Despite setbacks Ryanair reports rise in profits | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 31.10.2017
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Despite setbacks Ryanair reports rise in profits

Ireland's Ryanair is on course to post record annual profits despite a recent pilot shortage that forced it to cancel 20,000 flights. But the airline is concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the UK's Brexit deal.

Ryanair on Tuesday said half-yearly revenue rose by 7 percent to 4.43 billion euros ($5.15 billion), while profit after tax reached 1.29 billion euros, up 11 percent. The number of passengers carried also grew by 11 percent year-on-year from April to September.

The airline also noted that the cancellation of thousands of flights — an emergency measure due to pilot rostering problems to free up standby pilots to ensure the smooth operation of its 400 planes — could end up costing the budget airline up to 100 million euros in this financial year.

In the weeks after it announced the cancellations, Europe's biggest airline by passenger numbers saw 2 billion euros knocked off its market value. But it recovered around half of that loss on Tuesday when the company's shares climbed over 6 percent, after it told investors that bookings were up.

Meanwhile the demise of Air Berlin and Britain's Monarch Airlines are bound to help Ryanair by cutting capacity and freeing up much-needed pilots.

"These strong half-year results reinforce the robust nature of Ryanair's low-fare, pan-European growth model even during a period which suffered a material failure in our pilot rostering function in early September," said chief executive Michael O'Leary.

But O'Leary said the airline remains "concerned at the continuing uncertainty surrounding the terms of the UK's departure from the EU in March 2019."

tr/kd (Reuters, dpa)

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