Ryanair sees profits rise to €1.45bn for financial 2017

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Ryanair has booked a solid increase in full-year profits, but warned that rising oil prices could take the gloss off its performance over the next 12 months.

Ryanair has since started work on union recognition for the first time in its history - agreeing deals with pilots' unions in the United Kingdom and Italy - and has agreed new five-year pay deals with pilots and cabin crew. "And at group structure, again, model on the IAG structure would enable us to build some scale to participate in those kind of processes".

The downbeat tone was in stark contrast to Europe's second-biggest low-priced airline, easyJet, which said last week that it anticipated profits would rise more than 30 percent this year as it benefits from robust travel demand and the collapse of some smaller rivals.

Despite the disruption caused by its pilot crisis last autumn, City analysts believe that the budget airline will post statutory pre-tax profits of 1.6 billion euro (£1.4billion) for the 12 months to March 31, a 9.4 per cent increase on the corresponding period previous year. And with costs set to rise and pricing due to be weak, profitability could be squeezed to some degree over the medium term.

The dispute with pilots is still creating financial headwinds for the airline because it was forced to recognize and negotiate with staff unions for the first time in the company's history.

Ryanair is now 90-percent hedged for FY19 at around US$58 per barrel compared to the spot price of almost US$80 a barrel.

"Being unionised means we will have occasional strikes", O'Leary said. "Don't be surprised if it beats its more cautious targets later in the year". The discount giant has purchased a 24.9 percent stake which it wants to increase to 75 percent, subject to European Union antitrust approval.

Ryanair-passenger-forecast-2018
Ryanair expects to see 200m passengers by FY24

"Unit costs this year will rise 9% due to higher staff and oil prices which will, when adjusted for volume growth, add more than €400m to our fuel bill".

Mr O'Leary said that Ryanair planned to restrict non-EU shareholders' voting rights in order to prepare the airline for a hard Brexit in March 2019.

"If you look at their load factor, which is the percentage of the aircraft that is filled, they are filling 95% of every aircraft on average".

Last year, mistakes with pilots' rotas led to about 20,000 flights being cancelled.

The net result will be a fall in profits to between 1.25 billion euros and 1.35 billion euros, Ryanair said.

Given the earlier timing of Easter this year, it anticipates a 5% fare decline in the first quarter but a 4% rise in the second quarter.

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