Image: Ryanair

Ryanair has reported a 10% increase in profits to €1.45bn, despite a “rostering management failure” that led to the cancellation of around 20,000 flights over the winter. However, Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary said in a statement that the airline’s “outlook for FY19 is on the pessimistic side of cautious”.

The statement, released on Monday, said that the profit growth was achieved due to a 9% increase in passenger numbers, spurred on by lower fares. The largest market growth was seen in Germany, Italy and Spain.

O’Leary said that the profit increase was achieved despite “a 3% cut in air fares, during a year of overcapacity in Europe, leading to a weaker fare environment, rising fuel prices, and the recovery from our Sept. 17 rostering management failure.”

Europe’s largest low-cost airline seems to have successfully contended with the bad publicity resulting from the last of these points. The Irish airline was forced to cancel approximately 20,000 flights after a scheduling error relating to pilots’ holiday meant that scheduled flights could not be staffed.

Following this, pilots were reportedly threatening to leave the airline, forcing Ryanair to offer better salaries and conditions. In a further move to minimise disruption, Ryanair also agreed to recognise trade unions, something the airline has refused to do throughout its history.

Ryanair expects passenger figures to increase over the next year by 7%, however, costs are expected to increase by 9%, while fares will remain unchanged. These costs include staff expenditure and an additional €400m in fuel. The airline, therefore, expects profits to fall by somewhere between €1.25 bn and €1.35bn over FY19. These figures are based on maintaining ticket prices and “no negative Brexit developments”.

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