Ryanair takes hit from Brussels terror, French strikes

GMT 09:12 2016 Wednesday ,13 April

Arab Today, arab today Ryanair takes hit from Brussels terror, French strikes

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary
Dublin - AFP

Ryanair warned Tuesday it will take a hit of up to 20 million euros on the back of deadly terror attacks in Brussels and air traffic control strikes in France.

The Irish no-frills airline forecasts a hit of between 10 million euros and 20 million euros ($11.4 million and $22.8 million) in the fourth quarter of its financial year, or three months to March 31.

"That's due to the ATC (air traffic control) strikes and the Brussels attacks," chief executive Michael O'Leary told journalists in Dublin after unveiling Ryanair's latest customer services drive.

O'Leary said the events might also continue to weigh on demand and continuing nervousness in the wake of the attacks in Belgium could affect earnings further in the current quarter.

"What is harder to gauge is what will be the impact on travel confidence after Easter, in the April-May period.

"It's too early to say if there will be a material impact. In general, the airlines will have to lower air fares after Easter because there will still be a rump of nervousness."

O'Leary was scathing of the frequency and "cynical" timing of industrial action by air traffic controllers in France during peak holiday periods which, he said, caused untold inconvenience to passengers across Europe.

"The last strike ten days ago had nothing to do with air traffic controllers at all; they just don't like the new social legislation being produced by the French government," he said.

"That's fine but don't strand everybody else across Europe," he added, reiterating his call for a ban on air traffic controller strikes.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Shane Kelly cautioned that the estimated hit from the Brussels attacks and French strikes was a small proportion of Ryanair's total annual income.

The combined "impact mentioned as result of Brussels attacks and French air traffic strikes .... represents just 1.1 percent of expected adjusted net income for 2016", Kelly told AFP.

Ryanair meanwhile unveiled its latest plan designed to almost double its passenger numbers to 180 million people over the next decade.

Rolling out the latest phase of its 'Always Getting Better' campaign in Dublin, O'Leary said the airline would seek to pass on some of the anticipated 430-million-euros of annual fuel savings with lower air fares.

"Lower oil and new aircraft will subsidise our cheaper fares for the next two or three years," he said.

The measures include launching a new fare to give extra benefits to leisure passengers, improving its mobile app and cutting prices further.

Travellers will also be able to leave feedback on their flight, which the airline said will lead to future enhancements.

The new initiatives will be implemented over the next 12 months.

The global airline sector has benefited from a collapse in oil prices in recent years, in turn slashing the cost of kerosene or jet fuel -- which is refined from crude.


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