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Ryanair profit drops on higher fuel costs, pilot pay

© AFP/File | Ryanair faces more strikes this week despite group efforts to improve pay

DUBLIN (AFP) - 

Irish no-frills airline Ryanair on Monday said that its first-quarter profit dropped more than a fifth on higher fuel costs and salaries for pilots.

Profit after tax slid 22 percent to 309.2 million euros ($362 million) in the three months to the end of June compared with a year earlier.

The earnings update comes as Ryanair faces strikes this week by some pilots and cabin crew despite group efforts in recent months to improve pay and conditions.

Referring to its first quarter, Ryanair noted that "staff costs increased by 34 percent primarily due to pilot 20 percent pay increases, nine percent more flight hours and a three percent general pay increase for our non-flight staff".

The Dublin-based carrier noted also that oil prices had "risen substantially from $50 per barrel at this time last year to almost $80 per barrel".

Some of Ryanair's Ireland-based pilots will carry out a third one-day strike Tuesday, resulting in the cancellation of 16 flights.

And the airline has cancelled 600 flights in Europe that had been due Wednesday and Thursday, owing to strikes by cabin crew staff in Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

"Despite signing pilot and cabin crew union recognition agreements in our major markets -- the UK and Italy, and a recent agreement in Germany... progress has been slower in smaller markets," Ryanair said in Monday's statement.

"While we continue to actively engage with pilot and cabin crew unions across Europe, we expect further strikes over the peak summer period as we are not prepared to concede to unreasonable demands that will compromise either our low fares or our highly efficient model," it added.

Ryanair on Monday added that its passenger traffic grew seven percent to 37.6 million in its first quarter, while revenue increased nine percent to almost 2.1 billion euros.

© 2018 AFP