BUDGET airline Ryanair is pinning its hopes on an end to the summer heatwave after passenger numbers were hit by the good weather amid plunging first-quarter profits.
Analysts had expected the 21 per cent fall in the Irish carrier’s bottom-line figure, which was blamed on soaring fuel costs, the timing of Easter and a French air traffic control strike.
But chief executive Michael O’Leary said that the performance in recent weeks has also been slightly weaker, which is believed to be a result of the heatwave in northern Europe.
He said while full-year profits were expected to remain as expected, this was on the basis that the weakness did not continue.
O’Leary said Ryanair’s performance in the second quarter was still expected to improve, despite comparisons with last year’s buoyant Olympic period.
He said the airline’s outlook remained cautious due to austerity measures, high fuel costs and tax policies, but full-year traffic was expected to grow 3 per cent to 81.5 million. The airline’s full-year profit after tax guidance remains at between €570 million (£492m) and €600m.
The airline’s first quarter saw passenger numbers up 3 per cent to 23.2 million and revenue rising 5 per cent to €1.34 billion – partly as a result of reserved seating, priority boarding and higher credit card charges.
• FastJet, the budget African carrier launched by EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, will this week unveil its first international route, from Johannesburg in South Africa to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The service is due to begin in September.