Fares and profits are down at Ryanair, but Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers reaffirms its full-year forecast and says it will use a weak market to expand. Ciara Lee reports.
Fares falling more than expected, but profits still on track - a mixed picture from low-cost giant Ryanair. Average ticket prices fell by 17 percent in the three months to the end of December, amid a glut of capacity in Europe's short-haul market. And carriers have struggled in recent months with Britain's vote to leave the EU. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEIL SORAHAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, SAYING: "I think the kind of short-term risk around Brexit is the continued volatility in sterling which has been extremely volatile since the vote last June. I think that will remain for some period of time and managing that and our business will be important." Brexit negotiations and their longer-term implications also causing concern. Airlines hoping Britain will still back certain air transport agreements. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEIL SORAHAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, SAYING: "It would be extremely disappointing for the UK travelling public, if the UK were not to remain within Open Skies. If that were to happen, then there is a number of different scenarios that we would have to look at. Three of our 1800 routes for example are domestic UK routes where we fly from the likes of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast into London. We would have to look at whether we would continue to operate those or not." Ryanair expects to post a full year profit of around 1.35 billion euros. An increase of around 7 percent on last year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CCLA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "Ryanair's capacity to control costs, it was all really recognised that the revenue numbers would be tricky. But I would expect that Ryanair will do well on the cocktail of measures they have taken to control costs and boost long term revenue." Passenger numbers in the Irish airline rose by 16 percent in the last three months of 2016. Outperforming the wider European airline market.