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Irish carrier Ryanair struggles to digest fall in fares

Irish no-frills carrier Ryanair has posted a quarterly loss as competition among European airlines has become fiercer. Management attributed the poor results to a sharp drop in fares meant to win over more passengers.

On Monday,

the Irish low-budget airline Ryanair

reported that it had flown itself into a net loss in the third quarter of its financial year.

The carrier announced that losses after taxation had amounted to 35.2 million euros ($47.5 million) in the three months to the end of December.

According to Ryanair, this was the worst performance in a traditionally weak third quarter since 2008, with the latest results contrasting, though, with a net profit of 18.1 million euros in the same period a year earlier.

Stable outlook

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Ryanair discovers value of service

"Our third-quarter loss of 35 million euros is in line with previous guidance and is entirely due to a 9 percent fall in average fares and weaker sterling," CEO Michael O'Leary said in a statement.

Discounted ticket prices had been introduced to boost passenger numbers, the chief executive added.

Following earlier profit warnings

, Ryanair stuck to its earnings forecast for the current year, announcing that it would remain unchanged at 500-520 million euros.

hg/mkg (AFP, Reuters)

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