Image: Ryanair media centre

Ryanair has reported a 12% profit increase for its third quarter to €106m. The airline also saw a 6% rise in passenger numbers over the same period. These figures are in spite of “a very challenging Q3” for the airline which has frequently made headlines over its rostering failure for pilots over the winter period.

Last month, Ryanair agreed to recognise a pilots’ union in the UK for the first time in the airline’s history. Ryanair says that it is also in talks with pilot unions in Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and France “to discuss how we can work with them on behalf of our people”. The airline also expects to begin similar talks with cabin crew unions.

In a statement, Ryanair said: “As we finalise union discussions along similar lines to that agreed in the UK, we expect some localised disruptions and adverse PR so investors should be prepared for same.” According to the statement, these disruptions will likely be caused by unions at other airlines. “In certain jurisdictions unions representing competitor airlines will wish to test our commitment to our low cost, high pay/high productivity model to disrupt our operations. We are fully prepared to face down any such disruptions if it means defending our cost base or our high productivity model.”

Ryanair said that it expects profits over the next financial year to fall by at least 3%. It is facing higher fuel bills and an additional €100m in wages due to a 20% pay rise for pilots. The statement also commented that uncertainty over Brexit is continuing to make the forecasting of fares and prices difficult. It said: “We would, even at this early date, urge extreme caution on investor & analyst assumptions for fares in FY19.”

In this atmosphere of uncertainty, the airline does not feel confident that it will be able to increase fares over the summer. It said: “We believe the UK government continues to under-estimate the like likelihood of flight disruptions to/from the UK.”

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