Ryanair sees profits rise but warns it could still run into problems with its pilots

Ryanair planes on the tarmac in Stansted, U.K.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ryanair planes on the tarmac in Stansted, U.K.

The budget carrier in September announced thousands of flight cancellations due to a shortage of standby pilots and then narrowly averted Christmas strikes with a shock last-minute decision to recognise unions.

Average fares in the final three months were in line with forecasts, falling 4 percent, but ancillary revenue for optional extras such as extra bags and priority boarding rose 12 percent.

Profit after tax for the quarter was 106 million euros ($132 million), up 12 percent from a year ago and ahead of a consensus forecast of 101 million euros in a Ryanair poll of analysts.

Ryanair reiterated its forecast that it would make a profit after tax of between 1.4 billion euros and 1.45 billion euros in its financial year, which ends on March 31, 2018.

But Chief Executive Michael O’Leary warned analysts against assuming that recent strong performance by European short-haul carriers would continue into the key summer trading period.

Rivals easyJet and Wizz have reported a boost in sales in the same period as the collapse of Britain’s Monarch and the entry of Air Berlin as well as Alitalia into administration has helped lift fares.

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