Ryanair hit by half-yearly losses as result of high oil price

Business Materials 3 November 2008 11:53 (UTC +04:00)

Leading budget airline Ryanair said Monday the steep rise in the oil price had led to a 47-per-cent fall in net profits in the six months to the end of September, reported dpa.

The Irish carrier said net profits between April and September stood at 169 million pounds (277 million dollars).

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said he was confident the profits would recover if the oil price, currently at 80 US dollars a barrel, continued to fall.

"We have a significant cost advantage over our competitors many of whom have hedged fuel next year at significantly higher levels than current market prices," O'Leary said Monday.

"This will force competitors to further increase airfares and widen the price gap between them and Ryanair's lowest fares," he added.

The airline, which has already announced a cut in the flight schedule, also said it planned to offer flights to the US for 8 pounds by buying planes from struggling rivals.