Ryanair profits fall due to rising costs

Ryanair 737-MAX 8 Artwork K66200

Europe’s largest budget airline Ryanair announced on Monday that its profit for the fiscal year 2019 (FY2019) went down by 29 percent mainly due to declining fares and rising costs.

In a online statement, the carrier said that during the period extending from March 31, 2018 to March 31, 2019 the after-tax profit of the headquarter company, which does not include Lauda, an Austrian low-cost airline acquired by Ryanair in 2018, stood at 1.02 billion euros (1.14 billion U.S. dollars) compared with the 1.45-billion-euro profit it made in the previous fiscal year.

The sharp drop in the company’s profit was mainly due to a decline in fares and rising fuel and labor costs, said the press release.

In FY2019, Ryanair saw a 6-percent drop in its fares, which had offset the 7-percent increase in its traffic growth, it said, adding that the 19-percent increase in its ancillary growth was also set off by higher fuel prices and staff costs.

Ryanair handled a total of 139.1 million passengers in FY2019, nearly nine million people more than the 130.3 million passengers it handled in the previous fiscal year, said the press release, adding that the number of passengers handled by Ryanair in the period totaled 142 million if Lauda is included.

According to the press release, during FY2019 Ryanair’s oil bill increased by 440 million euros while its ex-fuel unit costs rose by 5 percent due to 200-million-euro higher staff costs, which included a 20-percent increase of pilot pay.

The repeated ATC (Air Traffic Control) staff shortage disruptions also cost the company an extra 50 million euros in FY2019, it said.

Nevertheless, the company claimed in the press release that “Our airport costs are 35 percent lower than our nearest competitor”.

“Ryanair has the lowest unit costs of an EU airline, and the cost gap with EU (European Union) competitors continues to widen,” it said.

Headquartered in Ireland, Ryanair provides short-haul services mainly in Europe and North Africa. At the end of FY2019 the airline boasted a fleet of 455 Boeing 737 planes and 19 A320 aircraft, according to the statement.