Advertisers to take-off with Ryanair's planes
Ryanair's 300 planes look set to fly around emblazoned with huge adverts after the budget carrier said it had seen an "unbelievable reaction" from firms desperate to slap their brands on its fuselages.
A decade ago the Irish airline sold the entire length of its aircraft for ads, but is now offering companies advertising on a portion of the front and back of its jets, finance boss Howard Millar explained.
"It's had an unbelievable reaction," he added. "Our aircraft fly all over Europe and we're just negotiating with firms over rates and time periods. All kinds of companies are interested, from fast-moving consumer goods giants to telecoms companies. It'll launch as soon as possible. There's just a bit of design work to be done to get the ads ready."
Ryanair's latest revenue raising idea comes as its first quarter profit fell 21% to €78m (£67.3m), despite passenger numbers rising 3% to 23.2m. The carrier blamed the decline on the early timing of Easter, higher fuel bills and the impact of a French air traffic controllers' strike in June.
But chief executive Michael O'Leary said 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.
Mr O'Leary said Ryanair's performance in the second quarter was still expected to improve, despite comparisons with the buoyant Olympic period last year.
He said the airline's outlook remained cautious due to the recession and austerity measures, high fuel costs, and tax policies, but full-year traffic was expected to grow three per cent to 81.5m. The airline's full-year profit after tax guidance remains at between €570m (£492m) and €600m (£518m).
Mr O'Leary said the airline's seven new bases in Eindhoven, Maastricht, Krakow, Zadar, Chania, Marrakesh and Fez were performing well.
He said new routes and bases would be announced later this year to exploit cutting back by other European carriers.
He also used the announcement to criticise a Competition Commission decision which may force it to sell down its stake in rival airline Aer Lingus.