First quarter profits boost for budget airline Ryanair

A Ryanair aircraft atStansted Airport.

A Ryanair aircraft atStansted Airport. - Credit: Archant

Budget airline Ryanair today reported a 25% jump in earnings for the first quarter of its new financial year.

Dublin-based Ryanair, which is the largest operator out of Stansted Airport, said it carried 28million passengers in the three months to June 30, a 16% increase on the same period a year earlier.

Revenue was 10% higher at 1.653m euros (£1.167m) and profit after tax was 25% ahead at 245m euros (£173m).

Ryanair said the increased passenger total reflected a six-point improvement in its load factor (an industry measure of how full an operator’s planes are) to 92%.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said: “Our mix of low fares, best on time performance (91% in Q1) and enhanced customer experience under our Always Getting Better (AGB) programme, continues to attract millions of new customers.

“At the same time our focus on cost (Q1 unit costs fell 7%) enables us to pass on lower fares to customers. Q1 average fare fell 4% to just €45, due to the timing of Easter, weaker April yields and lower checked bag penetration as more families and business customers enjoy discounts on their luggage or benefit from our free second carry-on bag policy.”

Ryanair added that it was the success of its AGB strategy which had prompted its decision earlier this month to accept International Airlines Group’s offer for its 29.8% stage in Aer Lingus.

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Its original plan for Aer Lingus was to use it as a mid-prices brand to offer competition at primary airports, which this had been overtaken by the ABG programme under which Ryanair had now entered a number of primary airports in its own right.

“As the Ryanair brand develops and continues to grow strongly, the original rationale for acquiring Aer Lingus no longer exists,” it added. “If the IAG offer is successful, then we would expect to receive these proceeds in mid/late September and the board will consider our use of the proceeds around the time of our AGM.”

However, Ryanair said it would continue to oppose the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s “baseless” ruling in 2013 that Ryanair should have to sell its stake in Aer Lingus, and the CMA’s recent rejection of a request by Ryanair to review that decision.

Ryanair said the divestment decision “was based on the invented theory that no other airline would bid for Aer Lingus while Ryanair was a minority shareholder”. It added: “This has been hopelessly exposed by IAG’s current offer for Aer Lingus, even while Ryanair was its largest single shareholder.”