Budget airline Ryanair (FR/RYR) has posted 3rd Quarter losses of £17.2m, its first loss since 2014, despite passenger numbers being up.
The airline blamed lower fare prices and excess winter capacity for the losses as well as a much higher fuel bill, up 32%.
Traffic with the airline grew 8% compared to the previous period but the airline said fares dropped on average 6% with the average fare now less than £28.
Ryanair has maintained 96% load factor which is impressive by any standard but the losses will be of concern.
The airline themselves described it as “” but added “we take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker than expected airfares so our customers are enjoying record low prices, which is good for current and future traffic growth”
Other Quarter 3 influences include the acquisition of Laudamotion and increased in EU261 compensation costs following a tumultuous summer of delays and cancellations for the airline as a result of strikes its own staff.
Despite the losses, Ryanair remains one of the strongest airlines in the industry with over £2bn in cash assets and, unlike many of its competitors, owns 93% of its fleet.