Ryanair on Monday trimmed its profit forecast for the year to the end of March after some online travel agents stopped selling its flights in December, forcing it to cut fares to fill seats.
Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers said it expected an after-tax profit of between €1.85 billion and €1.95 billion for the year to end-March, down from its November forecast of €1.85 billion and €2.05 billion.
That would still beat its previous record annual after-tax profit of €1.45 billion in 2018.
'While traffic and fares were ahead of prior year, close-in Christmas/New Year loads and yields were softer than previously expected as Ryanair lowered prices in response to the sudden (but welcome) removal of flights from OTA (online travel agent) pirate websites in early Dec,' Ryanair said in a statement.
Some online travel agents, which Ryanair accused of adding illegitimate extra charges, in December stopped selling the airline's flights following a number of court cases taken by Ryanair.
Ryanair said the sudden decision could have some impact on yields per passenger in the first three months of 2024.
Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan on Monday told Reuters the impact of the travel agents' move was already beginning to "fizzle out."
As a result of lower load factors and higher productivity pay agreed with staff, it said it now expected full-year ex-fuel unit costs to rise by around €2.50.
The low-cost pioneer earned €15 million in the three months to the end of December, the third quarter of its financial year, lower than the €49 million forecast in a company poll of analysts.
Traffic in the period was up 7% to 41.4 million passengers while average fares were 13% higher than last year, the airline said in a statement.