Fuel bills send Ryanair into the red
The low-cost airline Ryanair revealed today that it dived into the red by 169.2 million euros (£145.9 million) in the year to March after being hit with a 59 per cent hike in its fuel bill.
The loss compares with a profit of €390.7 million (£336.8 million) the previous year and comes after Ryanair faced record oil prices and a hefty writedown on the value of its investment in rival Irish carrier Aer Lingus.
But Ryanair - led by flamboyant boss Michael O'Leary - said it hoped to see a recovery in the current year, forecasting after tax profits to "at least double" thanks to expected lower fuel costs.
Ryanair shares fell 6 per cent following news of the loss in the year to 31 March - thought to be the first in the airline's history.
However, the company maintained that on an underlying basis and with a €91.6 million (£79 million) writedown on the Aer Lingus stake stripped out, its figures showed a more "robust" net profit of €105 million (£90.5 million).
Ryanair also pledged to continue slashing prices to attract consumers in the recession.
It saw fares fall by 8 per cent in the past year and said average prices would drop by another 15 per cent to 20 per cent this year to around €32 (£27.60) per passenger amid a "deep recession".
Mr O'Leary said the airline would continue to tap into the consumer search for value for money.
"In this recessionary environment, we intend to continue to offer European consumers more competition, more choice and even better value just like Aldi, Lidl, Ikea and McDonalds are doing in their respective industries."
The sector has been battered over a turbulent past year, as oil prices hit nearly 150 US dollars a barrel last summer and as cash-strapped consumers cut back on travel.
Ryanair's fuel bill rocketed to €1.25 billion (£1.09 billion) amid last year's oil price bubble, although the group hopes to see fuel costs plunge by €450 million (£387.7 million) in the current year.
But while the cost of crude has fallen significantly, carriers now face further economic headwinds.
Virgin Atlantic tycoon Sir Richard Branson warned today the global recession will make this year the "worst in the history of aviation" for the industry in a sign of the continuing tough conditions.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
The 50 Best spas
Luton airport voted worst in Britain for second time running
Mystery as 'lake' appears in middle of Tunisian desert and becomes overnight tourist attraction
August Bank Holiday 2014: Five ways to make the most of it
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...
£23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...