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Friday 12th of February 2010
June 2, 2009    

Ryanair posts larger loss than expected

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by Kay Murchie

Europe’s largest no-frills airline, Ryanair, has posted its first annual loss, which it attribute to rising fuel costs, lower fares and the write-down on the value of its stake in Irish rival Aer Lingus.

The airline made a net loss for the 12 months to the end of March of €169 million, compared with a profit of €481 million a year before.

The loss was higher than analysts had expected.

Meanwhile, the airline was forced to write down €222.5 million on the value of its 30% stake in Aer Lingus.

The company experienced an increase in passenger numbers of 15%, while group revenues grew by 8% to €2.94 million.

The airline said it aims to increase passenger numbers to 67 million this year by reducing average fares by between 15% and 20%.

Meanwhile, Ryanair said fuel costs rose to €1.26 billion, compared with €791.3 million in the previous year as oil prices hit record levels last July of $147 a barrel. However, the company highlighted that it is now benefiting from falling oil prices, which currently stand at the $67 a barrel mark.

Last week, Virgin Atlantic bucked the trend by reported a doubling of profits. In the 12 months to the end of February, pre-tax profits rose to £68.4 million, compared with the £34.8 million reported a year earlier.

However, British Airways (BA) recently announced a pre-tax loss of £401 million for the 12 months to the end of March, compared with profits of £922 million the previous year.

BA’s loss represented its biggest loss since the company was privatised in 1987.

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