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Passenger numbers fall but profits up at Ryanair in last quarter of 2011

Ryanair has raised its profit forecast following better than expected figures for the last quarter.

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary (File photo)
Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary (File photo)
Image: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

RYANAIR HAS RAISED its profit forecast following figures for the last quarter of 2011 showing that it made a profit of almost €15 million with revenue rising to €844 million, a jump of 13 per cent on the same period in 2010.

Passenger numbers fell slightly in the three months to 31 December from 17 million to 16.7 million. There was also a 17 per cent rise in the low-cost airline’s average fare rise but fewer flights were cancelled due to the milder winter.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, O’Leary played down the comparisons with the fourth quarter of 2010 when there was widespread disruption caused by the weather: “I wouldn’t get too excited about the results this morning,” he said.

The airline said the increased cost of fares was due to reduced seat capacity, longer sectors, and higher competitor fares and fuel surcharges.

However the unexpected profits were attributed to the grounding of 80 of the airline’s 270 planes over the winter period due to higher fuel costs.

A forecasted €350m increase in its fuel bill next year “poses a significant cost challenge,” O’Leary said but Ryanair stated that it now expected its full year profit will exceed previous guidance of €440m and will rise to €480m.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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