The Irish airline said in its AGM statement that it now expects passenger numbers to grow to over 225mln by March 2026, well above the previous target of 200mln.
Ryanair is taking delivery of 210 B737 Gamechanger aircraft over the next five years, which is expected to lower costs and reduce emissions.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The performance of the B737 Gamechanger aircraft this summer has exceeded our expectations. Operational reliability, fuel consumption, and lower CO2 emissions have so far exceeded guidelines with very positive passenger and crew feedback to these new, more fuel efficient, quieter aircraft.”
He said Ryanair will open 10 new bases across Europe this year and take up slot opportunities that are being vacated by competitor airlines who have collapsed or reduced their fleet sizes.
The airline expects to create over 5,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers over the next five years, he added.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has delivered an unprecedented blow to Europe’s aviation and tourism industries. Only Ryanair has used this crisis to place significantly increased aircraft orders, to expand our airport partnerships, and to secure lower operating costs so that we can pass on even lower fares to our guests, so that together with our airport partners, we can recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher than expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next 5 years,” O’Leary said.
UBS added that If profitability per passenger is maintained it expects upward pressure to forecasts.
“Indeed a c11% upgrade to passenger numbers vs our passenger forecasts for 2026 at similar levels of profitability would all else being equal also increase our net income from cEUR2.3bn to cEUR2.5bn.
“There is the potential for improved profitability per passenger given the gearing.”
Ryanair shares were up 7.68% at EUR16.54 in early afternoon trade.
— adds UBS comment —