Ryanair has posted a 33% jump in annual net profit thanks to higher ticket prices. But the low-cost carrier warned that profit growth will slow down this year, probably increasing by just 5% because higher UK interest rates mean travellers there have less disposable income.
Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said: “The market is soft. Passengers are facing significantly higher taxes and charges and I think that’s having a dampening effect on growth.’‘
Reporting profit after tax of 401.4 million euros, Ryanair said it carried 42.5 million passengers last year. That made it the third largest carrier in Europe, ahead of British Airways and its budget rival EasyJet and behind Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.
Measures like charging for check-in baggage are one way Ryanair has tried to respond to an increasingly competitive market. That means a price war and the airline says the average cost of its ticket is set to fall by 5% this year.
It also announced plans to buy back 300 million euros’ worth of its shares. The price of its shares ended the day down 7.1%.