Belfast Telegraph

Fare hikes drive Ryanair profits

Ryanair has revealed a 12% hike in average fares and soaring ancillary revenues as it posted a double-digit rise in half-year profits at the low-cost airline.

The news came just a day after the airline operated its last flight out of George Best Belfast City airport after the company withdrew over a runway extension row.

The carrier reported a 17% increase in underlying net profits to €451.9m (£393.4m) for the six months to September 30 and upped its guidance for its full-year performance.

Ryanair's half-year figures were boosted by a 10% lift in passenger numbers and higher fares, but it said it also saw a 22% leap in ancillary revenues, such as baggage fees, priority boarding and onboard drinks.

Ryanair said forward booking revenues for the winter were better than expected, which it forecast would see net profits for the full year of between €380m (£330m) and €400m (£348m).

It had originally indicated a figure of between €350m (£305m) and €375m (£326m).

The half-year surge in fares and passenger numbers helped Ryanair offset a 44% increase in its fuel bill - although this was also partly due to Ryanair operating more and longer flights.

Average fares rose to €44 (£38), according to Ryanair.

The carrier said its bill to cover the cost of the volcanic ash cloud disruption earlier this year was now likely to be less than first feared, at €32m (£28m) against €50m (£44m). Half-year adjusted profits exclude the hit for the ash crisis, which when taken into account leave net profits at €424m (£370m).