Ryanair shares soared to an all-time high on Wednesday after the airline hiked its annual profit forecast by 25 percent. As Sara Hemrajani reports, it was partly due to a strong pound and strong summer fare growth, helped by bad weather in northern Europe and retrenchment by rivals.
It's lift off for Ryanair. The budget airline says it's set for bumper profits -- hiking its annual forecast by 25 percent. That means full-year income to the tune of $1.3 billion. Investors signalled their approval -- Ryanair's shares soared to an all-time high on the back of the announcement. One thing boosting the company's bottom line is the strength of sterling. World First's Jeremy Cook says there are more British holidaymakers thanks to the stronger pound. SOUNDBITE: Jeremy Cook, chief economist, World First, saying (English): "Airlines which are flying to Europe and also further abroad are likely to see an increased pick up of British travellers, mainly because any breaks, any holiday they want to go on is that little bit cheaper." Ryanair also credits improved customer service, lower oil prices and lack of major competition in Europe's short-haul sector for its performance. But the Irish carrier warns it does expect battles over air fares in the next few months, which could spell some uncertainty. SOUNDBITE: Jeremy Cook, chief economist, World First, saying (English): "We have had a couple of months where the CPI numbers have shown that airline costs have been one of the most volatile components of the basket, both upwards and downwards. So obviously there's a little bit within this market that is still uncertain, still unsure moving forward." Still Ryanair seems to be in an enviable position. It's Europe's largest carrier in terms of passenger numbers, with about 90 percent of seats filled.