Ryanair profits plunge amid lower fares and higher fuel and staff costs
The low-cost airline said the UK was one of its weakest markets, because of Brexit uncertainty.
Ryanair has reported a 21% fall in profits to 243 million euros (£219 million) in the first quarter of this financial year.
The low-cost airline cited lower fares and higher costs for fuel and staff as reasons for the decline during the three months to the end of June.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The two weakest markets were Germany, where Lufthansa was allowed to buy Air Berlin and is selling this excess capacity at below cost prices, and the UK, where Brexit concerns weigh negatively on consumer confidence and spending.”
The airline said its average fares fell 6% year on year during the quarter, but this was partially offset by 14% higher ancillary revenue, such as baggage, food and other extras.
The drop in fares is expected to continue during the summer season, and across the whole financial year will be “towards the lower end” of minus 2% to plus 1%, it added.
Earlier this month, the firm slashed its expected growth rate for summer 2020 from 7% to 3% amid a delay in deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
It was due to have 58 of the planes for that season, but now expects to receive just 30.
The airline believes deliveries will begin in “January at the earliest”, Ryanair said on Monday.
Mr O’Leary added that the airline will “continue to negotiate attractive growth deals as airports compete to attract Ryanair’s reliable traffic growth”.
Passenger numbers are expected to grow by 7% to more than 152 million for the year to March 31 2020, which is slightly less than the 153 million previously forecast due to the Max delays.
The forecast for profits after tax for the year remains unchanged at between 750 and 950 million euros (£675 million-£850 million).