Ryanair has blamed snow-related airport closures, air traffic controller strikes and higher fuel costs for third quarter losses of more than €10 million, despite passenger numbers increasing by one million over the period.
The loss compares with a €11 million loss a year earlier, whilst full-year profits are on track to come in at the top end of its forecast range of between €380m and €400m.
Airlines traditionally lose money in the third quarter which is the quietest period of the year for the industry, so Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was quick to brush off the disappointing result.
He said: “This small Q3 loss is disappointing, as we were on track to break even, but earnings were hit by a series of air traffic controllers (ATC) strikes compounded by a spate of bad weather airport closures in December.”
Passenger numbers at the Irish airline increasing by 1m to 17m in the period, and turnover rising by 22 per cent to €746m. Average fares rose 15 percent to €34, whilst ancillary revenue rose 20 percent.
He said the number of flight cancellations in the third quarter were above the 1,400 seen in the whole of the previous financial year. The fuel bill for the quarter rise by 37 percent, although he said this had been minimised by the airline’s fuel hedging strategy, and that the group was 90 percent hedged for its fourth-quarter at $750 a tonne.
O’Leary also attempted to distance the carrier from Ireland’s financial crisis, saying that his airline had little exposure to the Irish economy, and that the volume of traffic generated from Ireland had fallen to less than 10 percent of the business.