Ryanair profits up but forecasts remain cautious

23rd May 2018

Ryanair has reported record annual profits for 2017-18, it was announced this week. Net profits have risen by 10% to €1.45bn in the year to March 31, 2018, with Germany, Italy and Spain identified as the three largest growth markets.

This was despite the cancelling of thousands of flights, as detailed by The Institute of Customer Service last September, and a consequent call for compensation from Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute.

Europe’s biggest budget airline had issues over pilot rotas and union representation, but promised to improve its customer service and make the process of claiming refunds and compensation both easier and simpler.

The main reason behind the increased profits was that passenger numbers rose by 9%, to 130.3 million, in the 12 months to the end of March 2018. Although the average fare price fell 3% to €39.40, total revenue rose 8% to €7.2 billion, largely on the back of a big increase in the sale of ancillaries including ‘plus’ fares, reserved seating and priority boarding. In addition, Ryanair’s load factor – the percentage of the aircraft that is filled – is very high, at around 95% on average.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary nevertheless sounded a note of caution for the forthcoming year, declaring the outlook to be “on the pessimistic side of cautious”. Rising labour costs (as a result of agreeing new pay deals with pilots and cabin crew) and fuel costs (which are the highest they have been for over three years) may have an impact on profits over the course of the next 12 months, O’Leary warned.

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