Ryanair recovers to the tune of €319 million profit

The Irish airline suffered its first-ever loss last year but passengers and profits are up this year

A certain Mr. Michael O’Leary will be celebrating this week. The controversial Ryanair boss has announced full-year profits of €319 million after tax, following a not so great year in 2009.

Ryanair said passenger numbers were up 14% to 67 million in the year to March, while airfares fell 13%. In an announcement on Ryanair.com, Michael O’Leary says principal highlights of the past year include:

• Profits trebled to €319m.

• Traffic growth of 14% to 67m.

• 51 net new aircraft.

• 8 new bases Bari, Brindisi, Faro, Leeds, Oslo Rygge, Pescara, Porto, Trapani (total 42).

• 284 new routes (total 940).

• Passenger service statistics further improved (No 1 on time major airline).

“We can be proud of delivering a 200% increase in profits and traffic growth during a global recession when many of our competitors have announced losses or cutbacks,” O’Leary said. He also slammed “scandalous” charges at Dublin Airport and added that the airport’s costly new Terminal 2, due to open this November, was” unnecessary” as the airport could already cope with passenger volume.

Ryanair has estimated the cost of the ash crisis, not covered in the results, approaches the €50 million mark and stated that closures, which hit its main hub Dublin Airport badly earlier this year and caused 9,400 Ryanair flights to be cancelled, were unnecessary.

Ryanair had originally refused to pay compensation to passengers affected by the ash crisis the first time around, but eventually relented. It airline called for European Union (EU) airlines to be relieved of the ‘duty of care’ obligations when passengers are disrupted.

“The recent revisions of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres charts for ‘guesstimating’ the position of non-existent volcanic ash clouds highlights the mismanagement of these eruptions by EU governments and regulatory agencies,” it said.

Looking ahead to next year, Ryanair expects to increase traffic by 11% in 2011 and push airfares up by 5% to 10%.

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