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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Passenger growth boosts Ryanair
Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary loves taking on more established rivals
Ryanair, Europe's biggest low-cost airline, said a 30% rise in passenger numbers has helped to boost its quarterly profits.

Net profit rose 21% to 64.4m euros (44m; $78m) while sales improved 35% to 404.60m euros in the three months to 30 June, compared to a year ago.

But Ryanair said it remains "cautious" about the outlook for the rest of this financial year.

It cited record oil prices and concerns about further bomb blasts in London.

Looking ahead

The Dublin-based carrier said the price of jet fuel rose 55% during the first quarter, compared with the same three months of 2004. Ryanair's fuel bill more than doubled to 110m euros.

Further terrorist attacks in London could have a downward impact on passenger volumes and yields
Michael O'Leary, Ryanair chief executive

Sales dropped for "a number of days" following the bombs in London on 7 July and attempted blasts on 21 July.

"If there are no further such attacks in London then we expect that our forward bookings will not be materially impacted," the airline said.

But Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said that "further terrorist attacks in London could have a downward impact on passenger volumes and yields".

Fuel surcharges

Ryanair said that higher prices at rivals such as British Airways, Germany's Lufthansa and Air France-KLM had helped to increase its passenger numbers.

Ryanair said it had had to increase ticket prices by 3% but that it had kept price rises to a minimum by substantially reducing its costs.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary
Mr O'Leary hopes to carry more passengers than BA by spring 2006

The rise was "less than 80p (per flight)...and pales into insignifcance beside BA's fuel surcharge," Ryanair's chief financial officer Howard Miller told BBC Radio's Today Programme.

He believes it is hard to justify BA's 8 short-haul surcharge when it is applied to one-hour flights.

A spokeswoman for British Airways said in response that "simplicity is important and customers want to see exactly what they are paying - so we have split surcharges into long haul (24 for a one-way trip) and short haul (8 one-way).

"Even on a short flight, a significant amount of fuel is used on take off."

New bases

Ryanair expects 35 million people to travel on its planes in the 12 months ending 31 March.

Should it hit that figure, Mr O'Leary reckons he will have carried more passengers than British Airways.

The airline said it had opened new bases in Liverpool and in Shannon, in the west of Ireland, both of which had performed strongly.




SEE ALSO:
Ryanair boasts 19% jump in profit
31 May 05 |  Business
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Ryanair bans work phone charging
21 Apr 05 |  Business


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