Strong growth for Ryanair despite terrorism atrocities

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary.
Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Budget airline Ryanair saw passenger numbers rise by a fifth during its third quarter as it cut prices to boost bookings in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

The carrier’s decision to drive down fares in the face of weakening demand following the atrocities in Brussels and Paris sparked a 20% rise in traffic to 24.9million in the three months to December 31.

Profits after tax more than doubled in the period, up from 49m euros (£37m) in 2014 to 103m euros (£78m) while revenues rose 17% to 1.3billion euros (£1bn).

The Dublin-based airline, which is the largest operator out of Stansted, said average fares fell by 1% to 40 euros (£30) in the three months to December 31, and it has pencilled a reduction of 6% for the fourth quarter.

Ryanair said it would deliver cheaper air fares by capitalising on record-low oil prices and passing down the savings made on its fuels hedges to consumers.

The trading update came as the company also announced an 800million euro (£609m) share buy-back programme.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said a strong first half to the third quarter had been knocked back by “weaker pricing and bookings immediately after the terrorist events in Paris and Brussels.”

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He added: “We reacted to this softness by running price promotions and discounted fares to stimulate double digit traffic growth.”