Ryanair reports 8% fall in full-year profit; US services to commence in 2019
By Finfacts Team
May 19, 2014 - 7:03 AM

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Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low fares airline, today announced full year net profit after tax of €522.8m, down 8% from €569.3m last year. Traffic grew 3% to 81.7m passengers. Revenue per passenger was flat, as strong ancillary revenue growth offset a 4% drop in average fares.  Excluding fuel, sector length adjusted unit costs fell by 3%. Separately, Reuters reports that Ryanair will commence services to the United States in 2019.

During the year Ryanair changed course to improve its very poor market reputation by removing irritations to customers on hand luggage, improving the online experience and introducing some flexibility on booking rules.

Michael O'Leary, CEO, called the drop in profit "disappointing," but said in a statement that actions taken since September drove traffic growth in the second half and helped to fill planes.

Ryanair said profit should recover this year to €580m to €620m, though visibility for the winter months is poor when it usually incurs losses. Fares are expected to rise 4% in the current year.

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Reuters reports that Ryanair plans to offer flights to the United States by 2019 and will lure long-distance passengers with very cheap prices, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported, citing chief executive Michael O'Leary.

"We will start with this as soon as we get the planes," O'Leary told the Sunday newspaper in an interview.

New aircraft are currently too expensive and out of stock due to heavy orders by Gulf airlines such as Emirates, he said.

Tickets for US -bound flights could be sold at a net price of €10, excluding extra costs for luggage, food and entertainment, O'Leary said, insisting that the offer was not a marketing stunt to grab public attention.

"We have a finished business plan (for long-distance routes) in the drawer," he said.

Reuters says competition among European discount carriers is intensifying, with Norwegian Air offering long-distance flights and EasyJet adding planes. Ryanair said last month it was planning to expand at Cologne airport.

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