Ryanair cuts marketing as profit slumps

Ryanair says marketing spend dipped 26% last year as the low-cost carrier reports its first ever annual loss.

Marketing and distribution costs dropped to €12.7m (£11m) in 2008 because of a company wide cost-cutting programme and “the increased focus on internet based promotions”.

The news comes as Ryanair reports net profit slumped 78% to €105m (£90m) in the 12 months to March 31. It has been hit by a 59% bump in fuel costs and a €222m (£191m) further write down on the cost of its stake in rival Aer Lingus.

Despite the losses, the airline expects to increase passenger numbers by 15% this year with a weak pound and increased capacity pushing fares down to as little as £32 per passenger.

It adds that the economic climate will make the carrier more attractive to customers. “In this recessionary environment we intend to continue to offer European consumers more competition, more choice, and even better value just like Aldi, Lidl, IKEA and McDonalds are doing in their respective industries,” the airline says.

A number of recent Ryanair campaigns have incurred the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority, which last year referred the airline to the Office of Fair Trading over misleading claims.

Ryanair’s woes mirror those of British Airways, which recently posted its biggest ever loss as a public company.

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