Ryanair raises profit forecast as drive to improve image begins to pay off

New 'nice' Ryanair has softened baggage charges, booking conditions and introduced allocated seating

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The Independent Online

Ryanair, which has taken on a business overhaul to soften its image, has pushed up annual profit forecasts by  €100 million (£78 million) as the strategy begins to pay off.

The upgrade, Ryanair’s third in four months, comes after the carrier’s half-year profit soared by 32 per cent to  €795 million and prompted its shares to shoot up 9 per cent to €8.28.

The airline said its introduction of customer services, which boss Michael O’Leary, called “stopping unnecessarily pissing people off”, had bought more business travellers on board.

And Ryanair looks set to unleash a price war this winter as it adds bases at more major European airports to lure more business travellers from rivals, saying it will “use lower fares to achieve our significantly higher traffic targets”.

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Passenger numbers are expected to rise by 12 per cent in the current quarter and 20 per cent in the last three months of the year, helping it to upgrade its annual profit forecast to €750 million-€770 million, compared with last year’s €523 million.