Ryanair has gained market share in the key European markets of Italy, Poland, Ireland and Spain, as the budget carrier made a net profit of €211 million in the final quarter of 2022, compared with a loss of €96 million during the same period in 2021.
The Ireland-based airline group, which also owns Buzz, Lauda and Malta Air, benefited from “strong pent-up demand” between October and the end of December, as it suffered “no adverse impact” from Covid-19 disruption or the ongoing war in Ukraine. This helped increase the company’s revenue by 57 per cent year-on-year to €2.31 billion for the quarter.
Ryanair’s traffic in Q4 of 2022 rose by 24 per cent to reach 38.4 million compared with the same quarter in 2021 - passenger numbers were also 7 per cent ahead of the final three months of 2019.
The airline was further boosted by a 14 per cent rise in fares on pre-Covid prices. Ryanair said ancillary revenue had seen “another solid performance” reaching €22.50 per passenger.
The group added that its capacity for the nine months from April to December 2022 had been 12 per cent higher than pre-pandemic, thanks to “notable gains” in countries such as Italy where Ryanair’s market share increased from 26 per cent to 40 per cent. There were also rises in Poland of 11 percentage points to achieve a 38 per cent market share, Ireland (+9 percentage points to 58 per cent) and Spain (+2 percentage points to 23 per cent).
“Our routes team continue to negotiate traffic recovery growth deals with airport partners as competitors struggle to recover capacity (down as much as 20 per cent this winter) and grapple with rising costs,” said group CEO Michael O’Leary in an update to investors.
Ryanair is currently scheduled to introduce 230 new routes for its next financial year running from April 2023 to March 2024. This will give the group just under 2,500 routes in total.
The budget airline’s positive results came just two days after UK-based regional carrier Flybe announced it had ceased trading for the second time in three years.
“Over the past three years, numerous airlines went bankrupt and many legacy carriers, including Alitalia, TAP, SAS and LOT, significantly cut their fleets and passenger capacity, while racking up multi-billion-euro state aid packages,” added O’Leary. “These structural capacity reductions have created enormous growth opportunities for Ryanair.”
The airline is also starting to target the corporate market again after announcing plans to restart its distribution partnership with Amadeus from the end of 2022.
Ryanair said bookings were still being made closer to departure than pre-Covid, with total traffic expected to reach 168 million passengers for the current year ending on 31 March 2023.
Although the airline admitted it was likely to be loss-making in the current quarter due to the Easter holiday being held in April this year. Ryanair is currently forecasting a net profit of between €1.325 billion and €1.425 billion for the 2022-23 financial year.