Ryanair earns BBB rating from S&P as it awaits new aircraft

Airline announces expansion of winter services from Dublin to more than 1,000 a week

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Standard & Poors (S&P) has paved the way for Ryanair to tap capital markets for the cash to pay for the 175 new craft that it has ordered from Boeing by giving it an investment grade rating.

The news came shortly before the airline announced an expansion of its winter services from Dublin Airport that will see flights to and from there increase to more than 1,000 from 900 a week.

S&P, which ranks companies according to their ability to meet their liabilities, said today that it has assigned a BBB+ rating to Ryanair, meaning that the agency believes the airline has enough capacity to meet its financial committments , but is subject to adverse economic conditions.

Its report states that Ryanair will continue to be profitable and maintain the 13 per cent return on captial that it has delivered over the last six years.

It also points out that the company has a strong market position, high operating efficiency and has a presence throughout Europe, giving it more flexibility than its peers to cash in on more profitable markets.

Ryanair began seeking a credit rating in recent weeks to give it the option of borrowing the money required to pay for the 175 new craft, worth around €12 billion, that Boeing will begin delivering from September.

It plans to fund the purchase through a mix of its own money and debt raised from a number of sources. The company welcomed S&P’s announcement, saying that the BBB+ rating is the highest awarded any airline in the world.

Separately, Ryanair announced today that it is adding seven new routes, including Cologne, to its Dublin Airport winter schedule this year, while it is increasing the frequency of flights on 21 existing routes. It will fly 10 times a-day to London Gatwick this winter.

Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said that forward bookings for its Dublin routes had been very positive so far this year. He also indicated that the airline is planning further changes to its website, which it revamped late last year, and to the mobile app that it launched last October.

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