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Ryanair Posts Record Profit After Strong Summer

Ryanair has posted record half-year profits, driven by a strong summer holiday season.

Ryanair carried just over 95 million passengers during the six months to the end of September; marking a 143% year-on-year increase.

Net after-tax profits amounted to just over €1.37bn – a return to profitability after last year’s loss, but also Ryanair’s largest first half profit. Revenue for the first six months was up 207% at €6.62bn.

However, while the airline is relatively shielded from rising fuel costs – due to it having hedged, or forward bought fuel at more favourable prices – Ryanair said it remains cautious over growth due to continued disruption risks from Covid and the war in Ukraine.

Ryanair said its recovery for the remainder of its current financial year – which runs to the end of next March – remains “fragile” due to adverse geopolitical events and new Covid variants.

That said, forward bookings have been strong for the mid-term break and remain strong heading towards the peak Christmas travel period.

Ryanair group chief executive, Michael O’Leary said: “We hope to avoid any repeat of last year’s Omicron lockdowns which damaged last Christmas at such short notice. As is normal, at this time of year, we have almost zero visibility into Q4 which is traditionally our weakest quarter and which this year doesn’t have any Easter benefit.”

Mr O’Leary said: “Concerns about the impact of recession and rising consumer price inflation on Ryanair’s business model have been greatly exaggerated in recent months.  As the lowest cost producer in Europe, we expect to grow strongly in a recession as consumers won’t stop flying, but rather they will become more price sensitive.  Like Aldi, Lidl, Ikea and other price leaders our very strong post Covid recovery shows that price will continue to drive market share gains as we add low cost, more fuel efficient, aircraft to our fleet over the next 4 years.” 

Mr O’Leary added: “As our H1 [first half of year] traffic and market share growth shows, millions of passengers are switching to fly with Ryanair for our lower prices, our industry leading reliability and our greener, fuel-efficient aircraft. Consumer propensity to travel remains high in Europe as a result of full employment, rising wages and two years of pent-up-demand and accumulated savings while people were ‘locked up’ during Covid. 

We expect these strong fundamentals will continue to underpin robust traffic and average fare growth for the next 18-months at least, and Ryanair will be the main beneficiary of these trends so long as there are no negative developments this Winter such as Covid variants or Ukraine.

Mr O’Leary said Ryanair is cautiously optimistic of generating full-year after-tax profits of between €1bn and €1.2bn.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.
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