RYANAIR customers have been told they can expect lower than average fares over the rest of the summer because of the World Cup, the heatwave across northern Europe and uncertainly about pilot strikes.
The airline made the announcement after revealing that their first quarter profits had plunged 20 per cent to £285 million, with the fall blamed on lower fares, higher oil prices and pilot costs.
Ryanair customers have been told they can expect lower than average fares over the rest of the summer because of the World Cup, the heatwave and pilot strikes[/caption]
Like other airlines, Ryanair is being hit by air traffic control strikes in Europe, with carriers forced to pay compensation to customers over the disruption.
They also claimed that fuel prices had “risen substantially” from £38 per barrel at this time last year to almost £61 in the first quarter.
The airline has been hit by pilot strikes in Ireland recently too.
Airline boss Michael O’Leary said on Monday: “Traffic grew 7% to 37.6 million, despite over 2,500 flight cancellations caused by air traffic control staff shortages and strikes.”
The airline also warned cabin crew and pilots that some of them could lose their jobs if a series of strikes continue but said it was on course to hit its annual profit target despite the disruption.
Boss Michael O’Leary revealed that the airline’s first quarter profits had plunged 20 per cent to £285 million[/caption]
The Irish low-cost carrier, Europe’s largest, is facing its worst-ever week for strikes, with over 300 of its daily 2,400 flights cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday due to action by cabin crew in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium.
Despite the setback, the company said its forecast for profit for the year remains unchanged at between £1.12bn –£1.21bn, but this was “heavily dependent” on fares in the current quarter and “no negative Brexit developments”.
Last year, Ryanair was also forced to cancel hundreds of flights due to what it said were problems with pilots’ rotas.
Critics claimed the real issue then was that disenchanted pilots were deserting the airline in droves.
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That issue finally came to a head in December when Michael O’Leary recognised unions for the first time.
Staff costs increased by 34 per cent due to a 20 per cent increase in pilot pay, 9 per cent more flight hours and a 3 per cent general pay increase for non-flight staff, Ryanair added.
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The company also reiterated its concerns about the danger of a hard Brexit – and the risk of one was being “underestimated”.
The Irish carrier said: “While there is a view that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 to December 2020 will be implemented (and extended), recent events in the UK political sphere have added to this uncertainty, and we believe that the risk of a hard Brexit is being underestimated.
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“It is likely that in the event of a hard Brexit our UK shareholders will be treated as non-EU.
“We may be forced to restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders in the event of a hard Brexit, to ensure that Ryanair remains majority owned and controlled by EU shareholders.”