Ryanair sees 66 per cent profit increase

<p>The Irish airline’s latest results are ahead of analyst expectations.</p>

Ryanair has reported an increase in full-year profits.

Net profit for the Irish airline went up 66 per cent to €867 million (£614 million) for the year to the end of March. This was slightly ahead of analysts' expectations, reports the BBC.

In addition, total revenue rose 12 per cent to more than €5.6 billion.

The improvement has been attributed to a number of factors, including a drive towards better customer service and lower fuel bills.

Getting better

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said that the airline's "Always Getting Better" customer experience programme has attracted millions of new customers.

"Our AGB programme is transforming our customer experience, our service and the way we listen and respond to our customers," he explained.

He added that the company has won substantial traffic and share gains in all markets.

The AGB programme hasn't just meant being nicer to customers. The company has upgraded its website, created an app and "They're not as draconian about their luggage rules," says BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott.

You can now also pay more to secure a seat next to friends and family and the airline is also offering Business Plus and Family Extra services.

Expansion plans

As well as a jump in profits, Ryanair has also seen an increase in passenger traffic – up 11 per cent to 90.6 million customers.

To cope with the rising demand, the airline has ordered 183 Boeing 737-800 planes. These are planned for delivery from 2014 to 1018. An additional 200 Boeing 737 Max 200s will also be delivered from 2019 to 2023.

As well as providing more seats, these new planes will be cheaper to finance and operate. Ryanair says the latest plane engines are 18 per cent more efficient than their predecessors.

Potential Aer Lingus takeover

Currently, Ryanair owns 29.8 per cent of its rival airline Aer Lingus. But there are now talks that International Airlines Group (IAG) could be looking to takeover Aer Lingus.

The Irish government, which owns a quarter of Aer Lingus said that it wanted more clarity on guaranteeing jobs and transatlantic plans before approving the £1 billion offer.

Commenting on the possible takeover, Ryanair said: "The board of Ryanair will consider any offer (should we receive one) from IAG on its merits if or when it is received." 

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