Ryanair has reported a €15 million profit for the third quarter of the financial year, a turnaround on the €10 million loss reported for the same period last year.
However, the low-cost airline revealed passenger numbers fell two per cent to 16.7 million for the three months ended December 31st.
Revenue at the carrier increased 13 per cent to €844 million over the period, largely due to fare increases of 17 per cent.
Excluding fuel, unit costs declined by one per cent.
Announcing results, Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “We are pleased to report a quarter three profit of €15 million, which is ahead of expectations due to benign weather conditions in December - compared to widespread snow closures and de-icing in Dec 2010.”
Stansted-based Ryanair will open five new bases in March/April 2012; in Baden Baden (Germany), Billund (Denmark), Palma (Spain), Paphos (Cyprus) and Wroclaw (Poland), added O’Leary.
“We expect to launch at least one more base for summer 2012,” he revealed.
Recession in the European Union, higher oil prices, the unfolding failure of the package tour operator model, significant competitor fare increases and capacity cuts, has created enormous growth opportunities for Ryanair, as large and smaller airports across Europe compete aggressively to win growth, the carrier said in a statement.
Attacking an industry bugbear, Ryanair called on the UK government to scrap its Air Passenger Duty “tourist tax”, which the carrier claimed is damaging tourism.
A similar visitor tax in Holland was scrapped after just one year when it was proven that its detrimental impact on Dutch tourism was far greater than the revenue it generated.