Ryanair warns on further staff disruptions, lower fares and Brexit uncertainty

It is also expected to extend union recognition to cabin crew.

The Irish carrier said post-tax profits climbed to €106m in the three months to the end of December as passenger numbers rose and costs fell but average fares also took a dip.

RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary has warned that they may face strike action at the airline this year as he continues to engage in talks with pilot unions. It stuck to its forecast of €1.4 billion to €1.45 billion profit this year, although this depends on the absence of strike disruption and terrorist events. Ryanair suffered a troubled end to 2017, being forced to cancel 20,000 flights through to March 2018, mainly because of botched holiday scheduling for pilots. Despite this, he expects full-year traffic to grow 8 per cent to 130m, up from the previous guidance of 129m, but remains "cautious" about the remainder of FY18.

Ryanair has met pilot unions in Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France, with other countries to follow, and union recognition will be extended to cabin crew later in the year, Mr O'Leary said.

Michael O'Leary said that unions affiliated with rival carriers would try to disrupt its business by challenging its low-priced business model but added that Ryanair was willing to "face down" any such disruption.

"We do not share the optimism of competitors and market commentators for summer 2018 fare rises".

Ryanair added that it remained concerned about the continued uncertainty surrounding the terms of Brexit, with the risk of serious disruption to United Kingdom to European Union flights from April 2019 unless some arrangement is agreed to before September.

He said the lack of clarity on Brexit "continues to overhang fares and pricing on routes to/from the UK". We would, even at this early date, urge extreme caution on investor and analyst assumptions for fares in FY19.

There remains a worrying risk of serious disruption to UK-EU flights from April 2019 unless a UK-EU bilateral (or transitional arrangement) is agreed in advance of September 2018.

"We, like other airlines, need clarity on this issue before we publish our summer 2019 schedules in mid-2018 and time is running out for the United Kingdom to develop and agree these solutions".

As part of its contingency planning, Ryanair said it has applied to the UK Civil Aviation Authority for a UK air operator's certificate, confident that the process will complete before the September deadline.

  • Eleanor Harrison