we opened three new bases and 80 new routes.”

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Ancillary Revenue grew 14 per cent at Ryanair.

Customer spend rose two per cent as more customers chose optional services such as reserved seats, priority boarding and car hire.

Half one unit costs fell five per cent, excluding fuel it was flat (but would have fallen two per cent without the EU261 provision).

Ryanair also pointed out the underlying trend towards consolidation among European airlines continues.

Monarch (which carried five million passengers a year) went bankrupt in September, followed by Air Berlin (29 million passengers) in October and Alitalia (24 million) remains in bankruptcy.

“There are other financially troubled EU airlines who will, we believe, follow them,” Ryanair said in a statement.

“We are responding to these opportunities by continuing to grow in Germany where Lufthansa’s purchase of airberlin gives them an anti-competitive 95 per cent share of the large German domestic market.

“We will add more aircraft to our UKP bases for summer 2018 to take up any slack created by Monarch’s collapse, and we continue to grow strongly in Italy where we are poised to be the main beneficiary of the inevitable contraction in Alitalia’s short haul services.

“These trends, particularly where they allow high fare airlines like Lufthansa, BA and Air France to acquire local competitors, while constraining capacity and raising prices, can only be good for Ryanair’s yield and traffic growth.”