Stansted: Increased first-half profits for Ryanair

THE boss of budget airline Ryanair yesterday hit out at BAA’s latest challenge to a ruling that it must sell Stansted Airport.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary described BAA’s decision to seek a judicial review of the Competition Commission’s decision as “pointless”.

“These delays allow BAA Stansted to continue to charge excessive fees and generate monopoly profits, even as Stansted’s traffic declines from less than 24 million passengers in 2007 to less than 18 million in 2011,” he added.

Mr O’Leary was speaking at the Dublin-based low-cost carrier announced an increase in half-year profits but warned that its passenger numbers would fall by around 10% this month as a result a move to ground more of its planes in order to reduce losses during the winter.

Ryanair reported a profit of 544 million euro (�467.5m) for the six months to September 30, up 20% on last year’s first half, with a 37% jump in fuel costs being offset by a 13% rise in average fares.

Total revenues for the first half were up 24% at 2.7bn euro (about �2.3bn), with passenger numbers 12% ahead at 44.7m. Ryanair expects traffic to fall 4% in the second half of the year, with 500,000 fewer passengers flying this month alone due to it grounding more planes, but forecasts that the move will help it improve its full-year profit forecasts by 10% to 440m euro (�378.2m).