Ryanair sees fares falling further; O'Leary to stay on

Ryanair posts loss amid winter competition

The loss, which the budget airline attributed to cheaper-then-expected air fares, compared to a profit of £92.4 million in the same period a year ago.

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has agreed a new five-year contract, the firm said.

The announcements came today as part of Ryanair's Q3 results, which showed revenue up 9 per cent to €1.53bn but a net loss of €20m, excluding Laudamotion.

But Ryanair also saiid it flew 32.7 million customers in the same quarter, an increase of 8%.

He said the loss was "disappointing", but "we take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker than expected air fares".

It comes after a profit warning last month.

However excess winter capacity in Europe saw a 5% decline in average fares, while the airline also had to content with higher costs from fuel, staff and compensation claims.

It said on Monday: "We can not rule out further cuts to air fares and/or slightly lower full-year guidance especially if there are unexpected Brexit and/or security developments which adversely impact fares for close-in bookings between now and the end of March".

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Stronger ancillary revenue growth, of 26 per cent to €557 million for the quarter, was again offset by higher fuel, staff and Brexit preparation costs.

"Stan will bring his enormous global experience - as a former CEO of Kerry Group Plc - and leadership skills to the development of Ryanair Holdings over the coming years, although a legend like David Bonderman will be a very hard act to follow", the company statement said.

In another change, US billionaire David Bonderman, who has served as chairman for more than two decades, will leave his post until summer 2020 before being replaced by Stan McCarthy, the former CEO of food company Kerry Group.

Stan McCarthy, who joined the board in May 2017, will take the role of deputy chairman from April 2019, with plans to transition to the chairman role from summer 2020.

"We've seen commentary from some low cost competitors with very few bookings in place for summer 2019 promising enormous fare growth".

"The risk of a no-deal Brexit remains worryingly high". It has obtained a United Kingdom licence to protect its three domestic routes and will place restrictions on shareholders in the event of a hard Brexit to ensure it remains an European Union owned and controlled airline.

Ryanair's new group structure will be similar to that of British Airways-owner IAG, with four airline subsidiaries - the main Ryanair carrier led out of Dublin, its Austrian and Polish airlines Laudamotion and Ryanair Sun, and Ryanair UK - each led by their own CEOs and management teams.

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