Ryanair has posted a record profit for the summer season, earning $1.37 billion in after-tax profit during the six-month period ending September 2022.
While the Irish budget airline aims to keep growing, its chief executive Michael O’Leary said estimated growth is “being hampered by Boeing’s inability to meet delivery schedule”.
It is the largest first-half after-tax result since 2017 when the airline earned $1.29 billion, the airline noted in its latest financial report covering the first half of the year.
Ryanair said its scheduled revenues increased by almost 250% to $4.42 billion when compared to the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, passenger traffic during the summer season saw a strong recovery, with a total of 95.1 million travelers carried compared to 85.7 million during the same period in 2019.
Moving on to Ryanair’s balance sheet, the ultra-low-cost carrier’s net debt fell to $0.5 billion at the end of September 2022 from $1.45 billion recorded on March 31, 2022.
“Our focus over the next year is the repayment of $1.6bn of maturing bonds while returning our balance sheet to a broadly zero net debt position,” the carrier said in its report.
“The strength of our balance sheet ensures that the Group is well positioned to exploit the many growth opportunities that are currently emerging as we grow to 225 million passengers by the financial year of 2026,” the airline added.
O’Leary also estimated that consumers’ desire to travel “will continue to underpin robust traffic and average fare growth” for the next 18 months at least and anticipates “very strong growth” until 2025.
Concerns regarding Boeing deal
The CEO shrugged off concerns over “the impact of the recession and rising consumer price inflation” on the airline’s business model. “As the lowest cost producer in Europe, we expect to grow strongly in a recession as consumers won’t stop flying, but rather they will become more price sensitive,” O’Leary said.
“Like Aldi, Lidl, Ikea, and other price leaders our very strong post-Covid recovery shows that price will continue to drive market share gains as we add a low-cost, more fuel efficient, aircraft to our fleet over the next 4 years,” the CEO added.
Ryanair expects to grow from 168 million passengers this financial year to 185 million in 2023 and plans to boost its current aircraft fleet with 51 Boeing 737 MAX planes by summer 2023. However, O’Leary said he was concerned that Boeing might not be able to deliver the aircraft on time.
“Our growth is being hampered by Boeing’s inability to meet its delivery schedule in Q3, despite their previous assurances that Ryanair deliveries would be “prioritized”. We expect Boeing will only deliver 10 or 12 of the contracted 21 Gamechangers due before Christmas,” the CEO concluded.