Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair's balance sheet soars due to rising fares

By Graeme Evans

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has unveiled record profits for the airline but admitted it is unlikely there will be a repeat performance this year.

The Dublin-based carrier flew 75.8m passengers in the year to March 31, an increase of 5% on a year earlier and helping it to lift net profits by 25% to €502.6m (£405m). A 30% jump in fuel costs was offset by a 16% rise in average fares, partly due to the grounding of 80 aircraft over the winter, while ancillary revenues such as in-flight sales surged 11% to €886.2m(£714.7m).

Ryanair expects passenger numbers to rise by another 5% this year but with its fuel bill increasing by another €320m (£258m) it has warned profits this year were likely to be in the range of €400m (£323m) and €440m (£355m).

Mr O'Leary said the combination of rising oil prices and EU-wide recession would continue to hurt the sector following the failures over the last year of Malev in Hungary, Spanair and Cimber Sterling in Denmark.

He added: "We expect more European failures in 2012, as higher oil prices and recession continues to expose failed airline models."