Ryanair swings to third-quarter loss amid overhaul

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Ryanair has swung to a third-quarter loss and unveiled a management shake-up that will see boss Michael O’Leary head up the group for another five years.

The Irish carrier booked a pre-tax loss of 22.1 million euros (£19.3 million) in the three months to December 31, which compares to a £112.9 million (£98.8 million) profit in the same period last year.

Ryanair racked up net losses of 20 million euros (£17.5 million), citing weaker-than-expected air fares among a host of challenges.

The firm also blamed excess winter capacity in Europe for a 6% reduction in average fares to under 30 euros, while the airline also had to contend with higher costs from fuel, staff and compensation claims.

It comes after a profit warning last month.

Revenue was up 9% to 1.53 billion euros (£1.3 billion) and the airline said it flew 32.7 million customers in the quarter, an increase of 8%.

Ryanair maintained its full-year profit guidance of between 1 billion euros to 1.1 billion euros.

Mr O’Leary said: “While a 20 million euro loss in quarter three was disappointing, we take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker-than-expected air fares so our customers are enjoying record low prices, which is good for current and future traffic growth.

“While ancillary revenues performed strongly, up 26% in Q3, this was offset by higher fuel, staff and EU261 (compensation) costs.”

Additionally, the firm announced that it will change its group structure, with a smaller management team overseeing four units – Ryanair, Laudamotion, Ryanair Sun and Ryanair UK.

As part of the shake up, Mr O’Leary will act as group chief executive of Ryanair until at least 2024.

Meanwhile, chairman and company veteran David Bonderman will lead the board until summer 2020, but will not put himself up for reselection.

He will be succeeded by Stan McCarthy, who joined the board in 2017.

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