Ryanair Posts Increase in Profits, Warns of Airfare Pressure

Ryanair Holdings posted a rise of 43% in its net profit for its most recently ended fiscal year, when its number of overall passengers topped the 100 million mark for just the first time.

However, the airline warned that passenger worries over terrorism could push dropping airfares even down more.

The biggest budget carrier in Europe by traffic announced Monday that is net profit increased to just over €1.24 billion equal to $1.39 billion for the year that ended at the end of March, compared to last year of £867 million.

The profit increase reflected in part the lower costs of fuel following the plunge in oil prices. Ryanair benefited as well from planes flying fuller and focusing on passengers that were willing to pay for any extras such as their fast track airport security clearance.

Revenue increased to just over €6.53 billion compared to last year’s €5.65 billion on a jump of 18% in passenger counts, with the airline, based in Ireland, carrying just over 106.3 million passengers during the year, a new record for Ryanair.

The fleet was packed, with a load factor, a metric of seats sold, increased to 93%.

Following the big growth in profit, Ryanair forecast a modest pace for improvement in earnings for its current financial year that started April 1. CFO Neil Sorahan said airfares were the biggest question mark for this year.

Profit should increase just 13% to just over €1.43 billion from €1.38 billion, said the airline based in Dublin. The earnings guidance by the carrier at the beginning of its fiscal year is usually quite conservative and often times adjust up in the following months.

Michael O’Leary the CEO at Ryanair said that airfares during the peak period of the summer will remain flat or even just down compared to last year. He added that with the lower airfares, the forward bookings for the summer were strong.

The other leading European airlines have warned recently that the Brussels terror attack during March has taken a toll on their bookings, with prices of tickets expected to become weaker amidst intense competition.

Some European carriers including British Airways have cut back on growth of capacity and sped up efforts in cost cutting to compensate for ticket prices falling.

The crash of EgyptAir for reasons that remain undetermined last Thursday that was en route to Cairo from Paris could hurt bookings going forward, said airline experts.

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