* Ryanair has reported a six per cent increase in full year net profit, to €1.3 billion.
A 13 per cent cut in average fares at the carrier delivered 13 per cent traffic growth, to 120 million customers, and an industry leading 94 per cent load factor.
Unit costs fell by 11 per cent in the ear to March 31st.
Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “We are pleased to report a six per cent increase in PAT to €1.3 billion, despite difficult trading conditions in financial 2017 caused by a series of security events at European cities, a switch of charter capacity from North Africa, Turkey and Egypt to mainland Europe, and a sharp decline in sterling following the June 2016 Brexit vote.
“We reacted to these challenges by improving our customer experience, and stimulating growth with lower fares.”
Ryanair last year took delivery of 52 new Boeing 737 planes and launched 206 new routes.
The carrier also opened ten new bases at primary airports in Bucharest, Corfu, Frankfurt Main, Hamburg, Ibiza, Nuremburg, Prague, Sofia, Timisoara and Vilnius.
The fleet will grow to 427 aircraft by March next year as Ryanair seeks to increase traffic to 130 million customers.
O’Leary added: “We recently announced the launch of Ryanair Sun, a charter airline which will have a Polish AOC and management team.
“This airline will operate in summer 2018 with a fleet of five aircraft and will significantly boost our presence in Poland where Ryanair is already the largest scheduled airline.
“We expect Ryanair Sun to become Poland’s number one charter airline, as it grows to 15 aircraft by summer 2019.”
As legacy competitors in Italy, Germany, Romania, and Poland undergo deep restructuring, the scale of Ryanair’s airport growth negotiations is accelerating.
O’Leary continued: “We continue to juggle more opportunities for 2018 and 2019 than our existing fleet growth can accommodate.
“Accordingly, we are engaged in a fleet review with Boeing, and are taking up opportunities to accelerate fleet growth in 2018 and 2019 by extending ten of our planned lease returns in these years, and adding selectively to our current order where Boeing may have some delivery opportunities over the next 24 months.
“As competitor airlines undergo deep restructuring, we are aware of the need to have additional short haul aircraft to respond quickly as these unique growth opportunities arise.”