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Ryanair net profit increases to $281 million

Staff Writer |
Ryanair Holdings stuck to its earnings target for the year after first-quarter profit rose 4%. The company posted a EUR256 million ($281 million) net profit for the April-June period, up from EUR245 million a year earlier.

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Sales were up 2% to EUR1.687 billion. Ryanair said its earnings outlook for full-year profit in the range of EUR1.375 billion to EUR1.425 billion bears risk. It now expects to carry 117 million passengers in the financial year ending March 31, up 1 million from its initial projection.

CEO Michael O'Leary said "ongoing market volatility" weakened fares on last-minute flights.

Average fares in the critical summer months, when airlines book most of their profit, should fall at least 6%, Ryanair chief financial officer Neil Sorahan said.

Ryanair entered the summer season with 75% of seats available through September sold, helping damp the impact from recent turmoil, he said. In the quarter just ended, average fares declined 10% to EUR39.92.

Winter is expected to be particular difficult for European airlines, as they slash fares to try to win customers leery about traveling. Ryanair, which stuck to its projection that fares in that slow-travel period could fall 10% to 12%, said "if there is any movement in these numbers it is likely to be toward the downside."

Pressure on prices made cutting costs crucial to delivering profit growth. Ryanair costs in the first quarter fell 9% largely thanks to a lower fuel bill.

Non-fuel costs also retreated 4%. The airline stuck to its target of cutting non-fuel costs by 1% in the current financial year.


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