Ryanair has reported a 55 per cent rise in quarter one profit, to €397 million.
The result is, however, distorted by the timing of Easter in quarter one, with no holiday period in the prior year comparative.
Traffic at the low-cost carrier grew 12 per cent to 35 million, while Ryanair also delivered a record 96 per cent load factor.
Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “While quarter one average fares rose by one per cent to just over €40, this was due to a strong April (boosted by Easter) offset by adverse sterling, lower bag revenue as more customers switch to our two free carry-on bag policy.”
Ryanair delivered over €200 million to shareholders via share buybacks during the period.
O’Leary continued: “We took delivery of 14 new B737’s in quarter one, ahead of the peak summer period.
“Our new bases in Frankfurt Main (opened in March) and Naples (April) are performing well with strong advance bookings at low fares.
“The Frankfurt Main base will increase from two to seven aircraft in September.”
The UK political situation continues to unnerve airlines based in the country.
O’Leary continued “We remain concerned at the uncertainty which surrounds the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU in March ’19.
“While we continue to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU Open Skies agreement, we caution that should the UK leave, there may not be sufficient time, or goodwill on both sides, to negotiate a timely replacement bilateral which could result in a disruption of flights between the UK and Europe for a period of time from April ’19 onwards.
“We, like all airlines, seek clarity on this issue before we publish our summer 2019 schedule in the second quarter of 2018.
“If we do not have certainty about the legal basis for the operation of flights between the UK and the EU by autumn 2018, we may be forced to cancel flights and move some, or all, of our UK based aircraft to continental Europe from April ’19 onwards.
“We have contingency plans in place and will, as always, adapt to changed circumstances in the best interests of our customers and shareholders.”