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”.
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”.
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