First half profits soar at Ryanair

Ryanair has reported a 37% jump in first half profits.

Ryanair has reported a 37% jump in first half profits. - Credit: PA

Budget airline Ryanair today posted a 37% increase in first half profits to 1.08billion euro (£770million) after a “very rare” series of favourable events.

The Dubline-based carrier, a major operator out of Stansted Airport, saw passenger numbers increase 13% to 58million in the six months to the end of September, carrying more than 10m passengers in July alone.

The airline also revised its full-year target upwards by 1m to 105m, notably up on last year’s 90.5m total.

But the airline said its raised guidance depended on the strength of its bookings in the fourth quarter, which it admits it has “almost zero visibility on”.

It added that its load factor (how full each flight is) lifted by 4% to 93% over the first half.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary put the strong first half performance down to a combination of miserable weather, fuel savings and a strong pound.

“We are pleased to report this strong set of results,” he said. “We have enjoyed a bumper summer due to a very rare confluence of favourable events including stronger sterling, adverse weather in northern Europe, reasonably flat industry capacity and further savings on our unhedged fuel.”

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He also pointed to the success of it Always Getting Better customer experience improvement programme, which he said helped drive stronger forward bookings and boost traffic growth.