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Ryanair boosted its passenger count in the year ending March 31, 2018, by 9 percent to 130.3 million, despite grounding 25 aircraft over winter because of problems with pilot rostering.

Although the airline has bought ahead 90% of its expected fuel needs for the current year, at $59 a barrel, the increase in oil prices is expected to add more than €400m to the airline's fuel bill.

During the year, Ryanair established a Polish charter airline, Ryanair Sun, which started flying in April and looked set to trade profitably in its first 12 months of operation. "We believe that by investing in these separate airlines, we can build a substantial and profitable group of European Union airlines under the Ryanair Holdings banner over the next three years".

O'Leary added that he expected to finalise pilot recognition agreements in Spain and Germany in the next few months and that Ryanair was also on track to sign its first cabin crew recognition agreements in a month or two.

Despite all of the above they expect a dip in profits this coming year, and an increase in passenger numbers, because staff costs will rise by 9 per cent.

The likes of IAG and Lufthansa have created airline groups with multiple brands and CEO Michael O'Leary thinks that model is something Ryanair could copy.

Ryanair also recently announced it is acquiring 24.9% of Austrian carrier LaudaMotion, with plans to increase this to 75% subject to regulatory approval.

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According to the statement, the Dublin-based carrier took delivery of 50 Boeing 737 airplanes during FY 2018, bringing its total fleet size to 430 units by the end of this March. It expects traffic to grow by seven per cent to 139m, with load factors flat at 95 per cent.

Ryanair, which is due to release financial results this morning, said that it doesn't comment on negotiations with its staff.

In a bid to grow its aircraft to almost 600 and hit 200m passengers per year by 2024, Ryanair is planning a "substantial" investment.

However, O'Leary warned of a fall in profits this year, saying the outlook was "on the pessimistic side of cautious".

According to the results, non-fuel unit costs will rise by up to 6% due to increased staffing costs and business investment.The airline said it expects staff costs to rise by nearly €200m, half of which will be accounted for by higher pay for front line people and half by additional headcount for growth.

Europe's biggest low-priced airline is able to be more flexible as its fleet reaches a size that's big enough to accommodate planes from two manufacturers without jeopardizing economies of scale, Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew said in an interview in Dublin last week.


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