Ryanair swings to third-quarter loss; CEO extends contract by five years

Ryanair swung to a third-quarter loss as lower ticket prices weighed, and said chief executive Michael O'Leary had extended his contract by another five years.

The budget carrier booked a net loss, excluding recently-acquired Austrian carrier Lauda, of €19.6m, compared to a profit of €105.6m on-year.

Ryanair stuck to its recently-downgraded full year net profit guidance of between €1.0bn and €1.1bn.

O'Leary's new contract meant he would continue to lead the company until at least July 2024.

Ryanair also announced that current chairman David Bonderman would stand down in the summer of 2020, to be replaced by current board member Stan McCarthy.

McCarthy would take on the role of deputy chairman from April before transitioning to the chairman's role next year.

'While a €20m loss in the third quarter was disappointing, we take comfort that this was entirely due to weaker than expected air fares so our customers are enjoying record low prices, which is good for current and future traffic growth,' O'Leary said.

Traffic over the quarter grew 8% to 33m but average fares fell 6% to under €30.

Ancillary revenue rose 26% to €557m.

Ryanair said the risk of a no-deal Brexit remained 'worryingly high' and kep a caveat that its full-year guidance could yet be changed, should their be further cuts in airfares.

Winter fares were still expected to fall 7%, in line with recent guidance, Ryanair said.