First half profits at Ryanair climb 7% despite ‘difficult’ market conditions

Ryanair has signalled a recovery in fortunes today after a series of promotions helped bookings surg

Ryanair has signalled a recovery in fortunes today after a series of promotions helped bookings surge at the start of this year. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Ryanair said today that its profits jumped 7% in the first half of the year, and increased its forecast for the number of passengers it expects to carry by 2024.

The Dubline-based low-cost carrier, which is the largest operator at Stansted Airport, said half-year profits after tax reached 1.168bn euros (£1.042bn) to the end of September, up from 1.088bn euros (£971m) over the same period last year.

The profits boost came despite the airline enduring turbulent market conditions, triggered by air traffic control (ATC) strikes, a string of overseas terror attacks and the economic fallout of the Brexit vote.

But despite its Brexit concerns and “caution” over the outlook for the business, Ryanair raised its long-term traffic forecasts by more than 10% to 200m passengers.

The firm said it believes it can deliver profitable growth across Europe by “controlling costs, lowering airfares, and maximising load factors”.

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Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We are pleased to report this 7% increase in first-half profits, which was a creditable performance in difficult market conditions due to repeated ATC strikes, terror events, and the adverse economic impact of the Brexit vote in June which saw sterling weaken materially over the peak summer period.

“We responded by accelerating our Always Getting Better (AGB) customer experience programme, and using our lower costs base to stimulate stronger forward bookings with lower fares.”

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