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Ryanair net profits flatten in first half

Airline says results driven by soaring fuel bills, weaker demand, high competition

By AFP - Nov 04,2019 - Last updated at Nov 04,2019

This photo, taken on September 27, shows a Boeing 737 NG / Max of Irish Low Cost company Ryanair after taking off from the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, near Toulouse (AFP photo)

LONDON — Irish no-frills airline Ryanair said on Monday that first-half net profit flattened on lower ticket prices, weak British demand, fierce competition elsewhere in Europe and a soaring fuel bill.

The Dublin-based carrier, famed for promoting knock-down ticket prices, said in a results statement that profit after taxation was unchanged at 1.15 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in the six months to September from a year earlier.

Average air fares fell 5 per cent "due to the weaker consumer demand in the UK and overcapacity in Germany and Austria", it added.

Revenues nevertheless rose 11 per cent to 5.39 billion euros, but jet fuel costs surged 22 per cent to 1.59 billion euros while staff costs also grew.

Ryanair also issued cautious guidance for the full-year, with the outlook clouded by Britain's looming departure from the European Union at the end of January.

"We expect a slightly better fare environment than last winter, although we have limited visibility," the airline added.

"This however remains sensitive to any market uncertainty such as a no-deal Brexit."

The airline also tightened its annual profit forecast to between 800 and 900 million euros. 

That compared with prior guidance of between 750 and 950 million euros.

"This guidance is heavily dependent on... fares, Brexit and the absence of any security events," it noted.

Ryanair's four divisions comprise its main Irish operations, Austrian-based Lauda, Polish unit Buzz, and Malta Air.

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