Ryanair sees profits slip as strikes take toll

Ryanair has reported profits of €1.20 billion for the first half of financial 2018, a seven per cent fall on the same period last year.

Average fares declined three per cent due to excess capacity in Europe, an earlier Easter in quarter one and repeated air traffic control strikes.

The latter caused a spike in cancellations of higher fare, weekend flights. 

Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “Our traffic, which was repeatedly impacted by the worst summer of air traffic control disruptions on record, grew six per cent at an unchanged 96 per cent load factor.”

The Irish low-cost carrier has also been hit by a wave of strikes among staff across Europe after it recognised unions for the first time in late 2017.

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“Ryanair has shown over the past ten months that we can, and will, work with unions to reach fair and reasonable agreements for our people while retaining our competitiveness and efficiency,” explained a statement to markets.

“We can also manage strikes, although we do our utmost to avoid them.

“We will continue to negotiate and conclude union agreements over this winter. 

“While we hope to finalise more union agreements in the coming months, we cannot rule out occasional industrial action, but we expect their impact to be very limited.”
Revenue stood at €4.79 for the six months to September 30th, up eight per cent on the same period last year.

Ryanair took delivery of 23 new Boeing 737s during the period.

The carrier will deploy the planes at new bases in Bordeaux, Marseille, London Southend next year, as well as increasing capacity in Luton. 

With Brexit now just months away, Ryanair said the risks of a no deal scenario were rising.

“While we hope that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 to December 2020 will be implemented (and extended), we remain concerned that the time to complete such an agreement is shortening,” added a statement.

“In the event of a hard Brexit our UK shareholders will be treated as non-EU. 

“In such an event the board will restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders (and confine them to selling shares only to EU nationals) to ensure that Ryanair remains majority owned and controlled by EU shareholders.”

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