Ryanair has reported a 7% fall in profit after tax for the first half of its financial year to €1.20 billion – excluding Laudamotion losses.
The airline said average fares declined 3% due to excess capacity in Europe, an earlier Easter in Q1 and repeated air traffic control strikes and staff shortages, which it said caused a spike in cancellations of higher fare, weekend flights.
It added that higher fuel, staff and EU261 (compensation) costs had offset strong ancillary revenue growth – up 27%.
Traffic grew 6% to 76.6 million at a load factor of 96%.
Ryanair said its full-year guidance remained heavily dependent on air fares not declining further (they remain soft this winter due to excess capacity in Europe, it said), the impact of significantly higher oil prices on its unhedged exposures, the absence of unforeseen security events, ATC and other strikes and the impact of negative Brexit developments.
“We cannot rule out further base closures or capacity cuts this winter if oil prices rise or air fares fall further,” it said in a statement.
“Winter trading may be positively impacted by the rate and timing of other airline failures which is already creating a ready supply of well trained pilots and cabin crew for summer 2019 growth.”
Ryanair has applied for a UK air operator certificate “to protect” its three domestic UK routes and said it was on track to receive it before the end of 2018.
The results come as the airline has been accused of inaction over a racist incident onboard, with many people on social media threatening a boycott.