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Ryanair flies in with better than expected profits

Ryanair profits fly higher

Budget airline Ryanair (LON:RYA) took off with higher than expected annual profits and said it needed extra aircraft to cope with demand this summer.

Ryanair said profits in the year to March 31 rose to €982.4mln from €591.4mln a year earlier on a 12% gain in revenue to €5.04bn.

The Dublin-based airline said passenger traffic had risen 11% to 90.6mln and load factors - how full aircraft were - jumped to 88% from 83%.

It expanded into main airports, added business routes and extended long-term deals with airports such as London Stansted.

The airline has attempted to improve its customer service after it faced criticism about an uncompromising approach to issues such as baggage charges.

Ryanair has ordered 183 Boeing 737-800 jets for delivery between now and 2018 and 200 new generation 737s including 100 options for delivery between 2019 and 2023.

But it said its summer 2015 fleet of aircraft would be inadequate to meet demand and it would lease six jets.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "We expect more than half our growth to occur at primary airports such as Brussels, Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Copenhagen, Berlin, Cologne, Dublin and London Stansted." Shares in Ryanair rose €0.45 to €11.37 at 9:35 in London.

Keith Bowman at Hargreaves Lansdown said the results had topped forecasts and the market regarded the shares as a strong buying opportunity. He said: "In all, the group's softer customer approach appears to be reaping rewards."

Quick facts: Ryanair Holdings plc

Price: 12.255 EUR

Market: LSE
Market Cap: €13.44 billion

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