Ryanair, Europe’s leading low-cost airline, said on Tuesday it registered a 6 percent increase in net profits, marking a record high of 1.3 billion euros (1.45 billion U.S. dollars).
In its annual financial report, Ryanair said it carried 120 million passengers in the last financial year, up 13 percent on the previous 12 months.
Revenue rose by 2 percent to 6.7 billion euros, the airline said.
During the financial year, it filled 94 percent of the seats on its flights. Average fares fell by 13 percent to 41 euros as it passed on savings due to falling fuel costs.
The Dublin-headquartered airline said it had experienced “difficult trading conditions” in the financial year, caused by a series of security events at European cities, a switch of charter capacity from North Africa, Turkey and Egypt to mainland Europe, and a sharp decline in sterling following the June 2016 Brexit vote.
“We reacted to these challenges by improving our customer experience, and stimulating growth with lower fares,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said.
But he said a hard Brexit could cause significant disruption to Britain-EU flights for a period of months after March 2019.
“In the absence of such certainty, or direction, we will continue to pivot our growth away from the UK in 2017 and 2018 to capitalize on the many growth opportunities elsewhere in Europe. We have contingency plans and will adapt to changed circumstances in the best interests of our customers,” he said.
On the outlook of the new financial year, he said Ryanair is “cautiously” guiding an 8 percent increase in net profit to a range of 1.4 billion euros to 1.45 billion euros.