At the start of the financial year, Ryanair’s original guidance called for a €580-€620 million full-year net profit, compared to the €523 million net income it achieved in 2012-2013. This outlook was increased to €620-€650 million in July, to the top end of this range in September, and then to €750-€770 million at the release of its first-half results in November.
The latest guidance, released Thursday, predicts net profits in the range of €810-€830 million for the full year ending March 2015. Ryanair also upgraded its passenger forecast to just over 90 million passengers from 89 million. This compares with a total of 81.7 million passengers for 2012-2013, which was originally expected to swell to 84.6 million in the current financial year.
“Ryanair attributes this stronger-than-expected initial winter performance to the continuing success of its Always Getting Better customer program, our stronger forward-booking strategy and the airline’s substantial fare and unit cost advantage over all other European airlines,” Ryanair said in a stock market disclosure.
For winter 2014-2015, the Irish budget carrier is offering a “substantially expanded” schedule, including a large number of new routes aimed at business travelers. This led to a 13% hike in November capacity, which was met by a 22% increase in passenger numbers to 6.4 million.
This boosted its average load factor by seven points to 88% and Ryanair said it had “materially exceeded” its first month load factor targets on “a significant number” of the business links.
However, once again, Ryanair cautioned its full-year net profit performance is “heavily reliant” on its January to March (fourth-quarter) yields and bookings, over which it has “very little visibility.”