Ryanair Profits Take a 29% Hit on Falling Ticket Prices

Ryanair Boeing 737
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 | Tis Meyer

Ryanair today reported a full year profit of €1.02bn (excl. Lauda). Strong traffic growth, up 7% to 139m, was offset by a 6% decline in fares. Strong ancillary growth (+19%) was offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 costs.

Michael O’Leary said:

“As previously guided, Ryanair (excl. Lauda) reports a full year after tax profit of €1.02bn.  Short-haul capacity growth and the absence of Easter in Q4 led to a 6% fare decline, which stimulated 7% traffic growth to over 139m (142m guests incl. Lauda).  Ancillary sales performed strongly up 19% to €2.4bn, which drove total revenue growth of 6% to €7.6bn. 

“Revenues rose 6% to €7.6bn due to 7% higher traffic, a 6% cut in ave. fares to €37, while Ryanair Labs continues to stimulate ancillary sales growth with spend per guest up 11% to over €17.  Priority boarding and reserved seat services grew strongly.” 

Ryanair has the lowest unit costs of any EU airline, and the cost gap with EU competitors continues to widen.

Ex-fuel unit costs rose 5% (better than previously guided 6%) due to €200m higher staff costs (incl. 20% pilot pay increases) and €50m higher EU261 costs due to the repeated ATC staff shortage disruptions in FY19.

As weaker European airlines are sold or fail, airports are competing to attract Ryanair’s high load factor, traffic growth. Ryanair airport costs are 35% lower than its nearest competitor. During FY19 the airline’s oil bill increased by €440m. Ryanair is 90% hedged for FY20 at $709 per tonne and 35% hedged for Q1 FY21 at $654.

Ryanair has delayed the delivery of its first 5 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Winter 2019 (subject to regulatory approval by EASA). “We continue to have utmost confidence in these aircraft which have 4% more seats, are 16% more fuel efficient and generate 40% lower noise emissions,” the airline said.

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