Low-cost airline Ryanair is pinning hopes on an end to the heatwave after passenger numbers were hit by the good weather as first-quarter profits plunged.
The 21% fall in the Irish carrier’s bottom-line figure, blamed on soaring fuel costs, the timing of Easter and a French air traffic control strike, was expected.
But chief executive Michael O’Leary said performance in recent weeks had also been slightly weaker, believed to be a result of the northern Europe heatwave.
He said while full-year profits were expected to remain as expected, this was on the basis that the weakness did not continue.
Mr O’Leary said Ryanair’s performance in the second quarter was still expected to improve, despite comparisons with the buoyant Olympic period last year.
He said the airline’s outlook remained cautious due to the recession and austerity measures, high fuel costs, and tax policies, but full-year traffic was expected to grow 3% to 81.5 million.
Full-year profit after tax guidance remains at between 570m (£492m) and 600m (£518m).
Ryanair, has routes to Dublin and Gerona from Newcastle.
The airline’s first quarter saw passenger numbers up 3% to 23.2 million and revenue rising 5% to 1.34bn (£1.16bn). Revenue per passenger rose 1% but profit after tax fell 21% to 78m (£67m).
Mr O’Leary said the airline’s seven new bases in Eindhoven, Maastricht, Krakow, Zadar, Chania, Marrakesh and Fez were performing well. New routes and bases would be announced this year to exploit cutbacks by other Euro- pean carriers, while the airline was in negotiations with the new owners of Stansted airport to increase traffic.