May 20 - Ryanair posts forecast-beating full-year earnings, buoyed by strong growth in fares and a sharp rise in charges for extra items. Ciara Sutton reports.
569 million euros is today's daily digit in Europe - Ryanair's annual net profit to March. The forecast-beating results were boosted by strong growth in fares and a sharp rise in charges for items such as baggage and in-flight refreshments. Shares in Europe's largest budget airline jumped more than 6 percent on the news. But Ryanair remains modest about its expectations, warning that growth could slow sharply in the coming 12 months. It's waiting for new plane deliveries from Boeing, and concerned about margins being squeezed by higher fuel costs and cash-strapped consumers. Yet the modest outlook has been offset by the strong performance, with passenger traffic growing by 5% in the past year. Non-ticket income from extras such as baggage and reserved seating also increased by 20 percent. Shares are now up 50 percent since the start of the year, compared with a rise of 55 percent at rival EasyJet.