Ryanair has upgraded its full-year profit forecast following a "stronger than expected" Christmas and New Year travel period.
The budget carrier now expects to post full-year profits in the region of €950 million to €1.05 billion, up from €800-€900 million.
Ryanair said the festive period was "characterised by higher than expected close-in bookings at better than expected yields".
Forward bookings for January through April are running 1% ahead of this time last year, while Ryanair group traffic is expected to grow to 154 million passengers, up from a previously forecast 153 million.
"As a consequence of this better Christmas/New Year travel period, and stronger forward bookings in Q4, Ryanair believes it is appropriate to raise its full-year PAT [profit after tax] guidance range from €800-€900 million to a new range of €950 million to €1.05 billion," said Ryanair in a trading update, issued on Friday morning (10 January).
"On the basis of current trading, Ryanair expects to finish close to the mid-point of this new range."
Ryanair will issue its third-quarter results on 3 February.
The group’s Austrian subsidiary Lauda, however, "continues to underperform", with average fares over Christmas lower than expected despite strong traffic growth and high load factors.
Ryanair has cited "intense price competition" with Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiaries in Germany and Austria, who it says are engaged in "below cost selling", for Lauda’s struggles.
"Lauda now expects to carry 6.5 million passengers in the year to March 2020 but at average fares that are €15 below budget, with the result that Lauda’s net loss for the year will widen from under €80 million to approximately €90 million."