Boeing 737 Max: China's top airlines seek compensation

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Boeing 737 Max: China's top airlines seek compensation

Commenting on the company's results, Nel Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "Fares down, traffic up, costs jumping - more of the same kind of themes we've been seeing for a number of quarters from Ryanair and for the whole European airline sector".

Ryanair joined the ranks of other European airlines bracing for a tough year as overcapacity, weaker economies and higher oil prices squeeze profit margins.

Ryanair has the lowest unit costs of any European Union airline, and the cost gap with European Union competitors continues to widen.

Profit for the fiscal year 2019 declined 39 per cent to €885m, and the company said earnings could decline further.

While bookings in its first half were slightly ahead of previous year, the group said fares were lower with the trend expected to continue through 2019 with "zero" visibility for the second half.

Traffic was seen growing by 8% to 153m and profits growth was seen as broadly flat, assuming revenue per passenger growth of 3%.

"This will range from €750m (£660m) if RPP rises 2 per cent, up to €950m (£830m) if RPP rises 4 per cent".

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, said: "As previously guided, Ryanair (excluding Austrian low-priced airline Lauda) reports a full year after tax profit of €1.02bn (£890m)".

Ryanair, which has ordered 135 737 MAX 200s and has options on 75 more, was expecting to receive its first five planes between April and June but said it now expects them to be flying by November.

The guidance was also heavily dependent on the total of peak summer fares, second half pricing, an absence of security events and "no negative Brexit developments".

Ryanair posted its weakest annual profit in four years on Monday and said earnings could fall further next year as Europe's largest low-priced carrier grapples with overcapacity, Brexit and delays in delivery of the Boeing 737 Max.

Ryanair is delaying deliveries of five of the Boeing 737 Max planes, which have been grounded because of two fatal crashes, but said it had the "utmost confidence" in the aircraft. Besides 16% lower fuel consumption and 40% lower noise emissions, Ryanair also plans to benefit from fitting more seats on the new aircraft.

The company's board approved a €700m share buyback programme which was set to commence during the current week and run over the next nine to 12 months.

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