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Record profits at Ryanair after costs rise – but ticket price cuts could be on the way | Business News

Ryanair has reported another year of record profits and passenger numbers.

The average fare at the airline, which is Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, was 21% more expensive than 12 months earlier, its annual results showed.

But the company suggested a cut in ticket prices could be on the way.

Annual profits reached €1.92bn (£1.64bn), surpassing the previous record of €1.45bn (£1.26bn) made in the year ending March 2018.

Passenger numbers also outpaced previous all-time highs and are now well above pre-pandemic numbers at 184 million – a rise of 23% on the pre-COVID year of 2019.

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Ticket prices

Those passengers paid fares costing an average of 21% more than the year up to March 2023 but Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said if the company has to cut fares to have planes 94% full next April, May and June “then so be it”.

While demand is “strong” for summer flights and its summer schedule will operate over 200 new routes, the low-cost carrier said it remained “cautiously optimistic that peak summer 2024 fares will be flat to modestly ahead of last summer”.

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Boeing headwinds

The passenger increase has come despite Boeing‘s delays in delivering new planes to the airline.

Ryanair had staked a large part of its financial success on expansion through 300 new 737 MAX 10 aircraft.

But the plane manufacturer has been beset by delays amid regulatory and media scrutiny of safety at its manufacturing sites after a door blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 jet.

There’s a risk those delays “could slip further”, Mr O’Leary said.

But Ryanair said it would receive “modest compensation” from Boeing for the delays.

The no-frills carrier also said its fuel bill rose 32% to €5.14bn (£4.4bn).

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