Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair reiterated its goal of welcoming 225 million annual passengers by the end of its 2026 fiscal year (FY26), as the airline continued to deliver positive results.
In Q3 FY23, which ended on December 31, 2022, Ryanair earned €2.3 billion ($2.5 billion) of revenue, ending the three-month period with a profit of €202.1 million ($220.2), including a €9 million ($9.8 million) exceptional charge. The airline’s executives repeated claims that the airline is on track to achieve the profit guidance issued in early January 2023, when Ryanair estimated its profit to be between €1.325 and €1.425 billion ($1.444 and $1.552 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.
However, the airline is expected to post a loss for the last quarter of the fiscal year, primarily because in 2023 the Easter holidays fall in April.
Ryanair also managed to keep its costs (excluding fuel) under the lid, averaging €31 ($33.77) per passenger in Q3 FY23 and €30 ($32.68) throughout the first nine months of the same fiscal year. Fuel costs, however, rose by 52% in Q3 FY23 compared to Q3 FY22, from €596.6 million ($650 million) to ($985.3 million).
Ryanair carrying 225 million passengers and new aircraft orders
As the low-cost carrier continued to receive 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing, the company’s chief executives said that the latest generation 737s will be the backbone of its goal to carry 225 million passengers annually.
“That is going to be our 210 Gamechanger order book of which we had 84 of those aircraft in the fleet at the end of December, but we continue to see huge opportunities. There has been a structural change in capacity across Europe and we are putting lots of traffic restoration, traffic road deals in place all across Europe,” said Neil Sorahan, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Ryanair Group.
“We have already talked about the market share gains that we made and we would anticipate all of that coupled with the very strong balance sheet, the hedging book that we have, and the cost advantage that we are in a very strong position to deploy traffic all across Europe and grow profitably to 225 million by FY26,” Sorahan added.
Ryanair branded the Boeing 737 MAX-8200, a special configuration of the 737 MAX-8 that seats up to 210 passengers with an extra two doors aft of the wing, as the ‘Gamechanger’. The airline’s cabin configuration can welcome up to 197 passengers.
However, the group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael O’Leary remained skeptical that Boeing would be able to meet its aircraft needs, particularly for the upcoming summer peak season. “Boeing have recently improved the rate and flow of deliveries, but we still think they’re facing challenges. We are not sure we will get the hundred, we were supposed to get 124 aircraft by the end of April at the moment,” O’Leary said.
According to the Irish executive, the group is currently planning on receiving 114 through the peak summer months. “If we can get more of those aircraft from Boeing before the end of May, we will take them. But if they dribble into or get delayed into June or July, we will not take those deliveries, we will postpone them to the winter,” O’Leary continued.
Furthermore, Sorahan said that Ryanair will only order new aircraft if the price is right.