Business

Ryanair profits hit by severe winter weather

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Media captionMichael Cawley, Deputy Chief Executive of Ryanair: 'Perfectly reasonable to charge for a service which is optional'

Ryanair reported a loss of 10.3m euros ($14m; £8.8m) in the final quarter of 2010 after strikes and bad weather forced it to cancel 3,000 flights.

However, the loss was down from the 10.9m-euro deficit the Irish budget carrier recorded the year before.

The cancellations were partly offset by a 15% rise in average fares to 34 euros, and a 20% increase in sales of items such as in-flight refreshments.

There was also an increase of 6% in passenger numbers during the period.

"This small third-quarter loss of 10 million euros is disappointing, as we were on track to break even, but earnings were hit by a series of air traffic control strikes in the third quarter, compounded by a spate of bad weather airport closures in December," said the airline's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, in the company's results statement.

He said the number of flight cancellations in the third quarter were above the 1,400 seen in the whole of the previous financial year.

The airline also saw its fuel bill for the quarter rise by 37%.

However, Mr O'Leary said the airline was on course to achieve full-year net profits in the top end of its forecast range of between 380m euros and 400m euros.

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