Ryanair reported record-breaking Christmas-quarter results on Monday.
What does this mean?
After a few years of holiday-ruining Covid restrictions, European travelers are taking to the air once again – and with the cost-of-living crisis pushing fliers to search for bargains, it’s discount airlines that are cleaning up. EasyJet’s results last week suggested as much, but Europe’s biggest airline really drove the point home: Ryanair announced that its market share’s growing everywhere from Spain to Scandinavia, as hard-pressed customers trade down from high-falutin’ rivals. Plus, Ryanair had passengers paying on average 14% more per ticket than at the same time pre-pandemic – which might explain how the airline raked in a record after-tax profit last quarter, after losing money in the same period the previous year. And this quarter’s bookings suggest that Ryanair’s lucky streak isn’t about to end anytime soon…
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Lofty ambitions.
Ryanair has big plans for the future, betting that it’ll blow past its previous record and fly a whopping 168 million passengers this financial year. And the firm’s not planning to lower its sights after that, either: it’s hoping to hit a whole 185 million the following year. Those ambitions have got the airline adding to its fleet, including high-capacity Boeing 737 Max planes, which use less fuel per passenger. But Ryanair could still come up short when summer rolls around, with Boeing currently facing a spate of production issues.
The bigger picture: Bird of prey.
Ryanair thinks European rivals EasyJet and Wizz are neither here nor there, stuck in a dwindling mid-fare market while the Irish airline goes from strength to strength. That’s got Ryanair thinking it’s a matter of time before they become takeover targets, cementing its position as the only major low-cost carrier in the region. And that’s not a crazy idea: Ryanair has more cash on hand than the market value of Wizz, and enough to rival EasyJet's right now.
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