Ryanair Holdings plc has reported a Q3 profit of €88m, compared to a €66m loss in the same quarter last year.

    Sales grew 21 per cent to €1.91bn.  Better than expected Christmas and New Year bookings, at higher fares, led to a 16 per cent increase in scheduled revenue to €1.19bn as the airline carried 36m passengers at 9 per cent higher fares.

    Ancillary Revenue increased by 28 per cent to €720m as more guests choose priority boarding and preferred seat services. In October, Ryanair Labs launched a new digital platform with improved, personalised, guest offers. Labs are now focused on improving penetration across key ancillary products over the coming quarters.

    The fuel bill rose 14 per cent (+€83m) to €700m due to higher prices and 6 per cent traffic growth. Ex-fuel unit costs rose by 1 per cent due to higher staff (increased pilot pay, higher crew ratios as pilot resignations have slowed to almost zero) and maintenance costs (older aircraft longer in the fleet due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays), offset by falling EU261 costs due to improved punctuality.

    Fuel is 90 per cent hedged for FY20 at $71bbl and 90 per cent of the FY21 fuel is now hedged at $61bbl, delivering over €100m fuel savings into FY21.

    Delivery of the group’s first Boeing 737-MAX-200 aircraft has been repeatedly delayed from Q2 2019. It is now likely that the first MAX aircraft will not deliver until September or October 2020. The requirement for MAX simulator training will also slow down the delivery of backlogged aircraft and new deliveries.

    However, the airline still believes that these “gamechanger” aircraft (with 4 per cent more seats, burn 16 per cent less fuel), when delivered, will transform the cost base and the business for the next decade.

    Due to these delivery delays, Ryanair won’t see any of these cost savings until late FY21. As a direct result of these delivery delays, the airline plans to extend the 200m per annum passenger target by at least one or two years to FY25 or FY26.