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Gloucestershire Business News

Profits soar to new high at budget airline despite recession

Ryanair has bounced back to a near-record £1.2bn profit last year and expects to better that in 2023, fuelled by a summer boom in which the budget airline will carry a record number of passengers, according to the Guardian.

Europe's largest airline flew back to profit in the year ending March 2023, after reporting a €355m loss in the previous year.

The company said it was cautiously optimistic that it would increase profits again this year, which could result in it topping the record €1.45bn it made in 2018.

Ryanair expects to carry 186 million people this year, backed by its largest-ever summer schedule covering almost 2,500 routes and 3,000 daily flights, with a long-term ambition to fly 300 million a year by 2034.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive said: "To date, summer 2023 demand is robust and peak summer 2023 fares are trending ahead of last year. First-quarter fares, which benefited from a strong Easter in April - and a very weak previous year comparable due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine - will be significantly higher than the first quarter of 2022-23."

Neil Sorahan, the Ryanair chief financial officer, said that while he expected the overall European aviation industry to still not fully recover this year, as it was running at 90% to 95% pre-Covid capacity levels, Ryanair was operating at 125% of pre-pandemic levels and growing.

"We don't have a lot of visibility into the second half of this year, as we normally would, but the first quarter and Easter have been strong and fares into the second quarter are trending well. We are hopeful."

The Guardian also stated that rising costs and increased capacity will add €1bn to Ryanair's fuel costs this year - which Sorahan said equated to about €5 a passenger that it must find in costs - but the company said it was "cautiously optimistic" that revenue would grow enough this year to cover that and increase profits.

Olly Anibaba, an analyst at Third Bridge said: "Despite inflation weighing on consumer spending, European consumers are still opting for leisure travel over other forms of entertainment. The real test for Ryanair will be the off-peak periods, especially in winter. To fill up their planes, Ryanair might have to offer discounts."

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