Ryanair back in profit

Ryanair has announced full-year profits of €319 million after tax, as it recovers from its first-ever loss last year.

The no-frills airline said passenger numbers were up 14% to 67 million in the year to March, while airfares fell 13%. Ancillary sales grew 11% to €664 million, slightly slower than traffic growth, and amounted to 22% of total revenue.

“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,” the airline said in a statement.

Ryanair estimated the cost of the ash crisis, not covered in the results, was about €50 million. The airline said the closures, which caused the cancellation of 9,400 Ryanair flights, were unnecessary.

It 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.

In terms of outlook, Ryanair expects to increase traffic by 11% in 2011 and increase airfares by 5% to 10%.

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