4 February 2002

Ryanair announce increased profits of 50pc

Budget airline Ryanair achieved record-breaking profits in the third quarter of last year, figures from the no-frills company have shown.

During the period to the end of December, the Irish-owned carrier recorded its highest passenger traffic totals and profit growth.

Passenger numbers went up by 46pc throughout the three months, to 3.9 million, following an 8pc cut in fares, including a million free seats promotional offer in October. Revenues increased by 37pc, while operating costs dipped by 28pc.

The airline said: "As a result, Ryanair's revenues after tax margins, during the worst quarter in the year, increased from 21pc to 23pc, and net profit increased by 50pc to £28.5 million (43.2 million euros)."

At the end of last week, Ryanair made its first rival airline acquisition, buying low-fare Buzz from the Dutch carrier KLM for £15 million (23 million euros) and soon afterwards confirmed the purchase of 100 Boeing 737-800 jets at a book value of £3.6 billion (5.5 billion euros).

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said of today's returns: "These are another good set of numbers which result from the disciplined way we are rolling out our low fares all over Europe.