Ryanair hikes forecast as first-half profits soar
DUBLIN: Irish low-fare airline Ryanair lifted its annual earnings forecast, after revealing that first-half profits soared by almost a third, boosted by the timing of Easter and improved customer services.
Earnings after taxation profits surged 32 percent to 795 million euros ($993 million) in the six months to September 30 compared with 602 million euros a year earlier, Ryanair said in a results statement, adding the group was also lifted by its new offering for business travellers.
Sales advanced nine percent to 3.537 billion euros and traffic grew four percent to 51.3 million customers.
The Dublin-based carrier predicted that net profit for the current financial year to March 2015 was expected to be between 750 million euros and 770 million euros.
That compared with its previous guidance of between 620 million euros and 650 million euros.
The company also expects full-year traffic to grow by nine percent to 89 million passengers.
“We are pleased to report this significant increase in first-half profits,” said Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.
“While partially due to the presence of Easter in Q1 and a weak prior year comparable, we have also enjoyed a strong summer thanks to our strategy of raising forward bookings and improving our customer experience.”
Easter fell in April this year, during the first quarter of Ryanair’s financial year, rather than during March in 2013.
Earlier this year, Ryanair launched its new “Business Plus” service targeting companies wanting to cut costs, with benefits including ticket change flexibility, greater baggage allowance, priority boarding and premium seats.
In addition, the carrier is continuing to overhaul its customer services, introducing a new website and app, a free second carry-on bag, and a new service for families.