Ryanair profit forecast boosted by increased passenger numbers

A line-up of Ryanair aircraft at sunset.
Photo Credit: Ryanair

LONDON – Europe’s largest low cost airline, Ryanair, has this week announced that its passenger numbers for December rose by 21% compared to the same time twelve months ago.

As the travel world readjusts to not needing face coverings, pre-departure tests or being hindered by complete border closures, Ryanair are making hay whilst the sun shines. 

Strong year-end close

Performance has been strong starting in November where they carried a 2.8% increase on November 2019, the last comparable measure that was unaffected by the pandemic. Carrying 11.2 million passengers in Nov 2022, a three hundred thousand passenger increase on the same time in 2019.  

The Dublin based airline announced that it carried 11.5 million travellers on over more than 65,500 flights during the month of December.

And yes, December 2021 was still hindered by some of the aforementioned COVID restrictions, but this is still a strong 2 million person increase. 

Capturing this as a rolling 12 month figure, passenger numbers more than doubled to 160.4 million, and the load factor had risen from 81% to 92%. 

Since the announcement of strong operational performance during the last two months of the calendar year, Ryanair has re-forecasted their profit guidance for the financial year. Quarter 3 financial results (ending Dec 31) is expected to land at €200m profits after tax.

This may help to soften the blow of what is to be expected a loss making Quarter 4. As the busy Easter travel period drops into Q1 2024.

Nonetheless, the 168 million traffic assumptions for the year remain, and the profit guidance has been raised from between €1.00billion – €1.20billion to a new increased range €1.325bn – €1.425bn. 

Obviously these assumptions do not take into account some of the exceptional circumstances the world has seen over the last three years, such as the COVID19 pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Belgium unrest

These announcements come at a time where some Ryanair staff are enforcing industrial action amid the cost of living crisis. Cabin crew based out of Charleroi airport in Belgium have voted for strike action to put pressure on the carrier to apply the countries labour laws in full, grounding aircraft. 

Unions have accused Ryanair of illegally pressuring staff in Belgium to work in other sites across Europe that have suffered staff shortage, specifically in Dublin where it is headquartered.

As well as not properly declaring staff salaries to the Belgian social security authorities, whilst also sometimes paying wages that are under the legal minimum for the country.

“The three day strike has caused 48 Ryanair in or outgoing flights to be cancelled. As such, this will  affect thirty percent of the airports operations,” said Carleroi airport CEO Phillipe Verdonck.

22,000 passengers will be affected by the strikes over the course of three days. It is not thought that the walk out by Belgian staff will cause issue aircraft or flights based in other countries. 

As we approach the weekend of January 7th and 8th, the union have more strike plans in the diary. This will cause problems for those looking to fly with the Irish low cost carrier at the end of the Belgian traditional winter break. 

By Jamie Stokes 4 Min Read
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