Focus on more lucrative routes boosts Ryanair

RYANAIR raised its 2011 profit forecast by 10 per cent yesterday, saying a focus on more lucrative routes was pushing up revenue per passenger and offsetting stubbornly high fuel prices.

The budget airline, headed up by outspoken boss Michael O’Leary, said it had seen virtually no impact from the global downturn in consumer confidence, but warned traffic would fall in the coming months as it grounded 80 aircraft because fuel prices made routes unprofitable.

The airline, which flew over 70m passengers last year, said it expected to make a profit of €440m (£377.6m) for its 2011 financial year, up from its previous forecast of €400m.

Yields -- the keenly watched measure showing average revenue gained per mile per passenger -- will grow at 14 per cent in the six months to March, up from 12 per cent previously forecast. The airline earned €543.5m in the six months to September, up 20 per cent, on revenues of €2.71bn.