DALLAS – Ryanair (FR) has announced a record profit after tax of €663m (US$738m) for Q1 2023, almost four times higher than the same period in 2022.
The airline said that the boost in profits was thanks to a strong Easter holiday, the addition of an extra bank holiday in the UK and higher ticket prices.
Indeed, its average airfare rose 42%, helping to take revenues to €2.65bn, up 40%. For the three months to June 30, FR carried some 50.4 million passengers, up 11% year-on-year, with an average load factor of 95%.
However, like all carriers, fuel costs swelled by 30% to €1.34bn. Coupled with higher employee costs, the airline’s overall expenditure grew by 23% to €2.94bn. The higher staff costs were, the airline said, created after the airline invested “heavily” in its operational resilience to avoid any staffing issues during the busy summer schedule.
Ryanair intends to operate its biggest-ever flight program for the forthcoming summer with over 3,200 flights and up to 600,000 passengers per day. It has opened three new bases – Belfast (BFS), Tenerife (TFS) and Lanzarote (ACE) and launched over 190 new routes.
Despite these record figures, the airline remains cautious regarding demand cutting its passenger growth forecast from 185 million to 183.5 million for the year ahead. It said this was due to the continued delivery delays with its Boeing airliners. It also expects fares to grow at a slower low double-digit percentage rate from July to September. The airline may also have to stimulate demand for air travel during the winter season, where it will offer 25% more seat capacity than in 2019, by offering lower fares.
During Q1 2023, Ryanair received 21 of its Boeing 737-8200 “Gamechangers,” bringing the total number in the fleet to 119 by quarter end. It plans to take a further 49 by year-end. In May, it ordered 300 737-10s (150 firm orders and 150 options) for delivery between 2027 and 2023 in a deal with US$40bn.
The arrival of these airframes into the fleet, which will replace its older 737-800s, will also help the carrier’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact. The airline also launched its 2023 Sustainability Report (“Aviation with Purpose”), with CEO Michael O’Leary saying, “Our recent $40bn order for 300 Boeing MAX-10 aircraft (21% more seats, 20% less fuel and 50% quieter) will enable us to pursue even more ambitious environmental targets over the next decade. We have reset our CO2 per pax/km target at a very ambitious 50 grams by 2031 (previously 60 grams by 2030). We have also published the Group’s 1.5-degree Climate Transition Plan.”
Looking ahead, O’Leary added, “Our unit cost advantage over EU competitors, fuel hedging, strong balance sheet and low-cost aircraft orders out to 2033, coupled with our industry-leading operational resilience, creates significant growth opportunities for Ryanair over the coming years as we grow traffic to 300m p.a. by FY34.”
Featured Image: Ryanair (Malta Air) 9H-VUJ Boeing 737-8-200 MAX. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways.