Ryanair aims for 180 million passengers by 2024

The company is working on improving its customer service

Joanna Bourke
Tuesday 03 November 2015 00:51
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Irish no-frills airline Ryanair has hiked its passenger numbers target to 180 million a year by 2024. The target is 20 million higher than an initial forecast and came as the carrier yesterday raised its figure for the year to 31 March 2016 to 105 million passengers – up 16 per cent on last year. The company, which operates more than 1,800 flights daily, will expand further with new bases opening in Berlin, Gothenburg, Corfu and Milan this winter. It will also take delivery of 28 new Boeing 737 aircraft by the end of the year.

Ryanair enjoyed a buoyant summer, as revenue increased 14 per cent to €4bn (£2.86bn) in the six months to 30 September and profit after tax jumped 37 per cent to over €1bn. The load factor – which is a measure of how full each flight was – increased 4 points to 93 per cent. Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, praised “a very rare confluence of favourable events”, including stronger sterling and further savings on its unhedged fuel.

As a result, full-year net profit should now come in towards the upper end of previous expectations of between €1.175bn and €1.225bn.

The company has this year worked on improving its customer service. Trials included banning passengers from taking duty-free alcohol on flights from the UK to Ibiza – a move taken in a bid to improve the “comfort and safety” of passengers. Meanwhile early customer feedback on a new website has been positive, according to the company.

Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy at Warwick Business School, said: “Ryanair’s combination of the highest levels of efficiency in the industry, swift expansion via new routes, growth of ancillary revenues and high flight frequency, as well as bargain fares and acceptable levels of service, has proven to be a very tempting value proposition for customers and a winning business model.”

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