Business

Ryanair Reports Record €1.9bn Profit as Amber Rudd Joins Board

Ryanair has reported a record annual profit of €1.9 billion (£1.6 billion) and has announced the appointment of former UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd to its board. The airline also indicated that summer fares would be lower than previously expected.

Profits after tax surged by more than a third in the year ending March, driven by a 9% increase in passenger numbers, reaching 184 million, which is 23% above pre-pandemic levels. The Dublin-listed company anticipates carrying up to 200 million passengers in the current financial year but noted recent pricing has been softer than anticipated, necessitating lower fares to attract customers.

Ryanair expects prices to be “flat to modestly ahead of last summer,” yet acknowledged that “recent pricing is softer than we expected,” prompting adjustments to fare strategies.

Amber Rudd, who served as Energy and Climate Change Secretary under David Cameron and Home Secretary under Theresa May, will join Ryanair as a non-executive director on 1 July. Rudd, an investment banker before her political career, has since held roles with public relations firms, served as an adviser to Darktrace, and sat on the board of Centrica, the owner of British Gas.

Ryanair, now the world’s second-largest airline by market value, has faced criticism as one of the EU’s biggest polluters. The airline asserts that its investment in new aircraft will enhance fuel efficiency, potentially reducing carbon emissions per passenger, although total industry emissions are projected to rise with passenger growth.

Ryanair’s expansion efforts have been impeded by delays from Boeing, the US plane manufacturer. The airline expects to receive 12 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft between March and July but will be 23 planes short of the original contract due to safety scandals causing delivery delays.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, stated, “We plan to deliver as much growth as possible for passengers and airport partners in [summer 2024], although these delays mean more traffic growth will occur in lower yielding [second half] than planned.”

As Ryanair navigates these challenges, it remains focused on growth and maintaining its competitive edge in the budget airline market.

Read more:
Ryanair Reports Record €1.9bn Profit as Amber Rudd Joins Board