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Ryanair reports rise in full-year profit and passenger numbers despite pilots’ leave debacle

PUBLISHED: 09:01 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 22 May 2018

Ryanair aircraft at Stansted Airport. 
Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Ryanair aircraft at Stansted Airport. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

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Ryanair has followed the announcement of a solid increase in full-year profits with a warning that rising oil prices could hit its performance over the next 12 months.

The budget carrier saw post-tax profit rise 10% to 1.45 billion euros (£1.26bn) in the year to March 31, while turnover rose 8% to 7.15 billion euros (£6.25bn).

Passenger numbers were also up, jumping 9% to 130.3 million on the back of falling average air fares, which were down 3% to 39.40 euros.

The figures come despite Ryanair being forced to cancel flights after mismanaging pilots’ annual leave, in what it called a “rostering management failure”.

The September debacle, which affected 700,000 passengers, came alongside pilot strike action.

Ryanair boss 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, 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.”

However, the chief executive also struck a cautious tone over the airline’s prospects for the coming financial year, pointing to higher oil prices and Brexit.

Ryanair expects unit costs over the next year to rise by 9% following the surge in oil prices, which have risen to 80 dollars per barrel. It will add more than 400 million euros (£349m) to the group’s costs.

Staff costs will rise by almost 200 million euros (£174m).

The net result will be a fall in profits to between 1.25 billion euros and 1.35 billion euros, Ryanair said.

On Brexit, the Irish carrier again said it continues to plan for a hard Brexit in March 2019.

In that scenario, UK shareholders will be treated as non-EU and this could “potentially affect Ryanair’s licensing and flight rights”.

As a result, Ryanair intends to “restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders in the event of a hard Brexit”, in order to ensure it is majority-owned and controlled by EU shareholders at all times.

“This would result in non-EU shareholders not being able to vote on shareholder resolutions. In the meantime, we have applied for a UK AOC which we hope to receive before the end of 2018,” the firm added.

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