Ryanair lowers profit forecast amid tough competition

FILE- In this Wednesday, May 13, 2015 file photo passengers disembark a Ryanair plane, at the Marseille Provence airport, in Marignane, southern France. Budget airline Ryanair, Europe’s biggest carrier by passengers, has warned its profits will be lower than expected _ the second such downgrade in four months _ because of weaker fares over the winter. The company said Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 it expects full-year profit of between 1 billion euros and 1.1 billion euros, down from a range of 1.1 billion euros to 1.2 billion euros previously. It said that while traffic is up, winter fares are expected to fall 7 percent. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)

LONDON — Budget airline Ryanair, Europe's biggest carrier by passengers, has warned its profits will be lower than expected — the second such downgrade in four months — because of weaker fares over the winter.

The company said Friday it expects full-year profit of between 1 billion euros and 1.1 billion euros, down from a range of 1.1 billion euros to 1.2 billion euros previously. It said that while traffic is up, winter fares are expected to fall 7 percent.

CEO Michael O'Leary noted there was stiff competition and expects some rival budget carriers to fall out of the market. Companies like WOW and Flybe have been up for sale after struggling financially.

O'Leary warned profits could be hit further if Brexit complicates air travel between the U.K. and other European countries.

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