Expatica news

Ryanair profits soar

2 November 2004

BRUSSELS – Low-cost airline Ryanair on Tuesday announced record half year profits of EUR 201.3 million.

In 2004, air traffic grew by 24 percent to 14.1 million passengers and total revenues rose by 21 percent to EUR 721.1 million.

Costs excluding fuel and route charges fell by four percent and remained flat when both of these elements were included.

As a result, the profit margin after tax declined by one percent to an industry-leading 28 percent.

“These record traffic and profit figures show just how robust Ryanair’s “lowest fares” model remains even in a very difficult economic environment characterised by record fuel prices and intense price competition,” said Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.

The results mark Ryanair’s 30th consecutive quarter of unbroken profitability since it floated in May 1997.

O’Leary said the record profits were a sign of Ryanair’s “continuing disciplined growth route.”

The airline’s two new bases in Barcelona and Rome had exceeded expectations, along with the 41 other new routes launched in the summer, he said.

Last week Ryanair agreed to put EUR 4 million into a blocked bank account pending the outcome of its appeal into a European Commission ruling that said it received illegal state aid from Belgium’s Walloon government.

The Commission says Ryanair should not have been paid the disputed money as a sweetener to encourage it to develop its activities at Wallonia’s Charleroi airport.

But Ryanair insists the deal it struck with the Walloon authorities was entirely proper and is challenging the Commission’s decision at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

If it loses its appeal, the EUR 4 million will be taken out of the blocked account and given back to the Walloons.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news