Ryanair sees 10% rise in profits to €1.45bn

The airline says it is continuing to plan for a hard Brexit

Ryanair sees 10% rise in profits to €1.45bn

File photo shows Ryanair planes on the runway at Dublin Airport | Image: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Irish carrier Ryanair reported a 10% increase in full year profit after tax, to €1.45bn, in the 12 months to end of March.

It said lower fares, 9% traffic growth to over 130 million passengers and a load factor of 95% all contributed.

Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said: "We are pleased to report a 10% increase in profits, with an unchanged net margin of 20%, despite a 3% cut in air fares."

He said this was "during a year of overcapacity in Europe, leading to a weaker fare environment, rising fuel prices, and the recovery from our September 2017 rostering management failure."

The airline said traffic grew 9% to over 130 million, despite grounding 25 winter aircraft.

It also took delivery of 50 B737 aircraft, bringing its total fleet to 430 units, and created 1,500 new jobs.

While over €800m was returned to shareholders via buybacks.

'Planning for a hard Brexit'

On Brexit, the airline noted: "We remain concerned at the likely impact of a hard Brexit.

"While there is a general belief that an 18 month transition agreement from March 2019 to December 2020 will be implemented and further extended, it is in the best interest of our shareholders that we continue to plan for a hard Brexit in March 2019.

"In these circumstances, it is likely that our UK shareholders will be treated as non-EU and this could potentially affect Ryanair’s licencing and flight rights.

"Accordingly, in line with our Articles, we intend to restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders in the event of a hard Brexit, so that we can ensure that Ryanair is majority owned and controlled by EU shareholders at all times to comply with our licences."

This would result in non-EU shareholders not being able to vote on shareholder resolutions.

Fuel bills and oil prices

Its results also showed the airline had become more cautious on the current financial year, with Ryanair cutting its profit guidance to between €1.25bn and €1.35bn as it prepared to book a surge in costs.

It warned they included a potential €400m rise in fuel bills as oil prices continue to climb despite it being 90% hedged.

Ryanair also pointed to rising staffing costs.

It had been forced to offer revised terms since its decision to cancel thousands of flights over the last winter schedule - blamed on a blunder over pilot rotas.

Ryanair has since started work on union recognition for the first time in its history - agreeing deals with pilots' unions in the UK and Italy.

It added it had agreed a new five year pay deal "with most of our pilots and cabin crew".