LONDON — Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has lowered its full-year profit forecast following the endless spat the carrier has with its labor force in Europe.

The airline’s profit range has been cut down from €1.25bn-1.35bn to a new range of €1.10-1.20bn.

The airline included that the main reasons for the forecasted drop in profits are mainly due to lower traffic and weaker close in fares in September caused by two days of coordinated pilot/cabin crew strikes in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal; lower Q3 fares as forwarding bookings (particularly for the October school mid-terms and Christmas) and customer confidence are affected by fear of further strikes; higher EU261 care and re-accommodation costs arising from these recent strikes; and higher prices ($82pbl) for our unhedged oil (10%).

Photo: Ronnie Macdonald

As a result of these higher costs, Ryanair made some cuts to its Winter 2018 capacity, decreasing it by 1%.

Its base in Eindhoven, which has four aircraft based there, will close. But routes to/from Eindhoven will continue from other airports.

The Bremen base will also close, meaning that the two aircraft based there will be based elsewhere.

Niederrhein will also be subject to closures, with two aircraft being taken out of that airport, meaning only three will be based there. Most of the routes will continue to operate on those aircraft.

Commenting on this disruption was Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, who expressed regret over the scenario faced by the carrier. “While we successfully managed five strikes by 25% of our Irish pilots this summer, two recent coordinated strikes by cabin crew and pilots across 5 EU countries have affected passenger numbers (through flight cancellations), close in bookings and yields (as we re-accommodate disrupted passengers), and forward airfares into Q3,” he said.

Photo: Raimond Spekking

“While we regret these disruptions, we have on both strike days operated over 90% of our schedule.”

Ryanair has said that it cannot rule out any further disruptions going into Q318, which may require an additional amendment to its full-year forecast.

While this is not good news for Ryanair, O’Leary will be aiming to reduce the level of strikes in order to bring the full year guidance back up going into the next year.

Manchester Gets Biggest Ryanair Expansion

Even though the airline’s forecasts will decrease, the airline announced its biggest-ever Manchester summer schedule for 2019.

Ryanair will launch six new routes to Bordeaux, Gothenburg, Marrakech, Marseille, Nantes, and Thessaloniki.

In addition to these new routes, the airline will be increasing the number of Belfast flights from Manchester, which translates into 63 operational routes from this airport in its Summer 2019 schedule.

“Our summer 2019 schedule will see our traffic grow by over 6% and deliver 5.4m customers p.a. through Manchester Airport, all on the lowest fares,” said Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs.

Photo: Raimond Spekking

Ryanair notes that these new routes, together with the current ones at Manchester, will add around 4,000 on-site jobs per year, catering to 27.9 million passengers every year.

With that number expected to continue to grow, the addition of these new routes from Ryanair will be an extra boost for the airport, particularly as the UK continues to move towards the BREXIT deadline (March 2019).

Aviation Director at Manchester Airport, Julian Carr said that “It’s fantastic to see Ryanair adding yet more routes and continuing to grow from Manchester. Gothenburg and Marseilles are currently unserved from the airport and along with their other new routes will offer our 27.9 million passengers an even greater choice of destinations, whether it’s for business or leisure.”

Despite the many challenges that will be faced over Brexit and despite Ryanair’s claims of removing flights and some planes from a few bases, the airline seems, for now, to be committed to continuing its expansion on it’s successful UK route network.