Irish airline Ryanair flew back into a first-half profit Monday and forecast a strong outlook despite recession headwinds in Europe, as air travel rebounds after the lifting of Covid restrictions.
Profit after tax came in at 1.37 billion euros (dollars) in the six months to the end of September after a net loss of 48 million euros a year earlier, the Dublin-based carrier said in a statement.
Ryanair said it expected full-year profit of between 1.0 and 1.2 billion euros, adding that it did not expect the no-frills carrier to suffer from Europe’s cost-of-living crisis caused by soaring inflation.
“The recovery for the remainder of full-year 2022/23 remains fragile and could yet be impacted by new Covid variants or adverse geopolitical events such as Ukraine,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said in the statement.
“However forward bookings, both traffic and fares, remain strong into the peak Christmas travel period.”
Ryanair’s key market outside Ireland is the UK, which the Bank of England has warned could face a two-year long recession until the middle of 2024.
O’Leary on Monday said he hoped the aviation sector would avoid a repeat of last year’s lockdowns caused by Covid’s Omicron variant “which damaged last Christmas at such short notice”.
He added that “concerns about the impact of recession and rising consumer price inflation on Ryanair’s business model have been greatly exaggerated”.
O’Leary said he expects the airline “to grow strongly in a recession as consumers won’t stop flying, but rather they will become more price sensitive”.
Ryanair said it flew 95 million passengers in its first half, up from 39 million one year earlier.
Revenue more than trebled to 6.6 billion euros.
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