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Ryanair issues profit warning as lower winter fares bite

Ryanair says it expects to make less money than expected, blaming a lack of capacity over Europe. Credit: PA

Ryanair has issued a profit warning as it counts the cost of lower than expected airfares through winter. The airline blames a lack of capacity for short-haul flights over Europe for the drop in revenue for its turbulent performance.

The Ireland-based budget airline said it anticipates it could make 2 billion euros (£122 million) less than it earlier anticipated. It said winter fares are expected it fall by 7%, a much greater fall than the previously touted 2%.

Last year, Ryanair booked profit of 1.45 billion euros (£1.2 billion) and the downgrade represents the second warning in quick succession.

Ryanair has been plagued by crew strikes and rising fuel prices. Credit: PA

The airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary said: “There is short haul over-capacity in Europe this winter, but Ryanair continues to pursue our price passive/load factor active strategy to the benefit of our customers who are enjoying record lower air fares.

“While we have reasonable visibility over forward quarter four bookings, we cannot rule out further cuts to air fares and/or slightly lower full-year guidance if there are unexpected Brexit or security developments which adversely impact yields between now and the end of March.”

In October the airline said profits would be knocked a spate of crew strikes and rising fuel prices. O’Leary also warned that he cannot rule out further downgrades to profit guidance.