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€50m ash costs hit Ryanair figures

Ryanair has reported a 24% fall in profits for the first three months of its financial year because of disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud, RTE reports.

Its net profit was €93.7 million, with a cost of €50 million for almost 10,000 flights cancelled in April and May. But excluding these costs, net profit rose by 1% to €138.5 million.

Ryanair also maintained its forecast for full-year net profit to rise by between 10% to 15% to between €350 million and €375 million - a forecast which it last month said excluded the ash cloud charge.

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The airline carried 18 million passengers during the year, up 8% from a year earlier, while revenue rose 16% to €896.8 million.

Ryanair said yields, or average fares, were up 5%, but ancillary revenues - which include items such as on-board sales, baggage fees and priority boarding charges - grew strongly to almost €204m and now account for almost a quarter of total revenue.

Fuels costs jumped by 34% to €287 million due to higher oil prices, but costs excluding oil rose by just 1%.

What Ryanair described as 'unnecessary' airspace closures in April and May led to the cancellation of 9,400 of its flights and the loss of almost 1.5 million passengers.

Ryanair said it remained cautious about the outlook for the rest of the year, expecting yields to rise by 10% to 15% in its second quarter. But it said it had 'no visibility' on the coming winter.

In its results statement, the airline again criticised taxes on airline travel in Ireland and the UK.

Ryanair shares were 0.6% higher at €3.80 in Dublin by lunchtime.