Ryanair Sees £29m Loss Over Ticket Discounts
Budget carrier Ryanair has reported a £29m loss for the last three months of 2013.
It was the worst result for its historically weak accounting third quarter since 2008.
That contrasted with a net profit of £15m in the same period a year earlier.
Total revenues were flat as scheduled revenue declined £28m to £591m, which was offset by a rise in ancillary revenues of 13% to £206m.
The hit, which also included a 10% rise in fuel and oil costs, comes as the Ireland-based airline discounted seat prices to help boost passenger numbers.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary said the loss in its third quarter accounting was "entirely due" to a 9% drop in average fare prices and the British pound weakening.
The company added that intense price-cutting across the sector with European airlines was now easing.
The firm is Europe's biggest short-haul carrier and said its full-year forecast remains buoyant at around £420m.
Shares in Ryanair were up more than 5% in late trading. Here is the latest share price.
The company has overhauled its fee structure for supplementary items recently, after customer surveys show wide criticism of price bolt-ons for luggage and airport services.
It now expects revenue from reserved seating fees to exceed income loss from reduced baggage and customer charges.
Mr O'Leary added: "Ancillary revenues grew by 13%, significantly faster than traffic growth due to strong customer uptake of reserved seating, priority boarding, and higher credit card fees."
The airline also said it now expects customer numbers to increase over five years from 80 million to 110 million per annum, with its revised website fully operational by April.
Mobile boarding passes are also forecast to be rolled out in April.
It is bolstering its strategic plan of growth at existing airport hubs where incumbent airlines being restructured can be undercut in price.
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