Q1 earnings at €136.5m
Ryanair has today (July 27) reported a 550% increase in first quarter profits.
Last year the budget airline made a profit of €21m in the first quarter, €115.5m less than this year's figure of €136.5m.
Europe's largest low cost carrier said unit costs had fallen 26% due to lower fuel prices and cuts in staff, airport and handling costs.
Ryanair's Q1 passenger traffic grew 11% to 16.6 million in 2009 from 15 million last year.
Airline revenues remained flat year-on-year at €774.7m as a 13% drop in average fares offset the rise in passenger traffic.
Ryanair's ceo Michael O'Leary said the results showed "a robust performance in a deep recession" in contrast to the financial losses and cuts in flights announced by rival airlines.
The Irish LCC's balance sheet appears healthy with cash reserves of €2.5bn at the end of the first quarter.
Ancillary revenues from baggage check-in fees, online booking charges and priority boarding grew 13% to €165.3m.
Mr O'Leary said: "Our Q1 traffic growth of 11% to 16.6m has extended Ryanair's leadership over the other Big 3 (high fare, fuel surcharging) airline groups - Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa.
"Our successful roll out of new routes and bases demonstrates the fundamental strength of Ryanair's lowest fares model which even during deep recessions continues to deliver growth."
Mr O'Leary said Ryanair's outlook for the rest of the financial year remained "cautious" with traffic expected to grow 15%.
But he said yields would be "much weaker" due to the recession and the effect of passenger taxes in the UK and Ireland.
Ryanair forecasted a full year profit of €200-300m.
Mr O'Leary added: "We continue to see enormous opportunities to grow our business. We are besieged by many European airports which realise that Ryanair is their only credible partner if they wish to reverse recent traffic declines or to deliver growth."
Last week Ryanair announced a capacity cut at London Stansted of 40% this winter which the carrier said was in response to high airport fees (see ABTN News July 21).
Mr O'Leary said some aircraft would move from Stansted to bases in Spain or Italy where charges are lower.
From September Ryanair will base two aircraft at a new base in Porto, Portugal. It is unclear whether these will come from Stansted.