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Ryanair flight prices jump up 21 per cent in a year as profits reach £1.6bn

Simon Calder’s Travel

Ryanair fares rose by 21 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March, compared with the previous year.

Europe’s biggest budget airline flew 183.7 million passengers between April 2023 and March 2024 – an increase of 9 per cent. Its Boeing 737s flew with an average of two additional seats filled, as the load factor rose from 93 to 94 per cent.

These figures combined to increase full-year profits by one-third to €1.92bn (£1.64bn). That represents a profit-per-passenger of over £11 during the course of the year.

Ryanair expects to increase passenger traffic by a further 8 per cent in the current financial year, which ends in March 2025. The aim is to carry up to 200 million passengers, though delays with Boeing supplying new Max aircraft could leave the airline a couple of million short of that milestone.

Previously chief executive Michael O’Leary had predicted fares in Europe would rise by 5-10 per cent due to the shortage of aircraft across the continent.

The Ryanair boss now says: “Recent pricing is softer than we expected.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that peak summer ’24 fares will be flat to modestly ahead of last summer.

“Despite Boeing delivery delays, we will operate our largest ever summer schedule with over 200 new routes.”

Mr O’Leary said Ryanair’s financial performance “will be heavily dependent upon avoiding adverse events during [this financial year], such as wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, extensive ATC disruptions or further Boeing delivery delays.”

On 1 July, former home secretary Amber Rudd will join the Ryanair board, along with Jinane Laghrari Laabi, a former partner with McKinsey specialising in Africa.

The Ryanair CEO said: “These new appointments, which align with our orderly succession plans, further enhance Ryanair’s board diversity on geographic, gender and ethnic balance, with a 50:50 gender split following these latest changes.”

Ms Rudd resigned as home secretary in 2018 for having inadvertently misled a Commons committee over deportation targets.

The Ryanair results were announced on the eve of the third anniversary of the forced diversion of a Ryanair aircraft flying from Athens to Vilnius.

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