Budget airline Ryanair today reported a loss for the third quarter as tough competition saw its average fares fall by 9 per cent.
The carrier posted a loss of €35.2 million (£29m) for the three months to December, from an €18.1m profit a year earlier.
Ryanair issued its first profit warnings in a decade last year on weak winter bookings, but chief executive Michael O’Leary said competition was easing and bookings were rising.
The airline flew 6 per cent more passengers in the final three months of 2013 compared with a year earlier, but revenues fell slightly to €964m due to the reduction in ticket prices.
In a bid to improve its reputation, Ryanair has been reducing baggage fees and allowing passengers a second carry-on bag, and recently reintroduced allocated seating on all flights.
It said: “The uptake of reserved and allocated seats has grown significantly in the last weeks of January, and it now appears that sales of reserved/allocated seats will exceed the revenue loss from cutting airport and bag fees.”