Ryanair sees fares falling further; O'Leary to stay on

Incoming Ryanair chairman Stan McCarthy

But the airline said "excess winter capacity in Europe" cut its profit.

Ryanair said in its profit warning last month that its fares in the second half of its financial year were set to fall by 7%, rather than the 2% previously flagged.

"While ancillary revenues performed strongly, up 26 percent in Q3, this was offset by higher fuel, staff and compensation costs".

The loss, which the budget airline attributed to cheaper-then-expected air fares, compared to a profit of £92.4 million in the same period a year ago.

Shares fell 4.9 per cent in early morning trading.

Ryanair has partially bowed to shareholder pressure to shake up its corporate governance, while confirming that boss Michael O'Leary will stay with the airline for another five years.

But Ryanair also saiid it flew 32.7 million customers in the same quarter, an increase of 8%.

But Ryanair repeated it is not ruling out further cuts to its guidance "especially if there are unexpected Brexit and/or security developments which adversely impact fares for close-in bookings between now and the end of March".

The company announced that current chairman David Bonderman has agreed to remain in his current position for one more year until the summer of 2020 - but has no wish to be considered for re-election the following September.

The announcements came today as part of Ryanair's Q3 results, which showed revenue up 9 per cent to €1.53bn but a net loss of €20m, excluding Laudamotion.

O'Leary is taking the role of group chief executive, with plans to appoint a Ryanair DAC chief executive next year.

Pilot unions in some countries have suspended talks over pay conditions in protest at the threat of base closures and while O'Leary said the airline had made "very good progress" in those talks, he could not rule out further base cuts if fares keep falling.

"The risk of a no-deal Brexit remains worryingly high".

The carrier said it "did not share the recent optimistic outlook of some competitors that summer 2019 air fares will rise".

"While we hope that common sense will prevail, and lead either to a delay in Brexit, or agreement on the 21-month transition deal now on the table, we have taken all necessary steps to protect Ryanair's business in a no-deal environment".

A senior management team will oversee four subsidiaries: Ryanair DAC, Laudamotion, Ryanair Sun and Ryanair UK, all with their own chief executives and management teams.

Ryanair said it would moved to a new group structure "not dissimilar to that" of British Airways-owner International Airlines Group (IAG).

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