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Ryanair posts record profit as passengers surpass pre-Covid level

Capacity will be 'tight' for some time, says Ryanair CFO

Low-cost carrier Ryanair reported its best ever annual profit on Monday, with growth in passenger numbers and revenue offsetting a sharp rise in operating costs.

The Dublin-based company said its annual profit after tax jumped 34% to 1.92 billion euros ($2.09 billion) and announced a 700 million euro share buyback program .

Revenue increased 25% year-on-year to €13.44 billion, with the airline serving 184 million passengers, 23% more than before the Covid pandemic.

These higher traffic figures and an increase in fares helped Ryanair overcome rising costs: operating costs rose 24% year-on-year and the airline’s jet fuel bill climbed 32%.

Ryanair Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Monday that its share buyback reflects a “very strong” balance sheet.

“Our priorities have been: restore the salaries of our citizens after Covid, increase salaries, repay the debt,” he said. “And we paid off the bonds, we now have 1.4 billion in gross cash at the end of last year, and that’s why the board now has the confidence, in addition to the ordinary dividend program , to really return the 700 million to shareholders.”

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