Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, which last week celebrated twenty years in business, has reported a 19% increase in profits. The airline, which operates over 200 routes, revealed in its annual results that after tax profits had increased to €268.9m (US $332 million), comfortably beating the median analyst forecast of €248m ($306 million).
Group revenue rose by 24% to a record €1.34bn ($1.66 billion), on the back of a 19% rise in passenger numbers to 27.6m ($34.1 million). By 10:30am UTC, Ryanair shares had risen by 4.48% to €6.53 ($8.06) ( on the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE), having hit €6.66 ($8.22) earlier in the morning – briefly valuing Ryanair above the €5bn ($6 billion) mark.
Despite the increase in profits, the firm told investors that the increased cost of fuel posed a serious threat for the future, however Ryanair has hedged 75% of next winters fuel needs at €38 ($47) a barrel. CEO Michael O’Leary, told the media in relation to fuel costs, “Our outlook for the coming 12 months is more positive than it was this time last year”…”Clearly fuel costs remain high, and the market is volatile.” He also reiterated that Ryanair would not impose fuel surcharges on customers.
Ryanair’s 2004 record profit is larger than that of Easyjet ($74m), British Airways ($240m), and even its role model Southwest Airlines ($313m). The fact that it made €248m on turnover of just €1.34bn makes it by some margin the world’s most profitable major airline. One of the key methods of keeping costs to a minimum at Ryanair is by using less staff to carry more passengers, in comparison to its main competitors:
- Ryanair employs 2,300 staff and carries 27m people a year;
- 11,700 passengers per staff member
- easyJet employs 3,600 staff and carries 24m people a year;
- 6,666 passengers per staff member
- Aer Lingus employs 3,900 staff and carries 7m people a year;
- 1,795 passengers per staff member
- Air France-KLM employs 64,000 staff and carries 65m people a year;
- 1,015 passengers per staff member
- British Airways employs 51,939 staff and carries 35m people a year;
- 674 passengers per staff member
Ryanair has a stated aim of raising its passenger numbers to above 70m within five years time, making it Europe’s largest airline. The Dublin-based airline currently is awaiting delivery of 200 new planes from Boeing which it hopes to use to achieve this ambitious aim and to replace its older aircraft.