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Profits drop for Ryanair

Published on 01/06/2004

1 June 2004

BRUSSELS – Low-cost airline Ryanair, which has a base in the Belgian city of Charleroi, saw its profits fall by 14 percent during the last tax year, the company announced on Monday.

The Irish firm said that for the tax year that ended on 31 March 2004 it saw its profits fall by 14 percent compared to its results for the previous year.

The company blamed the fall on a variety of factors including price competition, a weak pound, the war in Iraq and intense competition in the short-haul European market.

But Ryanair also said it had seen passenger numbers grow by 47 percent over the same period, showing it was still in sound shape.

“The results demonstrate yet again what a superb job the 2,300 people of Ryanair do in both good times and bad,” Ryanair chairman Michael O’Leary said in an extensive statement published on the company’s website.

O’Leary also dismissed his company’s current tussles with the European Commission over money Ryanair received to encourage it to use Charleroi airport as “temporary obstacles.”

In February, the Commission said the Belgian authorities paid Ryanair what amounted to illegal state aid to encourage it to use state-owned Charleroi and ordered it to pay back part of the money.

But last month the airline launched an appeal against the ruling.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news