Ryanair records 21% jump in profit
Ryanair today posted third quarter pre-tax profits of €18.1 million, a 21 per cent increase on the same period last year, on the back of strong demand for pre-Christmas flights.
The airline said bookings from passengers in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia were particularly robust as revenues rose 15 per cent to €969 million in the three months to December 31st.
The jump in profits also came despite an €81 million increase in fuel costs.
The airline raised its profit forecast to €540 million after tax in the year to March, which would represent a 7 per cent increase on last year’s performance.
"We saw strong demand out of the UK, out of Germany and out of Scandanavia and that has gone straight to our bottom line," chief operating officer Michael Cawley said. "We are still struggling to understand it, to be honest." Average fares will grow at a slower pace in the three months to March, he said.
Next year fares will continue to rise though capacity will likely only grow by 2-3 per cent in the financial year to March 2014, he said, down from the 4 per cent rise forecast in the current year, due to the lack of new plane deliveries planned.
Ryanair opened its 51st base in Maastricht in December and will open six more from April in Eindhoven, Krakow, Zadar in Croatia, Chania in Greece and Marrakesh and Fez in Morocco.
It said significant capacity cuts by other carriers would also offer it growth opportunities across Europe.
The company added: “We expect further capacity cuts and restructurings in Europe as high fare, loss making carriers struggle to compete with Ryanair’s expansion at low prices.”
While many airlines have been hit hard by Europe's struggling economy and high fuel costs, Ryanair has fared better than most, thanks to its size and focus on low costs and low prices.
Its chief low cost rival EasyJet last week also posted strong results in the last quarter of the year, with revenue growth of 9.2 per cent.
Ryanair shares closed on Friday at €5.50, up 16 per cent since the start of the year compared to a 5 per cent increase in the broader Irish market.
Additional reporting by Reuters