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Ryanair reports profit, says Max boost a year away

Europe's biggest low-cost airline posts net income of 88m euros for Q3

London

RYANAIR Holdings plc posted a profit for its winter low season but said an earnings boost from Boeing Co's grounded 737 Max jetliner probably won't kick in for another year.

Europe's biggest low-cost airline posted net income of 88 million euros (S$133 million) for the third quarter through December, compared with a year-ago loss, spurred by lucrative last-minute bookings over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Ryanair reiterated that it doesn't expect to get its first Max until September or October, even if the plane starts flying again soon after two fatal crashes. That means cost savings won't be realised until "late FY21", the company said.

Dublin-based Ryanair now expects to get 50 Max jets next winter, 50 in 2021, 50 in 2022 and 10 in 2023, according to CFO Neil Sorahan. That means a target of surpassing 200 million passengers a year has been pushed back to fiscal 2025 at the earliest.

The carrier reiterated that expects a full-year profit of about one billion euros this year, after raising guidance on Jan 10 following the improvement in fares over the holidays.

Mr Sorahan said further closures of Ryanair bases can't be ruled out as a consequence of the Max delays, and that any such moves will be disclosed in the next month.

The airline plans to halt share buybacks after July in order retain cash for repaying debt, the CFO added.

Ryanair shares were up 1.9 per cent this year as of Friday's close, valuing the company at 16.3 billion euros. BLOOMBERG