Ryanair logs rising annual profits

LONDON: Irish no-frills carrier Ryanair charted a course to higher profits last year, despite tough trading on the back of Britain’s shock Brexit vote, it said on Tuesday.
Net profits banked six per cent higher to 1.32 billion euros ($1.48 billion) in the group’s financial year to March 31, compared with 1.24 billion euros last time around, Ryanair said in a statement.
That was in line with the company’s forecast range of between 1.30 billion and 1.35 billion euros.
The number of passengers soared 13 per cent to a record 120 million as the company slashed fares.
“We are pleased to report a six per cent increase in (net profit) despite difficult trading conditions,” said Chief Executive Michael O’Leary.
He added that those conditions were “caused by a series of security events at European cities, a switch of charter capacity from North Africa, Turkey and Egypt to mainland Europe, and a sharp decline in sterling following the June 2016 Brexit vote”.
“We reacted to these challenges by improving our customer experience, and stimulating growth with lower fares.”
The pound’s Brexit-driven slump is reducing the amount Ryanair earns from its key British market once the currency is converted into euros, the unit of Ireland and which the Dublin-based airline uses to price its earnings.
Ryanair meanwhile warned over major disruption if Britain did not remain in the “Open Skies” agreement following its departure from the European Union.
“Lack of clarity on whether the UK will opt to remain in Europe’s open skies agreement could cause significant disruption of flights between the two regions for months after Brexit takes effect in March 2019,” the company said. — AFP