(Alliance News) - Ryanair Holdings PLC on Monday reported a profit climb on the back of higher customer figures, helped by Easter this year landing in March, as it eyed further customer growth.

The Dublin-based airline company said pretax profit jumped 35% to EUR2.13 billion in the financial year ended March 31 from EUR1.57 billion a year prior.

Revenue climbed 25% to EUR13.44 billion from EUR10.78 billion.

That is despite Europe having 67 days of air traffic control strikes in 2023, with thousands of flight cancellations from and to Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK. The company pointed out that France uses minimum service laws to "overprotect French local/domestic flights."

Notably, Ryanair reported 183.7 million customers for the financial year just ended, up 9.0% from 168.6 million. This was boosted by a "record" first half and strong Easter traffic in late March.

The company added that the board approved a EUR700 million share buyback programme, which will start later this week.

Ryanair said: "In a higher interest rate environment, we intended to pay down remaining debt as it matures in 2025 and 2026, while also financing our aircraft capex from internal resources. Once these priorities have been secured, group policy is to prioritise growth to drive shareholder value while maintaining a strong, investment grade, balance sheet, and delivering shareholder returns."

Looking ahead, the company expects traffic growth of around 8% to between 198 million and 200 million passengers for financial 2025, albeit subject to Boeing Co deliveries returning to contracted levels before year-end.

Ryanair added that recent pricing was softer than it expected, "with Q1 requiring more price stimulation than last year."

By Tom Budszus, Alliance News slot editor

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