Ryanair profit soars on higher air fares

File photo dated 2/9/2022 of a Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS (EI-DWX) passenger airliner comes in to land at Stansted Airport in Essex. The budget airline has revealed it swung to an annual profit of 1.43 billion euros (£1.24 billion) after a bounce back in travel demand and higher air fares. The Dublin-based carrier's profit haul for the 12 months to March 31 compares with a net loss of 355 million euros (£309 million) the previous year and comes after a 74% surge in passengers to 168.6 million. Issue date: Monday May 22, 2023.
Ryanair has bounced back to a near-record €1.4bn profit last year and expects to better that in 2023. Photo: PA/Alamy

Ryanair (RYA.IR) posted a near record profit of €1.43bn (£1.24/$1.57bn) after a bounce back in travel demand and higher fares.

Air fares jumped 50% on levels seen a year earlier, to an average of €41 (£36) and are set to increase ahead of the summer.

“To date, summer 2023 demand is robust and peak summer 2023 fares are trending ahead of last year,” chief executive officer Michael O'Leary said.

“First-quarter fares, which benefited from a strong Easter in April — and a very weak previous year comparable due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — will be significantly higher than the first quarter of 2022-23,” he added.

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Ryanair noted that it endured a “disappointing” first quarter when traffic was “badly impacted” by the war in Ukraine. However, strong travel demand through the remainder of the year saw traffic rise 74%, with higher fares.

Looking forward, the low-cost carrier said that forward bookings and air fares are strong and it is urging all customers to book early to avoid rising “close-in” prices.

Ryanair carried a record 168 million passengers last year and said it expects to carry 186 million this year, backed by its largest ever summer schedule covering almost 2,500 routes and 3,000 daily flights.

It has a long-term ambition to fly 300 million a year by 2034 — more than any airline has managed.

"The large backlog of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) aircraft deliveries is likely to constrain capacity growth in Europe for at least four more years which confers a considerable growth premium on Ryanair's remaining 110 (Boeing) B737 Gamechangers deliveries over the next three summers," O'Leary said.

"Our widening unit cost advantage over all competitors, our fuel hedging, strong balance sheet and our very low-cost aircraft order book, as well as our proven operational resilience, creates enormous growth opportunities for Ryanair over the coming years."

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The Dublin-based carrier’s profit haul for the 12 months to 31 March compares with a net loss of €355m the previous year.

The Dublin-based low-cost airline also said that despite “ongoing uncertainty” over a range of factors, it would achieve “modest” year-on-year profit growth for the year to March 2024.

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