Ryanair has reported a 12 per cent rise in quarter three profit to €106 million as average fares fell four per cent to €32 per customer.
Traffic at the low-cost carrier grew six per cent 30.4 million with load factors up one per cent to 96 per cent.
Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “We are pleased to report this 12 per cent increase in profits during a very challenging quarter three.
“Following our pilot rostering failure in September, the painful decision to ground 25 aircraft ensured that punctuality of our operations quickly returned to our normal 90 per cent average.”
O’Leary also nodded to the decision by Ryanair to recognise unions for the first time.
He added: “After 30 years of successfully dealing directly with our people it became clear in December that a majority of pilots wanted to be represented by unions.
“In keeping with our policy to recognise unions when the majority of our people wanted it, we have met pilot unions in Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France to discuss how we can work with them on behalf of our people.
“We have successfully concluded our first recognition agreement with BALPA in the UK, a market which accounts for over 25 per cent of our pilots.
“When this process has completed, we expect to have similar engagement with cabin crew unions.”
Ryanair also expressed concern over the shape of the Brexit deal currently being negotiated by the British government.
O’Leary continued: “We remain concerned at the continuing uncertainty surrounding the terms of the UK’s proposed departure from the EU in March next year.
“There remains a worrying risk of serious disruption to UK-EU flights from April, 2019, unless a UK-EU bilateral (or transitional arrangement) is agreed in advance of September 2018.
“We, like other airlines, need clarity on this issue before we publish our summer 2019 schedules in mid-2018 and time is running out for the UK to develop and agree these solutions.
“We believe the UK government continues to under-estimate the likelihood of flight disruptions to/from the UK.
“We have applied to the UK CAA for a UK air operator’s certificate as part of our Brexit contingency planning.
“We expect this process to take several months but to be complete well in advance of September 2018.