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Ryanair beats forecasts again as annual profits rise 66 percent to 867 million euros

  • Matteo Clementi, 26, and Enrica Apollonio, 23 got to the gate too late to board their Ryanair flight.

    Matteo Clementi, 26, and Enrica Apollonio, 23 got to the gate too late to board their Ryanair flight.  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday March 26, 2014 file photo, Chief Executive of Dublin based Ryanair, Michael O'Leary speaks during an interview after a press conference in London. Europe’s leading budget airline Ryanair said Tuesday May 26, 2015 they have beaten forecasts again, reporting full-year net profits of 867 million euros ($949 million), 66 percent higher than the year before. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday March 26, 2014 file photo, Chief Executive of Dublin based Ryanair, Michael O'Leary speaks during an interview after a press conference in London. Europe’s leading budget airline Ryanair said Tuesday May 26, 2015 they have beaten forecasts again, reporting full-year net profits of 867 million euros ($949 million), 66 percent higher than the year before. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)  (The Associated Press)

Europe's leading budget airline Ryanair has beaten forecasts again, reporting full-year net profits of 867 million euros ($949 million), 66 percent higher than the year before.

The Dublin-based airline says it filled 88 percent of its seats, up 5 points, in the fiscal year ending in March. Sales rose 12 percent to 5.65 billion euros ($6.2 billion) chiefly because of relentless route expansion combined with the impact of the airline's 2014 decision to improve customer service.

Profits would have been higher if it weren't for Ryanair's policy of buying fuel contracts in advance. That locked in last year's higher oil prices. The airline says it's negotiated cheaper contracts through 2017.

Ryanair carried 90.6 million passengers in fiscal 2015 and aims to break the 100 million mark in the coming year.