Ryanair has trimmed its profit guidance for the year as it grapples with a higher fuel bill and an ongoing row with online travel agents.
The budget airline said it expects annual profits to hit £1.66billion, down from its previous estimate of £1.75billion.
This was a blow for chief executive Michael O’Leary, who is reportedly in line for a £85million bonus if the company posts a £1.8billion profit or shares hit a target of €21 for 28 days.
Shares, which are listed on Dublin’s Euronext, are trading at around €19.
The downgrade came after profits hit £12.8million for the three months to the end of December, down 93 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier.
Bonus: In a blow for chief exec Michael O’Leary (pictured) Ryanair said it expects profits to hit £1.66bn, down from its previous estimate of £1.75bn
Europe’s largest airline suffered as fuel costs jumped 35 per cent during the quarter, setting the group back over £1billion in the three months.
It was also hit when several online travel agents – including Booking.com and Kayak – removed Ryanair flights from their sites last month amid an ongoing row over additional charges.
Ryanair described the online agents as ‘pirates’ and had already warned the decision to kick it off would hamper the group’s annual results.
The firm has been forced to cut ticket prices on its own site to counter this setback.
Neil Shah, analyst at investor relations business Edison Group, said: ‘Ryanair’s results have been blown off course, though not unexpectedly, with the airline industry experiencing a turbulent time of late.’
Nonetheless, the carrier flew 41 m passengers during the quarter, raking in revenues of £2.3billion, which was 17 per cent more than the year before. I
t also made £809million from customer add-ons during this period, or roughly £20 per customer for extras such as checked-in bags and seat allocation.
O’Leary remained punchy about expansion plans. He even offered to buy more Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircrafts if other airlines cancel their orders.
Boeing was plunged into crisis earlier this month after a cabin panel on an Alaska Airlines plane blew open mid-flight. United Airlines boss Scott Kirby last week signalled that he would stop buying their planes.
O’Leary yesterday said: ‘We have told them [Boeing] if some of these American airlines don’t want to take the MAX 10 aircraft, Ryanair will take those aircraft.’