Nov. 4 - Ryanair says annual profit will fall for the first time in five years as intense competition in Europe pushes average fares down by around 10 percent over the winter months. Sonia Legg reports.
12% is today's daily digit - the shares fall at Ryanair after another warning of lower profit. Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers is forecasting its first drop in five years. Two months ago it warned profit would be in the region of 570 - 600 million euros for the year to March. It's now revised that down to around 510 million euros. Intense competition in Europe is pushing average fares down by around 10% over the winter months The airline says passenger numbers are stable and on-board spending is growing. But customers are only booking discount fares which they say suggests Europe isn't recovering as quickly as some people think. The weak numbers follow a recent strategy shift at Ryanair. The Irish airline is trying to attract premium passengers from rivals like easyJet by halving baggage charges and introducing allocated seating. The new moves are also being seen as an attempt to change the airline's no-frills image. Ryanair's not the only airline being hit by strong competition. Norwegian and Aer Lingus have both said the problem is pushing down prices. /////