Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Ryanair's Changing Altitude

After a dire profit warning from CEO Michael O'Leary, the discount carrier's shares fall 15% in Dublin before rebounding to close down just 2.2% on Feb. 4

On Feb. 4, Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair (RYAAY), Europe's largest airline by number of passengers, warned that its profits could be cut by up to half next year due to a "perfect storm" of rising oil prices, weakening consumer demand, and higher airport charges. Shares plunged more than 15% in Dublin trading on the news before bouncing back to end the day down 2.2%.

Chalk up the share price recovery to O'Leary's eternal optimism. Even though he predicts Europe's aviation industry is flying headlong into a recession, the voluble executive sees opportunity for Ryanair. "We'd welcome a good, deep, and bloody recession because it will lead to significantly lower airfares and that will be good for Ryanair's business model," he says. "We'll emerge stronger and with fewer competitors."