Ryanair profit rises despite volcano losses

Ryanair, the low cost airline, yesterday announced profits of €452m (£392m) for the half year to 30 September, an increase of 17 per cent on the same period in 2009.

The profits came on the back of a 23 per cent increase in revenues to €2.2bn. The airline increased its prediction for full-year net earnings, which it now expects to be in a range of €380m to €400m compared with previous guidance of €350m to €375m.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said the results were “testimony to the robustness” of Ryanair’s model, which “continues to deliver traffic and profit growth even during a deep recession”.

He added: “We continue to gain market share across Europe. We expect this trend to continue.” Passenger numbers increased from 36.4m to 40.1m, a rise of 10 per cent.

The increases came despite the airline being forced to cancel 9,400 flights following the Icelandic volcanic ash-cloud in earlier in the year, which the firm says cost it €31.7m. Air traffic strikes in France, Belgium and Spain also led to the cancellation of 2,000 flights and delay of a further 12,000.

Ryanair’s good results follow other positive news for the sector. Last week BA announced the first profits in two years, of £156m, for the six months to the end of September.

Franco-Dutch carrier Air France-KLM raised its full-year earnings guidance last week, having bounced back from losses incurred by the volcanic ash-cloud in the first half, while Germany's Lufthansa also announced a higher-than-expected operating profit of €628m in the third quarter of 2010.

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