Ryanair has reported a “disappointing” net loss for the third quarter but expects to return to “substantial profitability” this year.
The low-cost airline registered an adjusted net loss of €102m (£90m) for the three months to 31 December compared with a net profit of €35m (£31m) in the third quarter 2007.
The Irish company blamed a €136m (£120m) increase in fuel costs for the loss.
However, Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the airline, says falling fuel costs and its own fuel hedging programme has led to the company upgrading its net profit forecast for financial year 2008/2009.
The company now expects to report a net profit of between €50m (£44m) to €80m (£71m) compared with the previous prediction that it would only break-even this year.
O’Leary says low-cost providers such as Ryanair could benefit from the recession. “Like Lidl, Aldi, Ikea and McDonalds, Ryanair, is the lowest cost provider by a distance in the European airline industry, and we are poised for substantial traffic and profit growth in the coming year as the recession forces millions of passengers to focus on price .”