Ryanair posts 20m euro loss and urges ‘common sense’ to avoid a no-deal Brexit

Dublin-based carrier, which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, blamed record low prices and excess winter capacity for the loss. Tony McDonough reports

Ryanair, aircraft
Ryanair said the risk of a no-deal Brexit remains “worryingly high”

 

Ryanair has posted a loss of almost 20m euros for the last three months of 2018 despite higher revenues and passengers numbers and said it remains worried about the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

The Dublin-based carrier, which operates more than 30 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, blamed record low prices and excess winter capacity for the loss. However, the airline also saw fuel and staff costs soar by 32% and 31% respectively.

Ryanair carried 32.7m passengers in the three months to December 31, 8% higher than the same period in 2017. Revenue was also up 9% year-on-year to 1.41bn euros.

The company said the risk of a no-deal Brexit remains “worryingly high”, adding: “While we hope that common sense will prevail, and lead to either a delay in Brexit, or agreement on the 21-month transition deal currently on the table, we have taken all necessary steps to protect Ryanair’s business in a no-deal environment.

“We have now obtained a UK AOC to protect our domestic UK routes, and 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 EU owned and EU controlled airline, even if the UK exits the EU without a deal.”

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary has agreed a new five-year contract but his role will change slightly. He will become group CEO and will manage chief executives for each airline brand – Ryanair, Laudamotion, Ryanair Sun and Ryanair UK.

He said: “While a 20m euro loss in Q3 was disappointing, we take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker than expected air fares so our customers are enjoying record low prices, which is good for current and future traffic growth. While ancillary revenues performed strongly, up 26% in Q3, this was offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 costs.”

Ryanair also said it would take delivery of its first five B737 MAX “gamechanger” aircraft from April. The aircraft have 4% more seats, are 16% more fuel efficient, have 40% lower noise emissions.

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