Ryanair has hit its profit target for the year. In full year results, the airline reported profit of €1.316 billion - albeit at the lower end of the range of €1.3 billion to €1.35 billion that it was guiding.

That was a 6% increase on the previous year and was on revenue of €6.65 billion.

David O'Brien, Ryanair's chief commercial officer said it was a good performance against the backdrop of repeated terrorist attacks and a big shift in capacity out of the African and Turkish markets into the Spanish market, which had created a lot of over-capacity. 

"There was an 11% reduction in unit costs. Excluding fuel, that was down 5%."

"A large part of that was a function of new airport deals. Airports are increasingly coming to Ryanair with improved offers. We are receiving increasingly urgent offers from airports hoping to secure some displaced capacity in light of Brexit," he said.

David O'Brien said nobody had identified a mechanism by which the UK will remain in 'Open Skies' after Brexit and it was difficult to see a solution, but he said the airline had contingency plans in the event of there being a period of disruption in March 2019.

"It's far too early to make definitive remarks about Brexit apart from the fact that it's going to be messy. What makes Ryanair unique is our ability to redistribute capacity across Europe. 

"We have 86 bases across the Ryanair network. 73 are non-UK. We have around 80 aircraft in UK. When you look at it across its entirety, it's not as big a deal as it seems. That's one aircraft for every base. All our bases are seeking more than one aircraft for their own growth," he explained.

He said the airline would only consider moving planes to Dublin in the event of it improving its cost competitiveness.

"Dublin is becoming increasingly uncompetitive. If the airport, continues with its inexorable cost increases, then no," he concluded.

Airport charges at Dublin in fact are due to fall each year between now and 2019. The Commission for Aviation Regulation issued a determination last October that the maximum charge per passenger would be capped at €8.68 in 2019, down from €9.87 in 2016.

Morning briefs

The euro took a hit in Asian trade following Mario Draghi's comments that the eurozone still needs "an extraordinary amount of monetary support."

The president of the ECB told the European parliament yesterday that he was convinced that the bank should stay the course with its €60 billion of bond purchases every month - the programme known as quantitative easing.

He also suggested that interest rates should stay at record low levels despite the upturn in the eurozone economy - which he said might not be sustainable.