Ryanair posts a profit and talks up Aer Lingus

Marion Dakers
RYANAIR chief executive Michael O’Leary said yesterday he thinks his airline’s “radical and unprecedented” concessions will ensure success in its bid for Aer Lingus.

The budget airline, which expects to hear back from the EU competition authorities in March, has offered to sell parts of Aer Lingus’ network to two buyers to help ease anti-trust concerns.

“We believe these remedies address every current Ryanair/Aer Lingus crossover route and all other competition issues raised by the Commission in its Statement of Objection,” said O’Leary.

His bullish comments came as Ryanair posted a surprise profit before tax of €19.3m (£16.6m) for the three months to the end of December and raised its full-year profit forecast by around €30m to €540m.

Revenues rose 15 per cent to €968.8m, fuelled by a 24 per cent jump in ancillary revenues such as reserved seat fees and baggage charges to €220.1m.

The surge in turnover soaked up some of Ryanair’s rising operating expenses, up 14.6 per cent to €934.2m. Most of this increase came from fuel and oil costs, which climbed 24 per cent to €414.8m.

Davy analyst Stephen Furlong said Ryanair “continues to produce the best returns in the industry”.