Ryanair holds profit forecast despite flights chaos

London (AFP) –


Ryanair said Tuesday it is sticking to its full-year profit forecast this year, despite cancelling thousands of flight largely owing to a pilots shortage.

The Irish no-frills carrier, which runs its business year from April to March, said in a statement that net profit rose by 11 percent in the six months to September.

And it still expected to deliver annual profit after tax of between 1.4 billion euros and 1.45 billion euros ($1.63 billion and $1.7 billion).

"These strong first-half results reinforce the robust nature of Ryanair's low fare, pan-European growth model even during a period which suffered a material failure in our pilot rostering function in early September," said chief executive Michael O'Leary.

Ryanair last month revealed it had been forced to cancel 20,000 flights through to March.

The Dublin-based carrier has been hit by pilots and cabin crew being forced to take outstanding holiday entitlement by the end of the year as part of new company rules.

It has also been forced to cancel flights because of air traffic control delays, strikes and weather disruption.

But on Tuesday the airline said net profit grew to almost 1.3 billion euros during its first half compared with the six months to the end of September in 2016.

Passenger numbers meanwhile rose 11 percent to 72.1 million.