Ryanair posts record profit for key summer season

The Irish airline, Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, said it earned 1.371 billion euros ($1.36 billion) in the six months to the end of September.

That compares to a forecast of 1.385 billion in a survey of business analysts and its previous all-time high of 1.29 billion in the first half of the six months to the end of September 2017.

Ryanair said it hoped to be able to post an after-tax profit of between €1 billion and €1.2 billion for the year ending March 31.

“This cautious guidance will remain extremely dependent on the absence of adverse events this winter as we did last year, which were clearly beyond our control,” chief executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement.

Several rivals have provided relatively optimistic forecasts in recent weeks, with Wizz Air, British Airways owner IAG and Lufthansa all saying they are seeing a continued rise in ticket sales despite inflation fears.

Ryanair, which unlike many airlines kept its pilots and crew updated on their flying hours during the pandemic to take advantage of the rapid rebound, carried a record 95 million passengers in the six months to end of September.

It raised its passenger forecast for its financial year to 168 million from 166.5 million, well ahead of its previous annual record of 149 million reached before the pandemic brought the travel industry to a standstill.

($1 = 1.0053 euros)

(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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