Ryanair reports 20m euro third-quarter loss amid weaker air fares

BELGIUM-AVIATION-RYANAIR

BELGIUM-AVIATION-RYANAIR

Ryanair slipped into the red at the end of last year after intense competition forced it to cut fares across Europe, and reiterated that Brexit could drag down full-year profits.

In the quarter to 31 December 2018 passenger numbers grew eight per cent to 32.7m and revenue grew nine per cent to €1.53bn.

The airline also said that longstanding chief executive Michael O'Leary had signed a five-year contract for the role of group chief executive, as the company moves to a new structure.

Ryanair reported on Monday a 20 million euro (17.5 million pounds) loss in the third quarter on weaker fares, which it expects to continue throughout the year. "While ancillary revenues performed strongly, up 26 per cent in Q3, this was offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 costs".

The low-priced carrier also said that chairman David Bonderman, who has been in the role since 1996, will be replaced by Stan McCarthy in summer 2020 and that Kyran McLaughin, senior independent director, had agreed to step down.

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Europe's largest low-priced carrier, which makes most of its profit in the summer, said it expected the continued short-haul overcapacity to lead to a weaker - not stronger - fare environment.

Shares fell 4.9 per cent in early morning trading.

This was on top of rising oil prices, which have bumped up the budget airline's fuel bill by 10%.

On Brexit, Michael O'Leary said that the risk of a no-deal departure remains worryingly high. It has obtained a United Kingdom licence to protect its three domestic routes and will place restrictions on shareholders in the event of a hard Brexit to ensure it remains an European Union owned and controlled airline.

"We will place restrictions on the voting rights and share sales of non-EU shareholders for a period of time (in the event of a hard Brexit) to ensure that Ryanair remains at all times an European Union owned and European Union controlled airline, even if the United Kingdom exits the European Union without a deal", Mr O'Leary added.

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