Budget airline Ryanair has posted a better-than-expected rise in annual profits, but remains cautious about its prospects for the coming year amid rising oil prices.
Europe's largest low-cost carrier said its net profit, excluding exceptional items, rose by 12 per cent to €302 million in the year to March 31st.
The company had expected to make a profit after tax of €295 million. But Ryanair warned that profit growth for the coming year was likely to increase by just five to ten per cent if oil prices remain above $70 a barrel.
The airline's fuel costs have risen by 74 per cent to €462 million over the last year, but Ryanair said that its decision not to pass fuel surcharges onto passengers had been "key" to the company's increased traffic and profit growth over the period.
The company yesterday revealed that its passenger numbers for May were up 22 per cent on last year.
Welcoming the airline's performance, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, said: "Ryanair has again delivered record traffic and profits despite substantially higher oil prices, intense competition and the absence of Easter from the fourth quarter.
"This robust performance validates our lowest fare/lowest cost model which continues to grow profitably in Europe even during adverse market conditions, when many of our competitors are reporting losses."