Ryanair hits revised passenger target for full year

Airline carried 9% more passengers last year despite pulling back its forecasts amid delays in delivery of new Boeing jets

Ryanair flew 183.7 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of March, hitting revised predictions for the airline’s financial year, which ended on March 31st.

The Irish group had originally predicted it would carry 185 million in its 2023/24 financial year, but cut that to 183.5 million last autumn after manufacturer Boeing delayed the delivery of new aircraft.

On Wednesday the carrier said it had flown 183.7 million over the 12 months, 9 per cent more than the 168.6 million who travelled with it in the previous financial year.

The airline said it filled 94 per cent of the seats on its aircraft across the financial year, one percentage point ahead of the 93 per cent sold in the previous 12 months.

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Last month alone it grew passengers 8 per cent to 13.6 million from 12.6 million in March 2023, selling 93 per cent of its seats on both months.

Further Boeing delays have prompted Ryanair to cut schedules on parts of its network, including flights from Dublin Airport, for this year. The airline has reduced forecasts for passenger numbers in the current financial year to between 198 million and 200 million, down from 205 million originally.

Ryanair had hoped Boeing would deliver 57 of its B737-Max8200 jets this year, but problems at the US manufacturer led to it telling the Irish giant that the final number would be 40. In January a mid-air emergency door blowout on an Alaskan Airlines B737 Max 9, which no European carrier flies, worsened Boeing’s production delays.

Boeing’s difficulties and the likely grounding of Airbus aircraft whose engines have to be disassembled to check for a problem are expected to drive up European air fares this summer as those issues cut the number of jets available to fly holidaymakers during the busiest time of year while demand for travel continues growing.

Boeing recently announced that chief executive Dave Calhoun would step down at the end of 2024 in a management shake-up meant to tackle the aircraft manufacturer’s problems.

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