Travellers returning to Ryanair
Dublin – Arabstoday
Irish no-frills airline Ryanair raised net profit slightly in its last financial year but said on Monday that traffic was set to rise this year.
Ryanair, based in Dublin, said that group profit after tax
edged up 1.5 percent to €569.3m ($731.2m) in the 12 months to the end of March compared with net profit of €560.4m in 2011-12.
Ryanair expects the company's traffic to grow by 3.0 percent to 81.5 million passengers in 2013-14, it added in an earnings statement.
Passenger numbers grew by 5.0 percent to 79.3 million in the last financial year, while revenue increased by 13 percent to €4.88bn.
"We expect modest yield and traffic growth for the full year to be partly offset by higher oil and...costs resulting in another year of profit growth," Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said in the statement.
Ryanair had closed its last financial year by announcing in March an order for 175 Boeing 737-800 planes, in a major fleet expansion three weeks after the European Union blocked the airline's attempted takeover of Irish rival Aer Lingus.
The massive order was put at $15.6bn (€12.1bn) at Boeing catalogue prices, one of the US aerospace giant's largest orders ever, though discounts could bring the total value to much less than that.
"Ryanair's successful growth, allied to deep short-haul restructuring among many high fare competitors, gives us confidence that we can grow... to over 100 million passengers per annum over the next five years," O'Leary said on Monday.
"Our recent order for 175 firm Boeing 737-800 aircraft represents an enormous opportunity for shareholders as Ryanair returns to higher rates of traffic growth.
"We are pleased to have reached acceptable pricing with Boeing, and the controlled delivery programme from Autumn 2014 to end of 2018 will provide the opportunity to expand Ryanair's fleet to over 400 aircraft and our traffic," O'Leary added.
But in a blow for Ryanair, in February the European Commission barred a third attempt by low-cost airline pioneer to take over Aer Lingus, citing concerns that passengers would lose out badly.
"We have no doubt that this was yet another politically motivated decision by Europe's competition authority and it is inexplicable in the context of its stated policy of promoting European airline consolidation," O'Leary said in Monday's statement as he strongly repeated his dissatisfaction with the outcome.