Ryanair's profits climb on higher passenger numbers

Media caption,
Michael O'Leary says certain airport surveillance measures have "no effect on security whatsoever"

Ryanair's latest half-year profits have risen 15% after the airline enjoyed a big increase in passenger numbers.

The Irish carrier made a pre-tax profit of 482.50m euros ($674m; £420m) in the six months to 30 September, up from 419.40m euros a year earlier.

Passenger numbers for the six months totalled 40.1 million, a 10% increase on last year, while Ryanair's revenues were up 23% to 2.2bn euros.

Ryanair said it was continuing to boost its market share.

The results come after the airline pulled out of Belfast City Airport at the weekend following a row over delays to a proposed runway extension.

Ryanair first announced that it would be leaving the airport in August, after a public inquiry into the plans - which it supports - was delayed.

Higher fuel costs

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said the airline's latest increase in profits was "testimony to the robustness" of its business model.

The carrier said its costs for the six months increased by 13%, or 4% excluding fuel. Its fuel bill rose by 44% to 660m euros.

Meanwhile, its ticket prices rose by an average 12%.

Ryanair said that the strikes this year by air traffic control staff in Belgium, France and Spain had required it to cancel 3,000 flights, but it did not give a figure for the cost to the business.

In Spain, it said it had overtaken Iberia to become the largest airline - by passenger numbers - operating from Spanish airports.

In reference to last week's bomb threat to air cargo planes, Mr O'Leary told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he feared a new raft of "ludicrous" airport security measures as a result.

"What happens, particularly in the coverage of the Yemeni issues of recent days, is that we have another huge lurch by the 'securicrats' into making travel even more uncomfortable and an even more tedious ordeal for the travelling public," he said.

"The fact is, if you look at most of the terrorist attacks in recent years, they have been on the London Underground, they have been in Madrid on the trains, they haven't been at airports and they haven't been against passenger aircraft."

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