Ryanair generates bumper profit amid post-pandemic rush and higher fares: reaction

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has swung back into the black despite a huge hike in costs over recent months.

The Irish airline said that it carried more than twice the number of passengers compared to a year ago, helping to push up revenue. This fed further down the balance sheet as pre-tax profit reached €1.4 billion (£1.2bn) in the first six months of the year, compared to a loss of €100 million just a year earlier. The airline carried a record number of passengers in the second quarter and average ticket prices were around 14 per cent higher than before the pandemic. That was enough to offset the drop in fare prices in the first three months of the year as the conflict in Ukraine pushed down ticket prices in Europe.

The latest results showed that revenue more than tripled to €6.6bn during the six months and the Dublin-headquartered group carried 95.1 million passengers, a jump of 143 per cent. However, costs also soared. The company’s operating costs rose from €2.2bn to nearly €5bn.

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Adam Vettese, analyst at social investing network eToro, said: “It has taken considerably longer than other sectors, but the airline industry looks as though it has recovered from the pandemic - particularly at the budget end of the market. Ryanair has revealed that in the six months to the end of September, both profit and passenger numbers both exceeded their pre-Covid levels due to strong post-pandemic demand for short-haul flights. Those numbers are highly encouraging for shareholders, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks. For a start, travel remains disrupted by staff shortages and the war in Ukraine, which may have a negative knock-on effect on passenger numbers.”

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Third Bridge analyst Olly Anibaba noted: “Next summer’s European passenger volumes are impossible to predict given today’s unfolding cost-of-living crisis, volatile fuel costs and labour shortages. Ryanair is in a better position to cope with these challenges than competitors like EasyJet and Wizz Air. Ryanair is the market leader in the cost-saving business model, offering more affordable price fares than competitors.”

The airline has escaped some of the chaos that has hit some of its rivals. It has bought around four-fifths of its fuel in advance at $67 a barrel, locking in lower prices earlier. Fuel prices have soared in the last year and by comparison the fuel that Ryanair is buying in advance for next year has cost it an average of $93 per barrel.

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Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Our growth is being hampered by Boeing’s inability to meet its delivery schedule in Q3, despite their previous assurances that Ryanair deliveries would be ‘prioritised’. We expect Boeing will only deliver ten or 12 of the contracted 21 [Boeing 737-8200] Gamechangers due before Christmas. Boeing assure us that they will deliver all scheduled 51 Gamechangers ahead of peak summer 2023, although there is a risk that some of these deliveries could slip. While we remain dependent on Boeing meeting their delivery commitments, especially for Christmas extras and spring mid-term, we are modestly raising our 2023 financial year traffic guidance to 168 million passengers.”

Analysts believe Ryanair is in a better position to cope with the current challenges than competitors such as EasyJet and Wizz Air. Picture: AP Photo/Martin Meissner



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