Ryanair's balance sheet soars due to rising fares
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."