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With Removal from Online Travel Agents, Ryanair Cuts Profit Forecast

Ryanair has revised down its profit projections for the current year’s top end following the sudden removal of its flights from several online travel agents. The dispute involves Ryanair and platforms such as Kiwi, Lastminute, and Opodo, which the airline labels as “pirates” due to alleged customer fee scams. The ongoing conflict has led to the exclusion of Ryanair’s flights from these platforms, impacting the airline’s profit forecasts.

Despite the ongoing dispute, Ryanair was caught off guard by the December removal of its flights from travel agents’ websites, resulting in a one-percentage-point decrease in the load factor. In response, Ryanair reduced prices to boost seat occupancy. The airline has now adjusted its profit forecast for the full year, narrowing the range to €1.85bn (£1.58bn) to €1.95bn, compared to the previous estimate of potentially reaching as high as €2.05bn. The increase in the airline’s fuel bill by 35% also impacted profits.

Despite the impact on profits, Ryanair experienced a 7% increase in overall passenger numbers, reaching 41.4 million during the last three months of 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year.

The consistent growth in passenger numbers has positioned Ryanair as one of the world’s most valuable airlines. However, it also holds the distinction of being the most polluting carrier in Europe in terms of carbon emissions.

Ryanair has stated that its profit guidance for the year is contingent on avoiding unforeseen adverse events in the final quarter, such as new instability arising from Russia’s war on Ukraine or the Israel-Hamas conflict.