Ryanair sees profits rise as passenger numbers reach new heights

Ryanair sees profits rise as passenger numbers reach new heights

Ryanair has reported full year profits of €1,242 million, a 43 per cent increase on the prior year.

Traffic grew 18 per cent to 106 million passengers, as load factor jumped five points to 93 per cent.

The average fare at the low-cost carrier dropped one per cent to €46, as unit costs fell six per cent, excluding fuel.

The figures exclude the exceptional accounting gain of €317.5 million on sale of Ryanair’s Aer Lingus shareholding to International Airlines Group.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Financial 2016 was a year in which we delivered significant traffic and profit growth in all four quarters (despite an average oil price of $90bbl as a consequence of hedges put in place in 2014) as our AGB service programme is attracting millions of new customers to our lowest fare/lowest cost model.

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During the course of the year Ryanair took delivery of 41 new B737 aircraft, facilitating the expansion of services into more primary airports and routes.

O’Leary added: “We launched seven new bases in Belfast, Berlin, Corfu, Gothenburg, Ibiza, Milan (Malpensa) and Santiago over the last 12 months.

“We opened more than 100 new routes as we became the first airline ever to carry over 100 million international customers in a calendar year.”

The success of Ryanair’s Always Getting Better programme is reflected in the record traffic and load factors.

O’Leary continued: “Over the past two years we have seen load factors improve from 83 per cent to 93 per cent as our traffic has grown from 80 million to over 106 million per annum.

“We improved schedules and customer choice as we grew in more primary airports.

“We’ve enhanced the in-flight experience with slim line seats, more leg room and Boeing Sky Interiors on our new aircraft, and our cabin crew helped design and deliver new uniforms.”