According to the low-cost carrier, the significant increase in profits during the third quarter of last year, was mainly down to higher fares and much improved weather conditions during 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.
Ryanair said that it had hiked up fares 17% over the last year – due to reduced seat capacity and higher fuel surcharges – however, its revenues grew 13% to €844 million over the quarter, despite a 2% fall in passenger numbers.
The budget airline said that it carried 16.7 million passengers in the final three months of the year, down from 17 million a year earlier.
Elsewhere, Ryanair said it had faced higher fuel costs, which had risen 18% over the year.
It added that at current prices the fuel bill for the airline is expected to climb to €350 million by 2013, which will mean “a significant cost challenge for next year.”
The results for the last three months of 2011, were “ahead of expectations”, the airline said, adding that full year profits are now expected to reach around €480 million.
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, said: “We are pleased to report a Q3 profit of €15m which is ahead of expectations due to benign weather conditions in December – compared with widespread snow closures and deicing in December 2010 –and a better yield performance as we grounded 80 aircraft and cut traffic by 2%.
“The EU recession, higher oil prices, the unfolding failure of the package tour operator model, significant competitor fare increases and capacity cuts, has created enormous growth opportunities for Ryanair, as large and smaller airports across Europe compete aggressively to win Ryanair’s growth.”