Ryanair’s determination to shake off its negative image as the airline that puts punctuality before its passegers and charges customers high prices to print off tickets or stow baggage has paid off, as the airline reported a 66 per cent growth in full-year profits.
The carrier’s latest charm offensive in the face of previously dismal customer service as managed to lift its passenger numbers by 11 per cent, helped by its “Always Getting Better” (AGB) plan launched last year in response to a profits warning.
Designed to 'fix the things customers didn’t like', the programme saw Ryanair relax its strict hand luggage rules, scrap some customer fees including charges for not printing out boarding passes and introduce allocated seating.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary, who himself underwent something of an image transformation as part of the process, said the initiative had “attracted millions of new customers to Ryanair”.
Airline food across the classes
Airline food across the classes
1/6 Virgin Upper Class
Clockwise from top right: Salted butter, malted wheat and oat roll, glass of Gardet Brut Premiere Cru Champagne
Thai beef salad, seared sirloin beef, dressed with a sweet chilli, lime and ginger dressing and crumbed roasted cashews. Created for Virgin by Lorraine Pascale
Italian buffalo mozzarella, heritage tomatoes and sweet pepper berries, drizzled with Italian extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze
Brioche and butter pudding, served with Madagascan vanilla syrup and double cream
2/6 Virgin Premium Economy
Clockwise from right: Chicken, sweet potato and coconut curry, with coriander rice
Asian slaw salad of carrots, celeriac, sweet chillies and slaw dressing. As well as Jacob's crackers, Croxton Manor Mature Cheddar, 1/4 bottle of wine
Apple & blackberry pudding
3/6 Virgin Economy
Clockwise from bottom right: Slow-cooked beef bourguignon, with rosemary, roasted root veg and mustard mash
Mediterranean orzo salad, dressed in a sun-blushed tomato and roasted pepper dressing
Gü Chocolate Orange. As well as Jacob's crackers, Boursin Garlic & Herbs, 1/4 bottle of wine
4/6 All Nippon Airways first class
Clockwise from top right: Miso soup
Pickles preserved in vinegar Japanese tea
'Koshihikari' brand rice from Nichinan-cho Hino-gun in Tottori Prefecture
Simmered sablefish in soy-based sauce
Seasonal salad with wasabi
Dressed asparagus and konjac with sweet sesame paste
Marinated salmon in piquant-vinegared sauce
Clear soup with a steamed prawn cake
Zensai, 'a selection of morsels' including Japanese omelette and sake-steamed abalone
5/6 All Nippon Airways business class
Clockwise from top right: Assorted pickles
A selection of morsels including dressed bamboo shoot and simmered octopus
Simmered duck and vegetables
Deep-fried sea bream with thick ponzu sauce
6/6 All Nippon Airways economy
Clockwise from top right: A selection of fresh fruit
A selection of traditional appetisers
Seafood curry with steamed rice
Japanese noodle with spring onions, served with soy-based sauce
Profit after tax was €867 million (£613.7 million) for the year to March 31, compared with €523 million a year earlier.
The growth was driven by increase traffic - up 11% to 90.6 million - and a higher load factor - a measure of how full-up its planes were - which rose to 88% from 83%. Fuel savings of 11% per passenger also contributed.
Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers said profit would reach between €940 million to €970 million this year.
Forward bookings are on average 4% ahead of this time last year, Ryanair said, as “our earlier schedules, lower prices and AGB customer programme, particularly at primary airports attracts millions of new customers to Ryanair”.Reuse content